THE MYSTERY OF DAMASCUS STEEL APPEARS SOLVED

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:06 am

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By WALTER SULLIVAN
Published: September 29, 1981


TWO metallurgists at Stanford University, seeking to produce a ''superplastic'' metal, appear to have stumbled on the secret of Damascus steel, the legendary material used by numerous warriors of the past, including the Crusaders. Its formula had been lost for generations.

Analyses of steel by Jeffrey Wadsworth and Oleg D. Sherby, in their search for a highly plastic form, revealed properties almost identical to those they then found in Damascus steel, though their own plastic steel had been produced through contemporary methods.

The remarkable characteristics of Damascus steel became known to Europe when the Crusaders reached the Middle East, beginning in the 11th century. They discovered that swords of this metal could split a feather in midair, yet retain their edge through many a battle with the Saracens. The swords were easily recognized by a characteristic watery or ''damask'' pattern on their blades.

Through the ages - perhaps from the time of Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. -the armorers who made swords, shields and armor from such steel were rigidly secretive regarding their method. With the advent of firearms, the secret was lost and never fully rediscovered, despite the efforts of men like P.@P. Anossoff, the Russian metallurgist, who knew the steel as bulat.

In 1841 Anossoff declared: ''Our warriors will soon be armed with bulat blades, our agricultural laborers will till the soil with bulat plow shares. ... Bulat will supersede all steel now employed for the manufacture of articles of special sharpness and endurance.'' Yet his lifelong efforts to fulfill that dream were in vain.

Dr. Wadsworth and Dr. Sherby realized that they might be on the track of the method when a sword fancier, at one of their presentations, pointed out that Damascus steel, like their own product, was very rich in carbon. This led them to conduct comparative analyses of their steels and those of the ancient weapons.

Dr. Wadsworth, while still associated with Stanford, now works at the nearby Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory. Dr. Sherby, a professor at Stanford, is an authority on deformable metals.

When moderately heated, superplastic steel can be shaped into such complex forms as gears for an automobile, with minimal need for machining, leading to major economies in manufacture. Their research, Dr. Wadsworth said recently, has shown how to make steel even more amenable to shaping than the Damascus variety.

A basic requirement, as suspected by a number of early metallurgists, is a very high carbon content. Dr. Wadsworth and Dr. Sherby believe it has to be from 1 to 2 percent, compared to only a fraction of 1 percent in ordinary steel. Another key element in Damascus blade produ ction seems to have beenforging and hammering at relatively low tempe rature - about 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. After shaping, the blades were apparently reheated to about the same temperature, then rapidly cooled, as by quenching in a fluid. Quenching in 'Dragon Blood'

The secrets of Damascus steel were shared by armorers in many parts of the ancient world, notably in Persia, where some of the finest specimens were produced. It was in the quenching that many believed it acquired magical properties. According to Dr. Helmut Nickel, curator of the Arms and Armor Division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, legend had it that the best blades were quenched in ''dragon blood.''

In a recent letter to the museum a Pakistani told of a sword held in his family for many generations, quenched by its Afghan makers in donkey urine. Some medieval smiths recommended the urine of redheaded boys or that from a ''three-year-old goat fed only ferns for three days.''

For eight centuries the Arab sword makers succeeded in concealing their techniques from competitors -and from posterity. Those in Europe only revealed that they quenched in ''red medicine'' or ''green medicine.'' A less abrupt form of cooling, according to one account, was achieved when the blade, still red hot, was ''carried ina furious gal lop by a horseman on a fast horse.''

Writings found in Asia Minor said that to temper a Damascus sword the blade must be heated until it glows ''like the sun rising in the desert.'' It then should be cooled to the color of royal purple and plunged ''into the body of a muscular slave'' so that his strength would be transferred to the sword.

In the ancient accounts there is more than one reference to such homicidal quenching. In a recent interview, Dr. Nickel pointed out that while many of the quenching techniques were based on superstition, they may have contributed to the success of the process, as by adding nitrogen to the alloy.

Most, if not all, Damascus steel was derived from blocks of ''wootz,'' a form of steel produced in India. A mystery, to those seeking to recapture the technique, was the property of wootz that produced such blades - malleable when heated, yet extraordinarily tough when cooled. The Structure of Wootz

According to Dr. Wadsworth and Dr. Sherby, before doing his historic work on magnetism, Michael Faraday, himself the son of a blacksmith, sought with J. Stodart, a cutler, to determine the composition of wootz. They incorrectly concluded that the key factor was its silica and aluminum content.

Reports of their findings, published in 1820 and 1822, led Jean Robert Breant, Inspector of Assays at the Paris Mint, to conduct in a six-week period over 300 experiments seeking to reproduce the properties of wootz.

He tried adding to ordinary steel such elements as platinum, gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, lead, bismuth, manganese, uranium, arsenic and boron. Anossoff even tried diamond. None of the efforts succeeded.

Wootz, it now appears, was apparently prepared in crucibles containing cakes of porous iron plus wood or charcoal to enrich it in carbon. A critical factor, Dr. Wadsworth said, appears to have been that the wootz was processed at temperatures as high as 2,300 degrees. After being held there for days, it was cooled to room temperature over a day or so. It was then shipped to the Middle East for relatively low-temperature fabrication.

This moderate heat preserved enough carbide (in which three atoms of iron are mated to one of carbon) to give the blades great strength, yet not enough to make them brittle. The large carbide grains gave the blades their typical watery pattern.

The superplastic steel developed at Stanford is kept at high temperature for only a few hours. It is shaped during cooling, reheated to moderate temperature for further working and may then be quenched to achieve extreme hardness. This process, Dr. Wadsworth said, produces very small carbide grains and hence even greater hardness and ductility than in Damascus steel.

According to Dr. Nickel, once blades of Damascus steel had been rough-shaped by hammering, they were ground to a fine edge. When they were hammered chiefly on one side, a curved shape resulted - the origin of the sabre, he said.

The finest blades ever made, he added, were the Samurai swords of Japan, whose blades may contain a million layers of steel. The layers resulted from hammering out a bar to double its original length, then folding it over as many as 32 times.

The multiple layers used by the Japanese and by makers of the Malay dagger or kris are sometimes referr ed to as ' 'welded Damascus steel.'' Although the production method diffe rs from that of true Damascus steel, the blades may show a very si milar pattern.

Dr. Wadsworth said a number of knife-making societies, such as The Anvil's Ring, which has 1,500 members, have sought to learn details of the Stanford findings. The research is described in Volume 25 of Progress in Materials Science, a British publication.



http://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/29/science/the-mystery-of-damascus-steel-appears-solved.html

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:07 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:Who are you talking too Korben?

That is clear symptons of:

http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric_disorders/dissociative_disorders/dissociative_identity_disorder.html
no mate that called

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.

And that shoe is Taylor made for you

ps
NOT a doctor

PPS and nether are you

So now replying to the same post twice. This gets even more interesting based on the things I am interested in.
You do realise you are defending yourself here where there is no attack and even more so screaming out for help off others.
You are ticking all the boxes.

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:09 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
Er.....the forum ...that what we do hear ?? talk to each other with a series of posts ......you have been doing it too ..........honesty a big fan right on your desk

Nobody is responding to you cries for help.
You are thus seeking attention, showing you need support, that is really quite sad when you think about it.
Seriously, this is what I mean about people not admitting when they are wrong and being able to move on.
Shame really.
Help don`t need any help your makeing my case for me in fact your helping me in spades ironic really as you destroy any credibility you may have had

but thanks

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:12 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Nobody is responding to you cries for help.
You are thus seeking attention, showing you need support, that is really quite sad when you think about it.
Seriously, this is what I mean about people not admitting when they are wrong and being able to move on.
Shame really.
Help don`t need any help your maketing my case for me in fact your helping me in spades ironic really

but thanks  

Spades?
You certainly need plenty more for the hole you are in.
You are welcome, now maybe you will calm down and move on, as can do this all day long if you so wish where you continue to lose control whilst I remain in control.

Think about that very last point, as in this whole thread I have been in control. Look back at how you continue to react.

Some valuable lessons here for you Korben which are very beneficial.

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:14 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
no mate that called

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.

And that shoe is Taylor made for you

ps
NOT a doctor

PPS and nether are you

So now replying to the same post twice. This gets even more interesting based on the things I am interested in.
You do realise you are defending yourself here where there is no attack and even more so screaming out for help off others.
You are ticking all the boxes.
just trying to keep up with your drivel mistakes happen but of course you have never done the same and you know i have a problem with writing so it can take time to catch up
but hey i didn`t think you could sink much lower but surprise yes you can

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:16 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
Help don`t need any help your maketing my case for me in fact your helping me in spades ironic really

but thanks  

Spades?
You certainly need plenty more for the hole you are in.
You are welcome, now maybe you will calm down and move on, as can do this all day long if you so wish where you continue to lose control whilst I remain in control.

Think about that very last point, as in this whole thread I have been in control. Look back at how you continue to react.

Some valuable lessons here for you Korben which are very beneficial.
i am perfectly calm thank you although i must admit a little confused did you not say you had work this mornig yet 9:20 and your still hear ....what work do you do flexi hours is it ?

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:17 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

So now replying to the same post twice. This gets even more interesting based on the things I am interested in.
You do realise you are defending yourself here where there is no attack and even more so screaming out for help off others.
You are ticking all the boxes.
just trying to keep up with your drivel mistakes happen but of course you have never done the same and you know i have a problem with writing so it can take time to catch up
but hey i didn`t think you could sink much lower but surprise yes you can

That makes no sense which further proves the more somebody is wound up the more they make irrational views. If you have an issue writing then you know you need to take time over writing and reply and the very fact you are rushing your replies is proof you have allowed yourself to be wound up for no reason. Please spare me any nonsense trying to use the victim card.
You were happy to attack me on many points last night including drinking even though I do not anymore, yet I do not whine and whinge about this like you are doing now.
Like I say, learn some humility and move on, you are like a dog without a bone.

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:20 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Spades?
You certainly need plenty more for the hole you are in.
You are welcome, now maybe you will calm down and move on, as can do this all day long if you so wish where you continue to lose control whilst I remain in control.

Think about that very last point, as in this whole thread I have been in control. Look back at how you continue to react.

Some valuable lessons here for you Korben which are very beneficial.
i am perfectly calm thank you although i must admit a little confused did you not say you had work this mornig yet 9:20 and your still hear ....what work do you do flexi hours is it ?

Ah more deflections, I am a Demand Planner.
I mean you have been up all night and you are still posting and you question me when I post?
Pot kettle black if ever I saw one.
So now you have fallen badly you now turn attempting to make some view about if I work or not.
Again I am in control here and you fail to see why you are not.
You turn in desperation to find something to get to me, it gets worse the more the you fail as seen.
As I say, like a dog without a bone.

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
just trying to keep up with your drivel mistakes happen but of course you have never done the same and you know i have a problem with writing so it can take time to catch up
but hey i didn`t think you could sink much lower but surprise yes you can

That makes no sense which further proves the more somebody is wound up the more they make irrational views. If you have an issue writing then you know you need to take time over writing and reply and the very fact you are rushing your replies is proof you have allowed yourself to be wound up for no reason. Please spare me any nonsense trying to use the victim card.
You were happy to attack me on many points last night including drinking even though I do not anymore, yet I do not whine and whinge about this like you are doing now.
Like I say, learn some humility and move on, you are like a dog without a bone.
actualy i am pretty tired as you know been up all night and your pretty exhausting

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:23 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

That makes no sense which further proves the more somebody is wound up the more they make irrational views. If you have an issue writing then you know you need to take time over writing and reply and the very fact you are rushing your replies is proof you have allowed yourself to be wound up for no reason. Please spare me any nonsense trying to use the victim card.
You were happy to attack me on many points last night including drinking even though I do not anymore, yet I do not whine and whinge about this like you are doing now.
Like I say, learn some humility and move on, you are like a dog without a bone.
actualy i am pretty tired as you know been up all night and your pretty exhausting

Well go to bed, nobody is stopping you but yourself.

Sweet dreams

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:24 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
i am perfectly calm thank you although i must admit a little confused did you not say you had work this mornig yet 9:20 and your still hear ....what work do you do flexi hours is it ?

Ah more deflections, I am a Demand Planner.
I mean you have been up all night and you are still posting and you question me when I post?
Pot kettle black if ever I saw one.
So now you have fallen badly you now turn attempting to make some view about if I work or not.
Again I am in control here and you fail to see why you are not.
You turn in desperation to find something to get to me, it gets worse the more the you fail as seen.
As I say, like a dog without a bone.
not at all i am all ways up all night
just you said you had work i didn`t want to keep you sorry if that's made you feel unsecure

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:25 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Ah more deflections, I am a Demand Planner.
I mean you have been up all night and you are still posting and you question me when I post?
Pot kettle black if ever I saw one.
So now you have fallen badly you now turn attempting to make some view about if I work or not.
Again I am in control here and you fail to see why you are not.
You turn in desperation to find something to get to me, it gets worse the more the you fail as seen.
As I say, like a dog without a bone.
not at all i am all ways up all night
just you said you had work i didn`t want to keep you sorry if that's made you feel unsecure  

You are not keeping me from my work. I am at work now, with time on my hands, as I am good at my job, I structure my time well.
Well nobody is keeping youi from sleeping yet here yoiu are still like a dog without a bone.

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:27 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
actualy i am pretty tired as you know been up all night and your pretty exhausting

Well go to bed, nobody is stopping you but yourself.

Sweet dreams
i am planning to but i have to phone the housing people to see if i am getting my floors ripped up again this year (ever year for six years so far )so the can fix the central heating with out puting nails in the pipes ......i am not confident in there ability's to do this ....7th times the charm
so once i get them of to bed

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:28 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Well go to bed, nobody is stopping you but yourself.

Sweet dreams
i am planning to but i have to phone the housing people to see if i am getting my floors ripped up again this year (ever year for six years so far )so the can fix the central heating with out puting nails in the pipes ......i am not confident in there ability's to do this ....7th times the charm

Well I wish you the best of luck in getting this far more important problem solved.

Laughing

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:30 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
i am planning to but i have to phone the housing people to see if i am getting my floors ripped up again this year (ever year for six years so far )so the can fix the central heating with out puting nails in the pipes ......i am not confident in there ability's to do this ....7th times the charm

Well I wish you the best of luck in getting this far more important problem solved.

Laughing
thanks

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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:42 pm

Brasidas wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
not at all i am all ways up all night
just you said you had work i didn`t want to keep you sorry if that's made you feel unsecure  

You are not keeping me from my work. I am at work now, with time on my hands, as I am good at my job, I structure my time well.
Well nobody is keeping youi from sleeping yet here yoiu are still like a dog without a bone.
very well what time do you start,you could only have had a couple of hours sleep and that`s not counting the commute

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Post by nicko on Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:18 pm

Lets get back to Damascus Steel, I,v had several Shotguns with barrels made of this steel.They are made by wrapping strands of steel around a "mandrill" a steel bar of the correct thickness. These strands are heated and twisted together around the mandrill and beaten until they are joined together into one mass. This is a shortened but basic explanation of how Damascus Steel is made.
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