Week 7 Lab Data Group D: Blacksmithing

Since we had fewer forges than groups, group D split up and joined other groups. Thus, this data will be another compilation of lab data from group E, the group that I joined. Additionally, the temperature readings were wildly inconsistent. We had access to two laser thermometers which often had readings over 100°C apart. It was also difficult to measure a consistent part of the fire, although we aimed to measure the innermost coals (where the metal was actually being heated) when possible. Finally, we also switched from using charcoal to coal halfway through, so the nails were forged using charcoal and the washers were forged using coal.

Quantititive Data:

Much of this data is surely incorrect because iron melts around 1600°C and we had several cases of the iron rod melting after too long in the fire.

Qualitative Observations:

The first attempts at forging were quite slow but subsequent crafts were much faster

When using coal, we created a small cave in the coal which trapped the heat and made the forging process much faster. When using the bellows, the mouth of the cave spewed a fiery trail, akin to a dragon or a rocket. It is easy to see from this how stories of blacksmiths and dragons are often linked. Additionally, it is possible that early depictions of dragon fire came from this type of phenomenon.

Repetitive use injuries in the shoulder, arms, and back would have been common among blacksmiths, potentially making the profession readily identifiable from examining human remains.

Hard hits with the hammer imparted extra heat into the object being forged. This seemed to increase the amount of time an item could be worked on before it had to be reheated. However, more data would be needed to confirm this.

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