Brief Communication | Published:

Materials

Carbon nanotubes in an ancient Damascus sabre

Nature volume 444, page 286 (16 November 2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The steel of Damascus blades, which were first encountered by the Crusaders when fighting against Muslims, had features not found in European steels — a characteristic wavy banding pattern known as damask, extraordinary mechanical properties, and an exceptionally sharp cutting edge. Here we use high-resolution transmission electron microscopy to examine a sample of Damascus sabre steel from the seventeenth century and find that it contains carbon nanotubes as well as cementite nanowires. This microstructure may offer insight into the beautiful banding pattern of the ultrahigh-carbon steel created from an ancient recipe that was lost long ago.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. *Institut fur Strukturphysik, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany

    • M. Reibold
    • , P. Paufler
    • , A. A. Levin
    • , W. Kochmann
    • , N. Pätzke
    •  & D. C. Meyer
  2. †Triebenberg Laboratory, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany

    • M. Reibold
  3. ‡Krüllsstrasse 4b, 06766 Wolfen, Germany

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to P. Paufler.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/444286a

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