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#1
Old 03-24-2006, 04:48 PM
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Is there any material superior to steel for making a sword blade?

Just curious. Is there any high tech material that would do better than steel in a real (ie your life depends on it) one on one sword fight?
#2
Old 03-24-2006, 05:00 PM
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Uh duh - Mithril Silver.

[Sorry, I couldn't help it.]
#3
Old 03-24-2006, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro
Just curious. Is there any high tech material that would do better than steel in a real (ie your life depends on it) one on one sword fight?
Do you mean is there a material that is stronger and holds an edge better than steel? I don't know if there is a material that a sword could be made from that will help you win a sword fight. I don't know how frequently swords broke in fights, so I don't know if there is a better material. That said, there are certainly swordmaking techniques that result in a superior sword such as differential quenching. The simplest implementation of that technique that I ever heard was to carve a squash or something like it into a shape which followed the curve of the blade. The knife was then heated evenly and the edge was stuck into the squash. The edge would cool rapidly and become very hard whereas the back of the blade would cool more slowly and be softer and springier and consequently more resistant to breakage.

My wife's uncle tells me that he can bring a titanium knife through the metal detector at the courthouse where he is a judge, so if you and your adversary have to pass through security, make sure you can take a titanium sword.

FWIW,
Rob
#4
Old 03-24-2006, 05:09 PM
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I've heard many judges are used to bringing titanium weaponry into their courtrooms. Is this true?
#5
Old 03-24-2006, 05:28 PM
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Fully ceramic knives will also pass through metal detectors, but would quickly break if used to parry.
Titanium could be added to steel, but that way, and by itself, it's very stiff. This could be bad, possibly causing injury to the wielder's hand. I couldn't find information on exactly how well it holds an edge.
#6
Old 03-24-2006, 05:34 PM
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I heard somewhere that Samorai swords where made with folded metal... I think that it had overlapping cross grained steel... That would make it pretty stiff...


Someone here probably knows much more about that than I do.
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#7
Old 03-24-2006, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu
Titanium could be added to steel, but that way, and by itself, it's very stiff. This could be bad, possibly causing injury to the wielder's hand. I couldn't find information on exactly how well it holds an edge.
Far from being stiffer, unalloyed titanium is actually more elastic than steel, with a Young's Modulus of ETi=116 GPa versus Esteel=200 GPa. I can't envision how the difference in stiffness either way would "caus[e] injury to the wielder's hand", but there you go. There do exist a few titanium alloy knives, promoted primarily for their corrosion resistance, but they're really novelty items which have an edge-holding ability comperable only to the softest of knife steels, even after much heat treatment. Titainum is sometimes used in tools that are used in a sparkless environment (like blasting cap crimpers), but is primarily used for its corrosion resistance in reactive environments and ability to retain material strength at elevated temperatures. There are no production firearms made of titanium owing to the cost of it, and while a titanium weapon might pass though a detector that relies on ferrous content to display magnetic properties it won't pass through airport scanners and the like.

Back to the OPs question, I don't think any material is superior at doing what steel does best. A runner up might be bronze, an alloy of copper and tin (and was in fact what weapons were made of before the smelting and alloying of iron (to produce weapon-strength steel) became common. (The production of steel was actually independently reproduced by three separate cultures.) There are materials that are harder (like ceramics) but that don't display adequate toughness, and there are tough materials but the lack the ability to retain an edge. There may be some exotic nickel/copper/chromium/tungsten alloys or something like depleted uranium that, given the approrpriate heat treatment, might be both stronger and tougher than steel, but between the exotic content resulting in unavailability and the weight, I doubt they'd be practical as a melee weapon material.

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#8
Old 03-24-2006, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBCD
Uh duh - Mithril Silver.

[Sorry, I couldn't help it.]
Should've known I'd be beaten to it by this crowd. That was my joke!!!!
#9
Old 03-24-2006, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Translucent Daydream
I heard somewhere that Samorai swords where made with folded metal... I think that it had overlapping cross grained steel... That would make it pretty stiff...


Someone here probably knows much more about that than I do.
For reference.
#10
Old 03-25-2006, 12:00 AM
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Generally speaking, at this time and technology level steel alloys are the best choice for sword blades for a wide array of reasons. Don't sell steel short; a look through a couple of good engineering books can find some incredible alloys with very nice properties, and forming methods (such as folding) can really improve the properties quite a bit.

Quote:
There are no production firearms made of titanium owing to the cost of it, and while a titanium weapon might pass though a detector that relies on ferrous content to display magnetic properties it won't pass through airport scanners and the like.
I do not think you are correct, but that depends on how you define "made of". Most of this gun is titanium, but not all of it. Then again, you'd be hard-pressed to find many guns made of a single material of any type...

http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/l/aasttaurustrcka.htm
#11
Old 03-25-2006, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Una Persson
I do not think you are correct, but that depends on how you define "made of". Most of this gun is titanium, but not all of it. Then again, you'd be hard-pressed to find many guns made of a single material of any type...
I stand manifestly corrected.

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#12
Old 03-25-2006, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
I stand manifestly corrected.

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It wouldn't have been on my mind at all, except now that Kansas passed concealed carry this week, I'm looking for light firepower...
#13
Old 03-25-2006, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
There may be some exotic nickel/copper/chromium/tungsten alloys or something like depleted uranium that, given the approrpriate heat treatment, might be both stronger and tougher than steel
Slightly off-topic, but is that why depleted uranium is used in tank shells?
#14
Old 03-25-2006, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by First Amongst Daves
Slightly off-topic, but is that why depleted uranium is used in tank shells?
It's hard, dense and pyrophoric.
#15
Old 03-25-2006, 10:10 AM
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Well, Adamantium seems to be popular as well, but more for armor than swords.
#16
Old 03-25-2006, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
There are materials that are harder (like ceramics) but that don't display adequate toughness, and there are tough materials but the lack the ability to retain an edge.
Can we do better with a composite structure, e.g. CFRP blade bonded to a ceramic edge?
#17
Old 03-25-2006, 11:53 AM
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As long as we're getting in to exotic materials, what if the entire blade were a single carbon compound?
#18
Old 03-25-2006, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ultrafilter
As long as we're getting in to exotic materials, what if the entire blade were a single carbon compound?
Just make sure you don't get suckered into buying a lesser-quality knockoff.


...'cause, y'know, that'd be a carbon copy.
#19
Old 03-25-2006, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
Just make sure you don't get suckered into buying a lesser-quality knockoff.


...'cause, y'know, that'd be a carbon copy.
Why did I laugh so hard at this?

As for why a stiff blade would hurt...wielding a sword hurts. You get used to it after a while, but a completely inflexible blade would tranfer a lot of vibration right into your hand when it hits something, like another sword.

Unenchanted diamond would not make a good blade because diamonds can cleave in half if struck at the right place. Many jewelry warranties do not cover this. I suspect many other carbon compounds have similar limitations.
#20
Old 03-25-2006, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4
Can we do better with a composite structure, e.g. CFRP blade bonded to a ceramic edge?
Possibly, though I think you'd be more likely to go with a metal matrix composite than carbon fiber or somesuch. Part of the problem with carbon fiber is that it is so stiff (compared to the binder matrix) that it tends to undergo fracture with any tensile or impact loading. For some types of structures this isn't a major problem, but I suspect that for a sword being used to parry or deflect blows that it might not be sufficiently robust. And your ceramic edge may be prone to chipping, so you'd want to make it replaceable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter
As long as we're getting in to exotic materials, what if the entire blade were a single carbon compound?
Diamond is very hard, but surprisingly not too strong; it'll cleave readily if struck the proper way (hence, gemstones) and so isn't really an ideal material for large impact structures. Steel has the very nice property of developing a grain which can be modified or directed both by heat treatment/annealing and the inclusion of different alloying elements to delivery a good balance of hardness and toughness (which are not the same thing) as well as excellent tensile strength and elasticity. And unlike more exotic materials, it's pretty easy to work with.

I'm a mechanical engineer, not a material scientist by training, and there may be some existing or near-term material that could be superior to steel--maybe some kind of high strength polymer-ceramic hybrid or some non-ferrous high atomic number element alloy--but it's not going to be as common or easy to work as steel.

Well, except for that Puppeteer hull material...I understand that stuff is pretty stout.

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#21
Old 03-25-2006, 02:25 PM
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Materials science is a field fo study that fascinated me enough to choose it as my undergraduate major.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astro
Is there any high tech material that would do better than steel in a real....sword fight?
If the cost of raw materials and cost to manufacture the sword are not an issue, then yes.

You would want to maximize the specific strength (sometimes called 'specific gravity') and specific modulus of your sword blade. [ specific strength = strength divided by density ] In other words, the sword ideally would have high strength, high toughness, and low weight. A hi-tech composite material would be best suited in maximizing both tensile and compressive specific strengths/moduli. Hi-tech ceramics also have high specific strength, but they are too brittle. However, there are a wide array of composites available along with many different processing methods. No one has likely ever manufactured a sword using advanced composites; so, it would take an engineer a minimum of several weeks of research and testing to decide upon the best 1) reinforcement material, 2) matrix material, 3) orientation of reinforcing fibers, and 4) processing methods.

Off the top of my head, I would recommend a double reinforment of continuous aligned carbon fibers and discontinuous carbon nanotubes in an epoxy resin matrix with fibers oriented along the sword's long axis. Pultrusion might be a feasible processing method, though I'm not certain.

Also, the blade edge could be made of diamond. Industrial saw blades are commonly diamond tipped so why not your sword? This is life or death here and money is no object, right?

That would be one kick-ass sword....but it would cost a fortune.

High tech composites* are most commonly found in aircraft and (to a lesser extent) automobiles. Steel alloys are much preferred in many applications due to it's cheaper cost. Though, the construction industry has caught on to composites in recent years.

ArchitectChore, a soon to be graduate with a B.S. degree in materials engineering.



*-as opposed to low tech composites like steel reinforced concrete or even straw reinforced mud.
#22
Old 03-25-2006, 02:37 PM
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On "exotic" carbon compounds: I didn't consider buckminsterfullerine chains, which are noted for having an absurdly high tensile strength. However, I don't know what their fracture properties are, or whether they could be cast into a strong, shear-resistant solid piece I don't really know.

If you wanted to be really silly, I suppose you could hypothesize some kind of long-chain muon-bound elements which are likely to be extremely strongly bound relative to their electron-based chemistry counterparts, but since muons decay after a 2.2 microsecond lifespan, you're left with having to cart around some kind of particle accelerator that will continuously create and siphon out muons to replunish those which are lost.

If you could somehow create a stable muon...you'd win the Nobel Prize (or a few) for making tabletop fusion practical, and could therefore pay a massive staff of physicists, electrochemists, and metallurgists to figure out the minor niggling details of creating your superalloy while you relax with your bevy of former Playboy Playmates in your champaign-filled hot tub and have your head massaged while drinking Napoleon brandy from a platinum chalice. Science is so demanding.

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#23
Old 03-25-2006, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
Part of the problem with carbon fiber is that it is so stiff (compared to the binder matrix) that it tends to undergo fracture with any tensile or impact loading.
That depends on the matrix material. Metal matrix materials (which you suggested) are worth considering as well as stiff thermoset polymer matrix mat'ls. You bring up a good point about impact resistance. A well chosen composite could hold up but, like I said in previous post, additional research and testing is necessary in final material selection.
#24
Old 03-25-2006, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchitectChore
Off the top of my head, I would recommend a double reinforment of continuous aligned carbon fibers and discontinuous carbon nanotubes in an epoxy resin matrix with fibers oriented along the sword's long axis. Pultrusion might be a feasible processing method, though I'm not certain.

Also, the blade edge could be made of diamond. Industrial saw blades are commonly diamond tipped so why not your sword? This is life or death here and money is no object, right?
Saws are typically diamond-coated for their abrasive properties; I'm not sure you could make a good slicing edge out of that. There are synthetic cermaics that could be used, but again, they tend to be fracture prone. And you'd have to figure out how to bond your ceramic edge securely to the composite; embedding them in the resin matrix (with a different elastic modulus and flexure properties) may not be sufficiently secure to assure integrity.

Also consider that your ceramic-carbon fiber sword is going to be considerably lighter than a steel one; you'd need to install ballast (maybe a tungsten core) to give it heft. In the end, I don't know that it would really be superior to a steel sword.

But it would make a hell of a graduate research project. I'd love to be at the dissertation. "Behold--Excalibur!"

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#25
Old 03-25-2006, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
Saws are typically diamond-coated for their abrasive properties; I'm not sure you could make a good slicing edge out of that. There are synthetic cermaics that could be used, but again, they tend to be fracture prone. And you'd have to figure out how to bond your ceramic edge securely to the composite; embedding them in the resin matrix (with a different elastic modulus and flexure properties) may not be sufficiently secure to assure integrity.

Also consider that your ceramic-carbon fiber sword is going to be considerably lighter than a steel one; you'd need to install ballast (maybe a tungsten core) to give it heft. In the end, I don't know that it would really be superior to a steel sword.

But it would make a hell of a graduate research project. I'd love to be at the dissertation. "Behold--Excalibur!"

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So build a rapier - thrusting weapon with a hellacious sharp point rather than a swinging weapon.
#26
Old 03-25-2006, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Valgard
So build a rapier - thrusting weapon with a hellacious sharp point rather than a swinging weapon.
You could build that with any number of materials; a reinforced-tip Teflon or carbon fiber rapier might be ideal for its light weight and flexibility. But we were speaking of sword blades, which generall speaks to a weapon with a slashing edge like a broadsword or katana.

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#27
Old 03-25-2006, 06:38 PM
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OK, so Lord of the Rings references have been taken, but how about Rearden Metal? Or perhaps a tooth of Shai-Hulud?
#28
Old 03-25-2006, 11:26 PM
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I spent some time in Okinawa in the '70s and became friendly with a master sword maker. One evening after a few drinks, he claimed to me that some of the sword makers in Japan had discovered a new "secret" alloy that included gold and copper and some exotic steps to form and temper the sword. He claimed that it was twice as strong as steel that it held a better edge etc.

Somehow he challenged me to bring a regular steel sword to test and so I met him with a really high quality (and expensive) steel sword. After a little coaxing, I took a swing which he parried with his golden sword. My steel sword got cut in two like in some cheesy martial arts flick.
#29
Old 03-26-2006, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu
Why did I laugh so hard at this?
You'd be surprised how rare it is to get an opportunity to make a carbon joke.

Tungsten, though, just writes itself.
#30
Old 03-26-2006, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by lskinner
...a new "secret" alloy that included gold and copper and some exotic steps to form and temper...
Sounds like mokume-gane.

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#31
Old 03-26-2006, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lskinner
I spent some time in Okinawa in the '70s and became friendly with a master sword maker. One evening after a few drinks, he claimed to me that some of the sword makers in Japan had discovered a new "secret" alloy that included gold and copper and some exotic steps to form and temper the sword. He claimed that it was twice as strong as steel that it held a better edge etc.

Somehow he challenged me to bring a regular steel sword to test and so I met him with a really high quality (and expensive) steel sword. After a little coaxing, I took a swing which he parried with his golden sword. My steel sword got cut in two like in some cheesy martial arts flick.
"Twice as strong as steel" is achievable, if we're talking about the plain carbon steel used for making a traditional katana. A sword made from maraging steel for example could easily be twice as strong, just as tough, and with a harder edge.

However, I'm a bit skeptical of a decent katana being cut in two. A overly hard, or wrongly heat-treated sword might snap in two, but that's about it.

I'm also a bit skeptical about a gold-based alloy having those mechanical properties. Not sure how swordmakers who have always worked with steel would stumble upon such a thing, whereas jewellers who have always worked with gold remain ignorant of it.
#32
Old 03-26-2006, 02:43 PM
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Yes I was skeptical too, which is how I ended up having a really nice expensive steel sword sliced in half like a stick of butter and ruined.
#33
Old 03-26-2006, 03:44 PM
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Also consider that your ceramic-carbon fiber sword is going to be considerably lighter than a steel one; you'd need to install ballast (maybe a tungsten core) to give it heft. In the end, I don't know that it would really be superior to a steel sword.
Now, I'm no swordsman, but wouldn'a a lighter-weight sword with the same strength, toughness, etc. be considered an unambiguously good thing? The amount of work you can do with any sword is limited by your own muscles, but a lightweight sword could be moved more quickly to parry, attack, or whatever, and you'd get less tired using it. And carrying it, for that matter: A soldier's gear is heavy, and any way to save weight is welcome.

And if lskinner's secret alloy actually existed, it wouldn't be a secret. Maybe the precise composition or technique might be unknown, but its very existance? Anyone who had such an alloy would be proclaiming it from the rooftops, that his swords (or whatever else might be made from such an alloy) were so much superior to everyone else's. Doubly so if the new alloy involved gold, since gold has mystical significance in many peoples' minds, and it'd justify the presumably absurdly high price the smith would be charging.
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#34
Old 03-26-2006, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
Now, I'm no swordsman, but wouldn't a lighter-weight sword with the same strength, toughness, etc. be considered an unambiguously good thing?
I think it depends on what it's for. A machete for example won't work as well if you make it too light. Although the ability to make a sword arbitrarily light, and/or locate the centre of gravity whereever you want along the blade, would undoubtedly be useful! With a bit of luck Kinthalis, who is a swordsman, will be along shortly.
#35
Old 03-26-2006, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
Now, I'm no swordsman, but wouldn'a a lighter-weight sword with the same strength, toughness, etc. be considered an unambiguously good thing? The amount of work you can do with any sword is limited by your own muscles, but a lightweight sword could be moved more quickly to parry, attack, or whatever, and you'd get less tired using it. And carrying it, for that matter: A soldier's gear is heavy, and any way to save weight is welcome.
I've done a little bit of melee weapon training (though more with the bo and quarterstaff than sword) but while a stabbing weapon doesn't need a lot of heft, a slashing and crushing weapon does, for both attack and parry. Consider this; when someone strikes a heavy broadsword, it adds its own linear and rotational inertia to the wielder's strength, whereas a stiff, lightweight weapon is going to bear more stress upon the wielder's hand and wrist. This is why hardwood staffs are preferred over bamboo for staff weapons.

However, you have to take different styles in hand, too: a claymore doesn't handle like a katana, and despite what you saw in Highlander, you wouldn't go up against a greatsword with one the way Christopher Lambert did; given that large, heavy swords were made to be used by and against opponents wearing heavy armor, a skilled swordsman wielding a comparitavely lightweight katana against an unarmored opponent would have a substantial advantage of speed and agility. Rather than block and parry directly, the tact should be to dodge and slash/stab.

So I guess the answer is that it depends upon your fighting style and protection of your opponent. A lightweight, low-heft sword isn't going to be much good against a well-protected fighter (unless you can thrust in through some valunerabllity) but would have a quickness against a lightly armored foe.

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#36
Old 03-26-2006, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jpeg Jones
I've heard many judges are used to bringing titanium weaponry into their courtrooms. Is this true?
Well duh! Those places are often infested with lawyers afterall. And there are some criminals too I guess.
#37
Old 03-26-2006, 05:56 PM
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You can bet that I tried to convince that guy to market his sword concept but he refused while muttering something about secrecy and honor. Maybe he figured that his sword could be reverse engineered.
#38
Old 03-27-2006, 01:00 AM
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Hmm...all this makes me wonder how good an edge iridium could take? Sure would be a heavy sword, though.
#39
Old 03-27-2006, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jpeg Jones
I've heard many judges are used to bringing titanium weaponry into their courtrooms. Is this true?
Beats me. The guy told me he did it to show his boss that metal detectors weren't going to stop weapons in the courtroom and that they needed armed bailiffs. We were discussing this shortly after that guy in Atlanta (?) took a gun off a deputy and escaped after shooting a bunch of people. He wanted to show his boss that you really couldn't stop weapons from getting into the courtroom.

For what it's worth,
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#40
Old 03-27-2006, 12:00 PM
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First I'll tackle some of the comments made thus far on the desirable qualities of a sword.

Weight: Light is good, but you don't want something that is so lacking in heft as to diminish the force of impact required to do proper cutting/thrusting/leveraging work.

I think historical swords already pretty much hit the sweetspot on this. A two-handed medieval longsword weighs in at anywhere between 2.5 to 4 pounds and is well balanced (something just as important as heft). Making it any lighter is probably not a good idea.

Strength: Swords need to be sharp, and stay sharp. They don't need to be razor sharp however. A diamond, razor like edge will net you very little gains in terms of actual real-life performance in battle. Depending on the material this type of edge is also likely to be brittle and require constant and possibly extensive repair. Not a desirable quality on a sword.

Toughness: A sword has got to flex, steel, when properly treated accomplishes this task superbly. A finly made medieval longsword is springy so as to deal with the stresses of combat, and yet stiff enough for proper cuts and thrusts.

Steel really accomplishes all these things in a very good way, when properly treated.

Some other comments:

Medieval swords were not heavy, and they certainly weren't made heavy because of armor. After seeing the preview, I realised the poster was talking about a Claymore from a particular movie, which is not a medieval sword, but a type of renaissance greatsword. I don't know that a lighter weapon would have the advantage considering that a) it's shorter, b) the claymore weighs more, but is still quick and agile enough to be used effectively (otherwise it would not have been used).

Swords cannot cut through other swords. I don't know what the poster who mentioned this experienced, but it was NOT a sword cutting through another sword. Perhaps a poorly made, or flawed sword snapping in half after a serious failure, I don't know. But steel cannot cut through that thickness of steel at the forces we are talking about here "like a knife through butter".

I think we could possibly improve on the historical sword designs of the past, but unless some dream material arises from the science lab, the actual benefits in a real-life scenerio are likely to be very small.

Not only that but it's not like we have battles with swords anymore. In order to have a realistic improvement in this type of weaponry you'd have to get a modern smith knowledgeable in the intricasies of blade geometry, a decent swordsman (and they're hard to come by in this day and age! ), and some smart scientists all working together, to design something that no longer has any military value and would probably be cheaper to make out of steel anyway.
#41
Old 03-27-2006, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds
Sounds like mokume-gane.

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That right there is what we call bad assed.
#42
Old 03-27-2006, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis

Swords cannot cut through other swords. I don't know what the poster who mentioned this experienced, but it was NOT a sword cutting through another sword. Perhaps a poorly made, or flawed sword snapping in half after a serious failure, I don't know. But steel cannot cut through that thickness of steel at the forces we are talking about here "like a knife through butter".
Only one of the two swords was steel.
#43
Old 03-27-2006, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lskinner
Only one of the two swords was steel.
Softer alloys used for "decoration purposes" (according to the wikipedia article) also cannot cut through steel.
#44
Old 03-27-2006, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
Softer alloys used for "decoration purposes" (according to the wikipedia article) also cannot cut through steel.
The alloy I witnessed was definitely not for decoration purposes.
#45
Old 03-27-2006, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lskinner
The alloy I witnessed was definitely not for decoration purposes.
Well according to the article, it was.

Let me put it this way, you could have had a sword made of diamond. It still won't cut through a steel sword in what would be considered normal use. ok?
#46
Old 03-27-2006, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
Well according to the article, it was.
Article? I've never seen any articles about the sword I saw.

Quote:
Let me put it this way, you could have had a sword made of diamond. It still won't cut through a steel sword in what would be considered normal use. ok?
So a diamond sword is theoretically the best possible sword?
#47
Old 03-28-2006, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lskinner
Article? I've never seen any articles about the sword I saw.
The article is about the mokune-gane gold-laminates linked to by crowmanyclouds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lskinner
So a diamond sword is theoretically the best possible sword?
No, but diamond is the hardest material, and will hold an edge better than anything else. If your secret golden alloy was harder than diamond, it would be worth billions as an abrasive and for use in cutting tools and high speed bearings.

It's irrelevant anyway. If a sword was infinitely strong and infinitely sharp, you still couldn't cut through a proper katana with it. Once your infinitely sharp blade has cut an infinitely-narrow nick into the katana, the rest of your infinitely strong blade is acting as wedge trying to force the nick open. The strength of the material or sharpness of the blade doesn't matter at that point - only the properties of the katana itself.

It's quite possible to make a sword from a high-carbon steel all the way through, quench it to maximum hardness and give it a minimal temper, just enough to take out the quenching stresses. Polished up and sharpened, it'll be beautiful, hard as hell, sharp enough to shave with, seriously damaging to anyone you swing it at, and will snap clean through if you hit it against a hard edge. I suspect that's what you were sold.

A true katana is made from at least five different steels with different carbon contents. The high carbon steel is used for the blade edge, but medium-carbon steels are used for the "cheeks" of the blade and the core is low-carbon steel. This makes the blade tough so it won't snap when used in anger - the softer steels can't hold nearly as good an edge, but they can absorb punishment. You can bend a paperclip into a U and straighten it again a few times. Bend a razor blade a fraction and it goes ping.
#48
Old 03-28-2006, 07:05 AM
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[QUOTE=matt]The article is about the mokune-gane gold-laminates linked to by crowmanyclouds.

So what?

Quote:
No, but diamond is the hardest material, and will hold an edge better than anything else.
reference?

Quote:
If your secret golden alloy was harder than diamond, it would be worth billions as an abrasive and for use in cutting tools and high speed bearings.
I don't know if it was harder, I do know that it cut through a steel sword. Is it impossible to cut through diamond with metal?

Quote:
The strength of the material or sharpness of the blade doesn't matter at that point - only the properties of the katana itself.
So it's impossible to cut through steel? You'll pardon my if I'm just a little skeptical.
#49
Old 03-28-2006, 07:14 AM
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It's not possible to cut through swords. This did not happen historically, it does not happen now, the laws physics say it will NOT happen ever.

Can a blade snap after a serious failure due to stress/metal fatigue. Hecks yeah. Vould it happen just as it makes contact with another blade/piece of armor/cutting material, sure, I've seen it happen myself.

Would I describe such events as "cutting through the steel sword" uhm, no. Not at all. It wouldn't make sense to.

This is the same type of nonsense I hear from people and usually the Katana. They say it was used to cut through gun barrels in WWII, and that it can cut through engine blocks.

Its nonsense, no Katana, no sword in general can defy the laws of physics, they are tools made of metal, and not magical in any way
#50
Old 03-28-2006, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
It's not possible to cut through swords. This did not happen historically, it does not happen now, the laws physics say it will NOT happen ever.
I have a pair of bolt cutters in my basement that I bought for $20 at Home Depot. Would you care to let me have a go at your best steel sword with them? What if I had industrial grade cutters? So much for the "laws physics."
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