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Title: Characterization of a Messer – The late-Medieval single-edged sword of Central Europe

Metallurgical characterization of a sword blade fragments dating from the second half of the 15th century found in central Slovenia was performed in order to determine its chemical composition, microstructure, microhardness, and to obtain insight into the methods of manufacture of a late-medieval Messer sword. As the artefact was broken, examinations were limited to six very small fragments that were allowed to be removed from the cutting edge, core and the back of the blade. Light optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, differential scanning calorimetry, thermodynamics approach and Vickers micro-hardness tests were employed to analyze the microstructure and mechanical properties. The results show that the sword was manufactured from a single wrought iron billet. The surface of the sword was carburized. No evidence of quenching was found. The ferritic microstructure is concentrated in the core, and the pearlitic in the outer layer of the blade. All metal fragments contained non-metallic inclusions that were derived mostly from slag and some from hammer scale. - Highlights: • A metallurgical characterization of a medieval sword blade has been performed. • The carbon content decreased from the surface to the core of the blade. • Themore » dominant microstructure in the outer layer is pearlite and in the core is ferrite. • The presence of lump shaped and elongated non-metallic inclusions was observed. • The sword was manufactured from a single wrought iron billet.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Materials and Metallurgy, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva cesta 12, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  2. National Museum of Slovenia, Prešernova cesta 20, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  3. Jožef Stefan Institut, Jamova cesta 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22288707
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Materials Characterization; Journal Volume: 86; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; AGE ESTIMATION; CALORIMETRY; CHEMICAL COMPOSITION; FERRITE; FERRITIC STEELS; FLUORESCENCE SPECTROSCOPY; IRON; LAYERS; MICROHARDNESS; MICROSTRUCTURE; OPTICAL MICROSCOPY; PEARLITE; SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; THERMODYNAMICS; X-RAY SPECTROSCOPY