Steel: The Spirit of the Blade
The essence of every blade is in the steel from which it is forged. The basic ingredients for steel are iron and carbon – but there is much more to the tale. The amount of carbon and other alloys in steel blade affect hardness and flexibility and can be varied according to the skill and desire of the smith.
Hardness is what gives steel its armor-piercing, edge-holding strength. But steel must also be flexible enough to withstand the stress of combat without breaking. In most cases, swordsmiths compromise hardness for flexibility and toughness, or vice versa, to strike a balance between these two properties.
It hasn’t always been so. In fact, the ancients forged blades of Damascus steel that provided a sharpness and durability that is legendary even today. The origin and true nature of Damascus steel are still hotly debated among modern smiths and metallurgists. The underlying cause of much of the debate is the difficulty of replicating the properties of Damascus steel.
But a recent breakthrough at Angel Sword has resulted in the creation of Techno-Wootz™ Damascus steel. So, what exactly is Techno-Wootz™ Damascus steel? First, it helps to define a few terms for those not familiar with metallurgy.
Pattern-welded steel – Often referred to as mechanical Damascus, this steel consists of two or more dissimilar irons or steels which are forge welded and then folded or twisted to produce the characteristic Damascus pattern. This represents one of the earliest ways of making steel. Romans employed forge welding in the production of their swords, and Viking swords are well known for the beautiful patterns developed using their forge welding techniques.
True Damascus steel - While a number of steels fall under the modern definition, it can be argued that there is only one original Damascus steel. Original Damascus refers to Indo-Persian wootz or bulat steel. Wootz is metallurgically superior to pattern-welded steel. It is not folded, rather it achieves its characteristics through the segregation of a single steel into multiple steels with different carbon contents, crystalline structures and alloy levels.
While there are different theories as to why this occurs in true Damascus steel, there is general agreement that it possesses superior hardness and flexibility.
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