The American public and the citizens of Damascus around 900 A.D. have something in common: They may have used nano materials without being aware of it.
Nature.com just posted preliminary research by Peter Paufler of Dresden’s Technical University who examined sabres used by Muslim fighters during the crusades. His conclusion: The metal used to make those sabers has a microstructure of nano-metre-sized tubes similar to nano materials used today:
“Sabres from Damascus, now in Syria, date back as far as 900 AD. Strong and sharp, they are made from a type of steel called wootz. Their blades bear a banded pattern thought to have been created as the sword was annealed and forged. But the secret of the swords' manufacture was lost in the eighteenth century.
But his suggestion isn't necessarily rock solid. Steel expert John Verhoeven, of Iowa State University in Ames, suggests Paufler is seeing something else. Cementite can itself exist as rods, he notes, so there might not be any carbon nanotubes in the rod-like structure.”
(Click here for the summary article from the news section of nature.com.)