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How to Sharpen Tungsten Needles

Terry Viancour viancour at umbc.edu
Fri Jun 17 09:33:42 EST 1994

Liminzheng (lxzst+ at pitt.edu) wrote:
: I need to sharpen tungsten needles for dissecting the flies. I was told
: that there was a chemical way to do this. Does anyone know the recipe?

: Any advice will be much appreciated.  

Tungsten sublimates.  So, an extremely easy way to produce a very sharp
needle is to position the tip of the wire, or dull needle in the flame of
a Fisher burner.  After 10s of seconds to a minute or so, the tungsten at
the tip will have sublimated differentially, leaving a sharp point.  The
tungsten oxide deposited on the shaft can be removed by flaming the

Good luck.

Terry Viancour, Biological Sciences     | inet:   viancour at umbc.edu
Univ. Maryland, Baltimore County Campus | phone: (410) 455-2267, 455-3800
Baltimore, MD 21228-5398                | FAX:   (410) 455-3875

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