The image impressed on the inner side of the Turin Shroud (TS) could be interpreted as the signature of a natural event. The fundamental working hypothesis adopted in this paper is that an accelerated physicochemical aging occurred on the topmost fibers of the cellulosic texture. This extremely superficial degradation is assumed as being originated by electrostatic discharges (ESD, often also referred to as partial discharges in gases, or corona effect) triggered by an exogenous electric field of seismic nature. On the basis of a purely electromagnetic treatment involving the time averaged Poynting vector and a generalized version of Lambert’s cosine law, an analogical relationship between irradiance and surface electrostatic field is acknowledged. Accordingly, some new insight into the substantially undistorted features of the impressed human figure are gained and careful arguments aimed at circumventing some difficulties in the interpretation of the image formation are discussed. This is because light or other forms of electromagnetic radiation are elsewhere still indicated as possible causes of impression in substitution of a more realistic, inherently non-radiating, electrostatic agent. Distinctive of the present description is that some electrostatic, optical, material aging and geophysical properties are all together implicated in an interdisciplinary and self-consistent theoretical framework.
Key words: Turin Shroud, image formation, electromagnetic radiation, electrostatics, Laplace equation, partial discharge, irradiance, Lambert cosine law.
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