Jan Ysselstein Posted February 19, 2010 Share Posted February 19, 2010 (edited) In an attempt to make some cast iron for wootz production, I thought I would just smelt some bits and pieces (gromps) and cast iron would come running to the bottom of the furnace (wrong). The bad news is I only got a little over two pounds of cast iron, the other bad news is I have a bunch more bits and pieces. The good news is I have a small high carbon/cast iron bloom of about 6 lbs (cleaned)..not really bad for a 1.5hrs run. The really interesting part of the smelt is the discovery of a new building material (see photos attached). In order to allow the bloom to sink and make room for more iron on top of the bloom, I normally place a layer of rice straw in the bottom of the furnace and cover it with a thin layer of VERY VERY fine charcoal. Having no very fine fines around I thought I would skip that step and just start running after placing the straw. The layer of charred straw next to the heat has turned into a very strong foamed glass (rice straw is about 80% silica and 13% flux.). Not only does it have good compressive strength but it is also very hard to break. The silvery color indicates iron fume in the atmosphere and I am not sure if iron is playing a role here. I have heard the expression " building a straw house" and never knew what it meant. The silvery shiny side was the top layer of the straw at the bottom of the furnace. I will use this thread to post occasional progress in my attempts at making a wootz blade. Bloom Foamed rice straw ash, cross section Foamed rice straw ash , top surface Jan Edited March 2, 2010 by Jan Ysselstein Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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