Week 7 Group C Data

This week, we worked on blacksmithing, focusing more on the experience of doing metalsmithing than doing an experiment. With the guidance of expert blacksmith Martin Pansch, we created nails and roves. My group created a coal fire and kept it hot with the use of a blower, putting metal into the fire and working on it once it reached the correct temperature. Martin informed us that steel burns at 2400° F and it is best to work with at 900° F. Our group had some initial difficulty finding the correct temperature, with some of our metal burning off because it had become too hot.

The metal is clearly too hot when it is bright orange and sparkling, and was an indication to us to leave it in the fire for shorter periods or to put it in a less hot part of the fire. The ideal color is a bright orange but without sparkling. The time when the metal is in the fire is called a heat, and you work on the metal between heats to get to the correct shape. Martin told us that very experienced blacksmiths were able to form a nail in one heat, or less than a minute, which was difficult for us to achieve.

NameTime to Create NailHeats Used to Create Nail
Evan24 minutes16
Gisele30 minutes20
Nicholas56 minutes38

Using more heats meant taking more time to create the nail, as you had to spend time waiting for the metal to get hot, and then spent more time shaping the nail. While we all experienced some difficulties with bending, metal smithing is somewhat forgiving because you can reheat the metal and fix any errors.

The next day in class we were shown how to use a pXRF machine by Professor Sarah Kennedy. The device uses X-rays to find the elemental composition of artifacts and is useful in archeology. Below is the elemental makeup of our nails.

Elemental composition of iron nail forged in lab by Martin.

2 thoughts on “Week 7 Group C Data

  1. Wow, 56 minutes! That’s really impressive and definitely not as long as Gisele and Evan’s nails combined… Very good job data collecting Margaret!!

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