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Re: Meteors and Swords/Fwd

Poster: Gene Bonar
Greetings rosies and Dr JP Hrisoulas,

I am thrilled you join our discussion and I think I speak for everyone when I say that you are throughly welcome to join any of our discussion you choose.

I have a friend that, I think, has just purchased one of your books. I am sure dozens of Atlantians are rushing to find your books as I write this.

Thank you for your contribution.

At 03:05 PM 4/20/98 EDT, JHrisoulas wrote:
>Poster: JHrisoulas <JHrisoulas@aol.com>
>Hello all:
>I was forwarded the below posting via an associate and I hope no one minds if
>I respond, as I have a small ammount of learning in the field of metallurgy
>and metallography...and the fact that I have probably made more meteoric iron
>blades than anyone alive today....
>In a message dated 98-04-20 11:02:07 EDT, you write:
> Poster: Jeanette Gugler <jgugler@mindspring.com>
> At 15:42 04/15/98 -0400, Gene Bonar <gbonar@auspex.com> wrote:
> >
> >At 02:12 PM 4/15/98 -0400, Terry wrote:
> >(snip)
> >>I don't think speculation is out of line as long as the speculation and the
> >>facts are kept in orderly piles.
> >
> <SNIP>
> >>Actually, few are pure iron although they're closer to pure iron than would
> >>be found on earth naturally. Most are a combination of iron and nickel with
> >>some carbon common. Does anyone know how well iron-nickel does in a
>I assume that one is speaking of the more common Fe/Ni meteorite, not the
>Moldavite, or Olivine meteorites?? If so, I can answer this question. (I
>detest entering in the middle of a discussion, and if I am in error, could
>some on bring me up to speed??).
>There are various differences between the meteoric iron and the iron produced
>here on this planet.. these are chemical and crystalline differences.. The
>double Octahedrite pattern of the material plays hell on trying to forge this
>material..A considerable ammount of "refinement" is needed and you must emply
>a good quality of terrestrial iron in order to hold the Fe/Ni material
>together. The Fe/Ni meteoric material does tend to fracture along the
>crystalline structure when sufficient pressure or impact is applied....This is
>commonly known as "red short" by blacksmiths...
>By employing the iron with the meteorite, you can "hold together" the material
>being worked and then refine it by the same basicv method of drawing and
>welding as employed with traditional bloom in the process of manufacturing of
>wrought iron...
> >
> >Well this is what I get for pontificating outside of my specialty. <wry
> >grin> Rather than pure iron I should have said elemental iron, I guess.
> >The point being that meteors don't fall into the atmosphere an amorphous
> >blob of diverse elements, heat up and land a chuck of steel. I think
> >Stephan's question was if a chuck of steel form and landed on earth or more
> >to the point Southern England it could ....>>
>I would speculate that the "historical" "Excalibur" was probably made from
>iron produced in Sweden..Iron ores from that region have a small ammount of W
>that occurs within them naturally....The W would enhance the material,
>especially if a form of "blister steel"...was obtained. The resulting
>marteral would be "superior" to the "nativer" material produced...especially
>if it was made by someone who undertood the process and could obtain
>repeatable results...
> >
> >>Being a geologist, I have no idea how much iron it takes to make a sword.
> >>But one of my astronomy professors had a meteorite he was using as a door
> >>stop that was a good 45#. Would that be enough?
> >
> >45# would be enough to make several swords. I've seen and touched
> >meteorites, several large ones (none 45# though) that would be of
> >sufficient size to make a sword. >>
>45# of material, when "refined" by "traditional" techniques employed in
>England at that time, would yield between 20 and 35 lbs of usable, "refined"
>iron...The repeated forging/cut/weld techniques does make for a considerable
>material loss, and the ammount of loss involved would depend upon the ammount
>of working the '"raw" material undergoes prior to it's incorporation into a
>blade... Now also, one must realize that there were numerous ways that sword
>blades were made during this time in history and the use of classic pattern
>welding techniques would "extend" the number of swords that could be made from
>a given ammount of material.
> None of them happened to be steel. For
> >the postulate to hold it would have to be steel, not an iron/nickel/carbon
> >blob. Those happen to be the elements (amongst others) that go into making
> >steel, but I'm asking can the alloy be formed in the manner put forth, and
> >if so is there ANY empirical data showing that such a chuck fell in
> >Southern England or anywhere else.>>
>You must alsa realize that as a raw material, the Fe/Ni metoerite would be
>more or less a better "quality" than the rough bloom iron produced by charcoal
>smelting. The English did not have the means to render Fe to full
>liquidus...They were in fact "lucky" to get a bloom...If you have ever tried
>to smelt Fe using a charcoal fired heat source you would realize how labour
>intensive it is to produce even a small ammout of usable material...
>< Meteors are a combination of iron and nickel and carbon (or so says one who
> has studied such). How are the proportions different from more mundane
> iron ores easily mined in the Middle Ages? From neither the ground nor the
> meteors would elemental iron be found. Making steel is a process of
> removing unwanted 'impurities' (or some of them) and adding needed ones.
> The various impurities and their proportions have a lot to do with the
> final properties of the steel -- brittleness, flexibility, how well it
> holds an edge, etc. >>
>The rendering of Fe from ore is a very long and hot process..One has to get
>not only enough heat but also induce enough CO to reduce the ore into
>iron....even then, given the state of the art in England at that time, the
>resulting mass would still be a sponge iron, full of slags and other
>impurities...These would be in essence "hammered" out during the following
>forging refinements, resulting in what is commonly known as wrought
>iron....This wrought iron, if worked further, and properly, using techniques
>in "common" usage could be further refined into a blister steel...
>Now by employing a Fe/Ni meteorite, one could, in theory, circumvent the slag
>and other impurities problems and start out with a material, while red short,
>that was more or less free of the usual problems...And again, in theory, one
>could produce a higher quality material....(You do not get steel by simply
>smelting Fe from ore...It is a drawn out process, and a very trying one using
>techniques thta were available at the time...And the results were quite often
>less than what was desired...)
>Now wrought iron can also be somewhat red short, so this charcteristic would
>not be "unusual" to the smiths of the time...But the crystalkline differences
>and the problems that lie therein could of raised a bit of a problem, unless
>the smith was either experienced or lucky and decided to "sheath" the meteroic
>material in a iron matrix while the said Fe/Ni was being "refined"...
> <<So using the processes common in Roman England (we were in the iron age by
> then) or, more to our interests, in 12th century England, how would two
> swords made one from meteoric iron and one from common iron compare?>>
>I can find too many variables to even start a fair evaluation between the the
>two materials... Are the blades made from all of one material?? Are they
>homogenous forged or pattern welded?? Blade geometry also comes into play, as
>does proper thermal treatment... To as such a question you will have to narrow
>down the parameters of the blades and give them more or less an even "playing
>field" as it were.
>In closing I hope no one minds my intrusion...But I have spent the last 30
>years studying this and well....I think I may be on the way to finally
>figuring it out.
>I am not on this list so any replies, please send them direct.
>Thank you for your time..
>Dr JP Hrisoulas
>Las Vegas, NV
>Bladesmith, Metallographer, Author:
>"The Complete Bladesmith"
>"The Master Bladesmith"
>"The Pattern Welded Blade"
>Atar, Baron Bakhtar, OL
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Eogan mac Ailpein archer and herald
Elvegast, Windmasters' Hill, Atlantia
mka Gene Bonar 919.772.1112 eogan@mindspring.com ======================================================================= List Archives, FAQ, FTP: http://merryrose.atlantia.sca.org/ Submissions: atlantia@atlantia.sca.org Admin. requests: majordomo@atlantia.sca.org