Volume 84 Issue 33 | p. 56
Issue Date: August 14, 2006

Crucible Secrets

Archaeologists examine early labware in search of clues as to why they worked so well
Department: Science & Technology

As early practitioners of the pyrotechnical arts prepared stronger acids and cranked their furnaces to higher temperatures, they were pushing the envelope for their labware. "They were constantly bumping against the limits of their materials," Johns Hopkins University historian of science Lawrence M. Principe said at last month's International Conference on the History of Alchemy & Chymistry in Philadelphia.

That's why a particularly tough type of triangular crucible mass manufactured in the Hesse region . . .

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