The Fiber Reference Image Library (FRIL), a database of micrographs of textile fibers acquired through the use of multiple microscopic techniques, is now available online at https://fril.osu.edu/.
The database, divided into three large categories of fibers: Plant, Animal and Manufactured fibers, is populated with many image collections, organized by generic class. Micrographs are shown of single fibers and fiber groups examined using different microscopy techniques. Through these sequences of images, differentiating characteristics of the fibers may be seen, aiding in identification. Each image is followed by descriptive text that provides distinguishing characteristics.
The site includes informative pages such as How to Use FRIL, Resources, Glossary and Frequently Asked Questions, News, and Browse Collections. A Search tab can be used to locate a generic fiber type or a specific feature of interest.
The Fiber Reference Image Library includes images of fibers from plant fibers typical of those used by prehistoric native Americans in eastern North America, commercial textile fibers and fibers selected from 18th, 19th, and 20th century garments from Ohio State University’s Historic Costume & Textiles Collection (HCTC) and these are linked to photos and information about the garments from which they came. The database is constantly being updated with new images and collections.
The Fiber Reference Image Library will be used by textile conservators, archaeologists, forensic scientists, textile scientists, teachers and students. It can also be used as a teaching tool, providing information about fibers, microscopy, and forensic techniques of fiber identification. Some examples of how to use FRIL to engage young people in science are also provided.
— Article by Kathryn A. Jakes, principal investigator on the project.