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Report on samples of steel from the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, by Alan Williams, 2005

Report on samples of steel from the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, by Alan Williams, 2005

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Published by Donald B. Wagner
Metallographic examination of samples of steel made by the traditional Chinese Su-gang co-fusion steelmaking method. Collected by Joseph Needham in Beibei, near Chongqing, Sichuan, 1956. The samples are in the collection of the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge.
Metallographic examination of samples of steel made by the traditional Chinese Su-gang co-fusion steelmaking method. Collected by Joseph Needham in Beibei, near Chongqing, Sichuan, 1956. The samples are in the collection of the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Donald B. Wagner on Apr 14, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/11/2013

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Report on samples of steel from the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge.
Specimens of steel taken from the traditional “Su Kang” co-fusion steel factory at Pei- phei near Chungking in 1958 were studied.There are 3 ingots of approximately 25mm square cross-section.The UPPER ingot shows a grey fracture with a dark circle within the square section at both ends of the ingot. A sample was detached from the edge (labelled UE) andanother from the centre (labelled UC).The MIDDLE ingot shows a grey fracture with an irregular surface at one end. Asample was detached from the edge (labelled ME) and another from the centre of theirregular end (labelled MC).The LOWER ingot shows a grey fracture at both ends of the ingot. A sample wasdetached from the edge (labelled LE) and another from the centre (labelled LC).All 6 specimens were detached with a jeweller’s saw, and then embedded in epoxyresin for polishing down to 1 micron in the usual way for metallography. After etching to remove the topmost layer of atoms, the microstructures were revealed, andfound to be as follows:
UPPER ingot
UE – areas of pearlite, other carbides and ferrite in varying proportions. There arenumerous slag inclusions and cavities. The carbon content varies between around0.1% and 0.6%.The microhardness (Vickers, 100g) ranges from 228 to 272; average = 247 VPH.(scale bar = 50 microns)
 
 UC –a fairly uniform mixture of very fine pearlite and an irresolvable material with afeathery morphology (upper bainite ?) with a few isolated grains of untemperedmartensite. The carbon content is perhaps 0.6 %.The microhardness (Vickers, 100g) ranges from 403 to 564; average = 456 VPH.(scale bar = 50 microns)
MIDDLE ingot
ME – uniform martensite with some slag inclusions.The microhardness (Vickers, 100g) ranges from 261 to 555; average (insofar as thismeans anything) = 332 VPH.The carbon content therefore (assuming minimal tempering) ranges from 0.1% to0.3%. (scale bar = 50 microns)
 
 MC- uniform martensite, essentially similar that to of ME (not illustrated).The microhardness (Vickers, 100g) ranges from 599 to 755; average = 628 VPH.The carbon content therefore (assuming minimal tempering) ranges from 0.4% to0.6%.
LOWER ingot
LE – uniform very fine pearlite with a few irregular cementite areas and very few slaginclusions. The carbon content is perhaps 1.0 %.The microhardness (Vickers, 100g) ranges from 308 to 366; average = 335 VPH.

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