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Damascus steel is a multilayered hand-forged steel used in the past for arabic and japanese weapons and now for kitchen knives and various connoisseur blades. Usually, two alloys are used alternatively to stack layers having different properties and shades.

I wonder if it still has a mechanical superiority over modern carbon steels, especially with "super steels" and tools steels like CPM 3V. By technical superiority, I mean better properties regarding fatigue resistance, impact resistance, tear propagation, edge durability, corrosion resistance, ultimate average tensile strength and so on.

Are there any studies about that ?

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Damascus and Samari blades are artisan made , so have variations. They were a very clever way to make medium carbon steel before the science was understood. They are a combination for wrought iron ( low carbon , soft, ductile) and a high carbon similar to cast iron ( high carbon). The two materials are layered together , forged and reheated a number of times. The carbon does diffuse to some degree to produce a medium carbon product , roughly 0.4% . This has a blend of toughness, strength, hardness ( depending on other elements like Mn ,Si and others, and heatreatment). I can't imagine them being made in high quality, quantity or at competitive cost.

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No. The only application is historically accurate replicas.

While damascus steel has parameters quite comparable to modern hardened steels, its manufacturing process is lengthy, expensive and ill-suited for mechanization and mass production. While its parameters would make it perfectly adequate for many applications, alternatives exist that provide equivalent performance at significantly lower manufacturing cost.

This video, while focusing on the Japanese Katana and its manufacturing process, also discusses damascus steel, and points out similar shortcomings of both versus modern steels.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, the manufacturing part is not my concern here, I'm rather looking for mechanical comparison $\endgroup$ – Aurélien Pierre Jun 6 '17 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ @AurélienPierre: It's definitely "upper class" but it's no longer the best. Modern material engineering allows for optimization of alloy compositions and processing parameters in ways not dreamt of in the middle ages. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jun 7 '17 at 1:47
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Wootz steel/ Damascus steel is an incredibly beautifully made alloying process and for this alone yes it is still relevant. I personally am working on all sorts of variables in the process of making said alloys. It has many uses, perhaps not in the industrial scene, but yes it has its place. Now, on to the "super steels" yes there are super steels that are stronger, hold a keener edge for longer etc etc etc, however as a knife maker I enjoy making wootz/damascus steels. And I am just guessing that you do not know how much some of these super steels cost? Besides, as I forge my own blades, I am not one of these guys that just removes material and considers themself a knife maker! I have a healthy business, so yes, I believe damascus has its place and will continue to for a long long time.

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    $\begingroup$ This seems more of an anecdotal comment than an answer. You don't really address the mechanical performance of Damascus steel or how those properties compare to modern steels. Even when you address it's relevance, you seem to give a completely biased account based on your own usage. You also don't really expand on where it is still in use and how it's being used. Overall this seems to be you talking about how you still make knives; not the technical relevance of Damascus steel. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 6 '17 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Having read your statement, rubbish! The question was NOT "find the technical relevance of damascus". However, the question, yes it it obviously relevant if artisans such as myself are using it! $\endgroup$ – Táibhsé Gaeilge Jul 9 '17 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, the question asks about mechanical properties and asks how they compare. It was about the mechanical properties of the steel; not about its artisan uses. Note this is an engineering site; not a artesian design site. I think his intention was clear that he meant mechanical significance, not artesian significance. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 9 '17 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ Fair points, I have to begrudgingly agree. But, I have to pick up on one thing, perhaps it's not relevant to this page, but it'd not be the first time. So, you said to me I gave a completely biased account on my own usage.....how is it biased? Many people use and love this material. $\endgroup$ – Táibhsé Gaeilge Jul 21 '17 at 14:27

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