Charles +quot;new boy+quot; Evans sez: +gt; F. There is a pillar in India made of metal fo

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Charles "new boy" Evans sez: > F. There is a pillar in India made of metal found nowhere else in the world. > > my Indian friend here same one.. says ther is a weird kind of steel > alloy pillar the alloy isnt the main concern, its just that the type of > metallurgic(sp) method is unknown and hasnt rusted for 3000 or so > years.. It is in Delhi.. Called the Ashoka Pillar. Not really sure if the > "metal is unkown or nowhere else" just that there is some mystery around it. [snip] From _The Space Gods Revealed_ by Ronald Story, 1976 ("The Chariot of the Gods turned into a pumpkin") and quoted without permission: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In _Chariots of the Gods?_ von Daniken tells us: "In the courtyard of a temple in New Delhi there exists ... a column made of welded iron parts that has been exposed to weathering for more than 4,000 years without showing a trace of rust. In addition it is unaffected by sulphur or phosphorus. Here we have an unknown alloy from antiquity staring us in the face." What is amazing here is not the special properties of the iron pillar, but how von Daniken could make four errors in only three sentences. First of all, the Iron Pillar of Mehaurali is not actually in Delhi but nearby. Secondly, it is not four thousand, but approximately fifteen hundred years old. Thirdly, it is not made of welded ... parts"; it is actually a single piece of iron. And fourthly, it is not an "unknown alloy", but rather pure iron. Von Daniken did, however get one thing right. The iron column is virtually rustproof. According to A.L.Basham, in _The Wonder That Was India_, it was purposely made that way, to serve as a lasting shrine to a king (probably Chandra Gupta II) who died near the beginning of the fifth century. What prevents the pillar rusting, he says, is in fact the great purity of the metal. The process of rusting (or oxidation) requires a catalyst. One was not present in this case, since the iron is almost chemically pure. And although the ancient Indian metallurgists were indeed far advanced for their time, a good European iron founder of about one hundred years ago could have produced the same result. The job need not, therefore, be attributed to an outer-space technology. Von Daniken finally admitted this, incidentally, in his interview for _Playboy_ magazine. He said, "... when I wrote _Chariots of the Gods?_ the information I had concerning this iron column was as I presented it. Since then, I have found that investigations were made and they came to quite different results, so we can forget about this iron thing." --------------------------------------------------------------------------- So is the Ashoka pillar the same as the Mehaurali pillar? It doesn't really matter - if they could do it once, they could do it again. Steve "ISBN 450 03370 8 - does that sound right?" Caskey [snip] From: If you want to know more about the pillar , check out the book "A concise history of science in India" Raja From: Newsgroups: sci.materials Subject: Re: Delhi Pillar Date: 28 Jan 94 12:59:53 CST [snip] In his landmark book, "The Corrosion and Oxidation of Metals: Scientific Principles and Practical Applications" (St. Martin's Press, 1960, pg. 508), Professor Ulick Evans explains and notes some references (listed below) on the unusually good corrosion performance of "ancient iron" such as that in the Delhi pillar. In brief, reduction of iron ore by charcoal provides, in general, a more sulfur-free material than does iron ore reduced by the more modern "methods involving coal," leading to a more corrosion-resistant product. The atmosphere in which the material existed was reportedly relatively free of atmospheric contaminants; they cut off some pieces, exposed them in a modern industrial (polluted) environment, and witnessed rapid corrosion of the "ancient iron." Details can be found in Evans' book as well as in: J.C. Chaudari, Joswa, 1957, Vol. 5, No.1 K. Daeves, Stahl und Eisen, 1940, Vol. 60, pg. 245. J.C. Hudson, Nature, 1953, Vol. 172, pg. 499. [ed. note: see data at end of this compilation-jpp] Rumors about the superiority of ancient Indian metalworking cannot be supported on the basis of the Delhi Pillar. Standard Disclaimers Apply Don Jordan Inland Steel R&D From: (T.S. SRIRAM) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban,sci.materials,sci.skeptic Subject: Re: Delhi Pillar Date: 1 Feb 1994 14:23:54 GMT Some facts about the Delhi Pillar: The pillar's dating back to ~ 200 BCE is probably based on the inscriptions on the pillar itself. The inscriptions are part of the third Maurya emperor Asoka's efforts to promote Buddhism and they are in the local language of the time, Pali (a Sankrit derivative). Asoka's reign is reasonably well known to historians because of the number of inscriptions on stone tablets etc. that he left behind. (See Stanley Wolpert's "A New History of India" or Vol. 1 of the Durants' History of Civilization - Our Oriental Heritage for details). The pillar is a popular tourist attraction, mainly because it is next to the Qutb Minar. [snip] - Sriram From: Newsgroups: sci.materials,sci.skeptic Subject: Re: Delhi Pillar Date: 4 Feb 94 12:39:11 CST > In article , (Ray Depew) writes: [posits that slag in pillar may galvanically protect the iron] [expounds on freshman chemistry rememberances of emf series, etc.] Once again, we find that "any freshman chemistry textbook" is not sufficient to explain some of the very slightly more advanced aspects of corrosion science. Here are some facts. And a couple of opinions. The emf series is a *thermodynamic* table, which gives you *only* the material's *tendency* to react. Whether or not it actually *does* react must be determined by *both* thermodynamic and kinetic concerns. Examples abound where the emf series suggests one behavior while practical experience (backed by electrochemical measurement) demonstrates another. Use the emf series for the first cut. It gives necessary *but not sufficient* information to determine whether *corrosion* will occur. [snip] Now for the slag being a sacrifial anode. You would want your sacrificial anodes to be located away from your cathode for cosmetic reasons. The "dispersed sacrificial anodes" (quotes mine) postulated in earlier posts would result in a material with a "polka dot" appearance. This is assuming that slags would be useful anodes at all. My suspicion is that the slags, having relatively low electrical conductivity and presumably slow electrode kinetics (yeah, yeah I know there are exceptions) would be lousy sacrificial anodes. Finally, all of this hooha about the *superiority* of ancient Indian metallurgy is getting tiresome. The fact is that Prof. Evans obtained some material from the Delhi pillar, exposed it in a modern (20th century) industrial zone (lots of pollution and fallout) and found that the corrosion rate of the old stuff was not really any different than that of the new stuff. An interesting experiment would be to erect a modern Delhi pillar with modern materials, and instruct our great-great-great-great grandchildren to make the final decision for us. I'm on my lunch hour. My company won't take any blame (or credit) for what appears here. Don Jordan Inland Steel R&D From: (Thomas S. Zemanian) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban,sci.materials,sci.skeptic Subject: Re: Delhi Pillar Date: 5 Feb 1994 01:36:06 GMT In article <>, wrote: > In article , (Ray Depew) writes: > > T.S. SRIRAM ( wrote: > > > > : I dont quite remember why the > > : presence of slag would inhibit rusting, but perhaps the > > : corrosion gurus on the net can explain this. {a bit deleted here} > > the other end. The metals towards the gold end are called "noble metals." > > I don't know why; perhaps it has to do with the oppressive Eurocentric > > Christian white males who invented the series. Nope. They're referred to as noble because they don't readily combine chemically. It is for the same reason that the inert gases are sometimes referred to as the "noble gases". Attributing the name to a perceived character flaw of an entire continent is unnecessary. > > > > If you were to connect two metals listed on the table with a jumper cable, > > or just put two samples together so they touched, you would find over time > > that one of the two metals dissolved/rusted/corroded, and it would be the > > metal closer to the lithium end of the table. The other metal would appear > > relatively untouched. Not really. You would still need some medium capable of solvating the ionic forms of the sacrificial metal. Since water is so ubiquitous, aqueous brines are the most common form. Without the solvating medium, the galvanic potential difference of the metals would give rise to an electromagnetic force (emf). This is the principle upon which thermocouples operate. > > When designers want a modern iron or steel structure to last a long time > > without corroding, they attach a "sacrificial anode" to the structure. > > This is a bar or block of metal less noble than iron. Railroads bury a > > block of manganese next to the track and attach it to the track with a > > heavy cable; I don't know what shipbuilders use. These sacrificial anodes > > Ships use blocks of zinc welded the the hull in the bilges to act as > the sacraficial anodes. > It is VERY difficult, if not impossible, to weld zinc to steel. Hence, the sacrificial zincs are bolted in place. > > eventually dissolve, and railroad maintenance crews and drydock workers > > replace them on a regular basis. > > > > > The slag in the pillar(s) in India may contain traces of elements less > > noble than iron, and these would indeed act as "sacrificial anodes," > > allowing the iron to remain as bright and shiny as new. Like chromium > > plating on a steel bumper, the slag doesn't have to dissolve very fast. > > It just has to be less "noble" than the iron. This scheme would give rise to deep pitting in the pillar, and I have not noted anyone mention on such corrosion being reported. In any case, the sacrificial "microanodes" would have to be quite large, _i.e._ unalloyed, with the iron in order to work in this fashion. {balance deleted} TS Zemanian The opinions expressed are my own. Keep your filthy grubs off 'em. ;-) In Message-ID: On or about Tue, 8 Feb 1994 17:17:09 GMT (dave pierson) posted: > > India is a big country. PARTS are damp/wet rain foresty. PARTS are Dry. > Someone who knows can say which is more true of Delhi. _Nature_ Sep. 12, 1953, vol 172 # 4376, p. 499-500, J. C. Hudson says: 4 by 2 inch specimens of steel and zinc were exposed in air near the pillar and at several other locations. Steel was 1/8 in thick and zinc 1/20 inch thick. Table 1 Exposure Station Corrosion Rate mils (0.001 in) per year steel zinc Delhi 1950-1951 0.23 - Delhi 1951-1952 0.17 0.006 Goldalming 51-52 1.7 0.042 Sheffield 51-52 4.2 0.51 Khartoum 9 yr. avg. 0.1 0.02 Basrah 8 yr. avg. 0.6 0.04 Singapore 10 yr. avg 0.6 0.04 Hudson attributes corrosion resistance at Delhi to the environment and lists some meteorological data for same: Table 2 New Delhi Meteorological Observations, 1951 jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec Relative Humidity 74 52 53 42 35 41 63 74 63 50 50 69 0830 h Relative Humidity 46 24 33 21 21 26 48 60 52 37 42 47 1730 h Rain 0.9 0.0 2.1 0.9 0.1 0.5 4.8 3.1 4.1 0.3 0.6 nil (inches) [ed. note: Doug Spindler assures me that these numbers are consistant with 10 year averages for Delhi as per _Times World Weather Guide_. - jpp.] ... Hudson says below 70 percent RH one can expect little corrosion, while Metals Handbook ninth ed. vol 13, p. 511, ISBN 0-87170-007-7 fig. 2 shows that corrosion rate is negligible below 60 % RH and then increases rapidly, while fig. 1 shows that it increases rapidly above 30 % RH with presence of 0.01 % SO2, for steels. In any case, for most of the 1500 years the pillar has been there, the SO2 has been low in Delhi. The humidity is also quite low. If the pillar were in Talladega Alabama, where humidity is high, it would be a pile of iron ore by now. If it were on the beach (exposed to salt spray from the ocean) at Fort Lauderdale it would be gone in very short order. Jon "long answers to short questions" Papai --


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