The steel in this blade was a hypereutectoid, crucible-melted steel that was really quite clean. The principal inclusions were approximately 0.5 to 1.0 μm in diameter. The microstructure consisted of a pearlitic matrix with spheroidized primary cementite in a layered arrangement.
Damascus steel knives, characterization of one Damascus steel sword
A Damascus steel sword has been exhaustively examined to establish its chemistry, microstructure, properties, and something about its processing.
The cementite layers were aligned with amazing regularity with individual layers containing several particles across their widths. The layered cementite distribution was compatible with the deformation of an original equiaxed cementite cellular array having a 400 μm diameter followed by an 85% reduction in thickness on forging. The final heat treatment resulted in a pearlitic matrix with a relatively fine pearlite spacing. The hardness and mechanical properties were measured and found to be those expected for a high carbon steel with a fine pearlitic microstructure.
This work was supported in part by the Science and Humanities Research Institute at Iowa State University, by a grant from Marshalltown Trowel,
We would like to acknowledge helpful discussions with blacksmith A. Pendray concerning the forging of Damascus blades.