Watered steel

Client: rupertharris

Location: Glossary

Steel with a fine surface pattern resembling waves or ripples in water. Watered steel is made from wootz, a type of crucible steel that originated in India. Wootz is made by putting wrought iron together with vegetable material in a crucible and heating it for a prolonged period. The steel that emerges is especially high in carbon (~2%) and crystallises on cooling with a pronounced structure. After etching, the pattern of bright, silvery areas (cementite, iron carbide) and dark brownish grey areas (pearlite, a mixture of iron and iron carbide) is revealed. Watered steel is different in origin from pattern-welded steel- in the first, the pattern comes from crystallisation phenomena inside the metal- in the latter, it comes from the welding together of different types of steel. Watered steel is also known as Damascus steel.