Carbon steel pipes and steel pipe fittings made of carbon may sound like wonders of modern science, but in truth these have been around for centuries. In fact, Damascus (capital and erstwhile capital of Syria) was one of the first places on earth where carbon steel was used to make swords and other warfare artefacts. Today, carbon steel pipes and other carbon steel products are made in complicated foundries, but back then crude manual techniques were used to make that have made Damascus steel legendary nature. After the Damascus civilisation was lost, it took another 800 years for modern civilisation to rediscover the magic of carbon steel. So, let us find out what made the steel produced in erstwhile Syrian capital so special.
The mysteries of ancient carbon steel making
Truthfully, we are still trying to understand the process of Damascus steel. We do not know how the ancients they did. It is widely believed to be the process of tempering steel to make it stronger with the help of impurities and adding elements such as vanadium and molybdenum during the process which increased its strength and durability compared to other metals of the time. According to experts, and shall Damascus steel was found partially from repetitive heat treatment process including cold working, and partially from ore that had a high vanadium content. Apparently, the iron smiths of Damascus were not completely aware of why their steel was so special. According to modern scientists and experts of steel making, it was because of the extraordinarily high content of any team and molybdenum that made the Damascus steel so superior. Another steel of that period that had equal fame was known as Valaryian steel.
Unlike Japanese steel used in making the famed katana, European iron ores were of much superior quality and had very little impurities like the Japanese iron ores. But overall, unfortunately the technique of producing Damascus steel blades is a lost art. The date of the last blades produced to the highest quality pattern is uncertain, but is probably around 1750.
Taking a leaf out of history in modern steel production
Today carbon steel pipes and steel pipe fittings that are made of carbon use the old techniques in a new way. Modern steel forging techniques use carbon monoxide gas for carburizing steel at very high temperatures. Another method that makes still even harder is called nitridizing. So, therefore you see that the techniques that are ancients, irrespective of where they were has helped us discover modern and better processes to make high-quality steel using carbon and other additives such as molybdenum and vanadium.
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