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Friday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
03. (Objects) THEOPHILUS ON THE HARDENING OF STEEL FILES

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Casehardening is a technique developed to harden the exterior of low carbon content steels for objects such as hand tools or gun parts. Historic descriptions for the process of casehardening are rare. In his 12th century treatise On Divers Arts, Theophilius Presbyter presents one of the earliest, most complete explanations on the process of hardening small files. Traditionally it is thought that carbon is mainly responsible for the hardening of the metal surface, however, a question has arisen on the role of nitrogen in the process. In this experiment, Theophilus’s casehardening method was recreated and the samples produced were analyzed to determine if the method was one of carburization or nitrocarburization. Casehardened samples were analyzed by optical microscopy using a Zeiss Axio Imager. Microstructures of possible nitrides were found in each fired sample though it is not possible to definitively confirm them. While the presence of nitrogen cannot be absolutely confirmed in these casehardened samples, the goatskin used in the recipe was found to be one possible source of nitrogen. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis and Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) Spectroscopy were utilized to verify and measure the presence of nitrogen.

Speakers
avatar for Katrina Zacharias

Katrina Zacharias

Third-year Graduate Fellow in Art Conservation, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State
Katrina Zacharias is a current Graduate Fellow in the Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State College. She is specializing in Objects conservation with an interest in Arms and Armor- firearms in particular. Katrina holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri... Read More →

Co-Authors
avatar for Aaron Shugar

Aaron Shugar

Professor of Conservation Science, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State
Aaron N. Shugar joined the department in January 2006 as our new conservation scientist, focusing on inorganic chemistry. Aaron comes to us from the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, where he was a visiting scientist. He also served as Co-Director of the Archaeometallurgical... Read More →
avatar for Jonathan Thornton-[Fellow]

Jonathan Thornton-[Fellow]

Conservation Professor, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department State University of New York College at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo State)
Jonathan Thornton has taught objects conservation at the Art Conservation Department since 1980. Following an earlier career as an artist/silversmith, he studied conservation in this department when it was still located in Cooperstown, NY, and received his M. A. and Certificate of... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Texas Ballroom (Foyer outside Ballrooms - Poster Session) Marriott Marquis Houston

Attendees (29)