Is steel it?

Marginal

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I was wondering if anyone makes or can make a functional sword out of other metals. Probably sounds stupid, but with all the stronger metals and alloys out there, I was wondering. Just on a know nothing's level, it'd seem like something like a titanuim blade would be superior to a regular steel one.
 

pgsmith

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Nope!
This has actually been discussed quite a bit on swordforum.com. There are alloys that are harder than steel, and alloys that are tougher than steel. There are very few that are BOTH harder and tougher than steel. Of the few that there are, they are very light. A sword depends upon sufficient mass to cut properly. In order to have a titanium alloy sword that was of sufficient weight to cut properly, it would have to be something on the order 15 feet long. :)
 
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Marginal

Marginal

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I figured that was probably the case. Couldn't help wondering tho. :)
 

Grenadier

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Nothing beats good ol' fashioned steel.

Titanium is a real pain to work with, is too light, and doesn't have the hardness characteristics that steel does. Also, if you accidentally get titanium too hot, and it ignites, you'd better run away... It won't stop burning even if immersed into water.

Carbon fiber is simply too light, and lacks the density required.

Ceramics are too brittle.
 
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Shane Smith

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Alot of people are experimenting with aluminum training swords right now in the WMA for blunt work but the ones I have handled are overly light and I don't see the reasoning for choosing them over steel. Steel is historically accurate and does the job with a minimum of fuss.
 

arnisador

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pgsmith said:
There are alloys that are harder than steel, and alloys that are tougher than steel.
What's the distinction between 'harder' and 'tougher' here?
 
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kenpochad

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I dont know alot about swords but i do Know that some of the alloys out there
are stronger.
but steel will bind and alot of the alloys will break like, crome alloy
 

Grenadier

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Some alloys could very well be significantly harder than your "average" sword steel, but because they are harder, they are more likely to break, due to the lack of flexibility. Remember, a sword is a relatively long piece of metal that doesn't have too much in the way of thickness, so there's really not much margin of error when selecting the correct type of steel.
 

Charles Mahan

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Yeah. The harder a steel is the more brittle it becomes. The softer it is the more flexible it will be and the less likely it will be to break due to it's ability to absorb shock better, but the softer the steel is the more trouble you will have making it, and keeping it sharp. So there's a tradeoff between hard and soft.
 

dubljay

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arnisador said:
What's the distinction between 'harder' and 'tougher' here?
Though I'm by far no expert on swords, I have some knowledge of metallurgy.



Hardness is a characteristic that falls under the category of Durability, along with wear resistance and fatigue strength.



Toughness is a category unto itself consisting of sub properties, such as impact strength and notch sensitivity,



(Taken from Engineering Materials: Properties and Selection Seventh Edition by Budinski, Kenneth G. and Budinski Michael K.)





So in relation to one another, in terms of mechanical properties, a sword that is extremely hard, would be incredibly durable (as in it would hold its edge well) but it would have a low level of toughness as its hardness would cause it have a low impact strength. And vice a versa, a sword that has a high impact strength would have a low durability.





Again, I am no expert on swords, but this is how it applies directly to materials and their mechanical properties. No alloy other than steel (steel is an alloy by the way) has the properties of steel, which is why it has yet to be replaced in many applications, including the manufacture of blades.



Just my $.02

-Josh
 
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