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While all the Game of Thrones maniacs
out there have been gearing up for a new season,
we’ve been working hard with cosplaying chemistry
fanatic Ryan Consell to unlock the scientific secrets
of the most sought-after alloy
in Westeros, Valyrian steel.
When it comes to next-level swords, Valyrian steel
is the lightest, sharpest, hardest-knocking or
slaughterhouse blade that any fanboy
fangirl could ever dreamed up.
Legend says it’s the magic spells and
Dragonfire that make this steel so great.
But is it possible to legitimately forge such
a powerhouse metal with real-life materials?
(Reactions Splash)
Ryan: “In order to know about magic steel,
you’ve got to know about real steel.
Steel is an alloy – a combination of
two or more metallic elements.
Steel is mostly made of iron, but it
has some other additions, including
a mandatory amount of carbon – up to 2%.
Even a small change in the quantity of materials
in an alloy, can dramatically change
the properties of the end materials.”
The characteristics of Valyrian steel
can give us a lot of clues to its composition.
This super material is described as being incredibly
sharp, light, strong, super heat resistant, and
dark in color with distinct ripple patterns.
Ryan: “Strength and sharpness are going
to require a fancy balancing act.
For a blade to be extremely sharp, it also has to
be very hard, which carbon can definitely help with.
Problem is, the harder a material it is, the more likely
it is to shatter, which is no good for a Kingslayer.
Valyrian steel would have to be tough,
it’s got to take a hit.
For these reasons, I might recommend a spring steel:
I’m thinking a 0.06% carbon and a
couple percent silicon and manganese.
This will have a nice balance of properties.
It will keep a sharp edge, bend without breaking,
and would be REALLY HARD to shatter!”
So then what about Valyrian steel’s specialty
of handling extreme heat?
A spring steel sword isn’t going to cut
it against high temperatures.
But check it out, lots of different industrial steels
need to be able to be heated and cooled while
maintaining their structural integrity.
For this reason, there is a class of steel that is
cooled off in the open air when forged, and
won’t lose its killer properties if heated up.
Air-hardened steel requires this complex
cocktail of elements, and you better believe
it would require magic in the medieval world
to get these materials working together.
So what do you think about that Ryan?
Ryan: “Well. This is a good guess, but Valyrian
steel’s color, patterns, and weight, make
this idea pretty unlikely.
Steel is consistently bright gray and Valyrian is suppose to be nearly black.
No matter the mix, the color of steel really doesn’t change.
On top of that, you really can’t change the weight
of steel, because most of it is iron, and iron
is really heavy, while Valyrian is super light.”
Also, the ripple patterns of Valyrian steel suggest that
it has been pattern welded, or folded.
This isn’t a sign of superb quality and strength.
It’s actually a way of compensating for poor materials
and trying to make a good steel out of two bad ones.
If the folding is done correctly,
you don’t have visible ripples either.
So that’s out.
Does that mean that Valyrian steel isn’t steel at all?
Ryan: “Maybe…..The best possible match would be
a metal matrix composite, which is a modern
super-material that has a metallic
framework embedded with ceramics.
One of these could provide all of the extreme
characteristics needed for Valyrian steel.
A titanium/silicon-carbide composite
seems like a perfect fit.
It has all the strengths, weight and color and
if the metal matrix isn’t perfectly consistent,
there can be swirls of varied shades
of grey running through the blade.
These sorts of composites are extremely difficult
to make and would require some serious
modern equipment to produce.
Needless to say, the Valyrians likely used magic.”
So there you have it folks,
Valyrian steel could very well be a
precursor to a modern super material.
But the fictional blades are likely
more alchemy than chemistry.
If you liked this video, make sure to check out
this other one that talks about a particular
poison used in the series called the Strangler.
Also check down in the video description
for a link to Ryan’s fantastic blog.
Thanks for watching folks, hit the subscribe
button there, and we’ll see you again very soon.


Game of Thrones Science: Sword Making and Valyrian Steel

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justbeyourself 2015 年 4 月 17 日 に公開
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