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  • While all the Game of Thrones maniacs

  • out there have been gearing up for a new season,

  • weve been working hard with cosplaying chemistry

  • fanatic Ryan Consell to unlock the scientific secrets

  • of the most sought-after alloy

  • in Westeros, Valyrian steel.

  • When it comes to next-level swords, Valyrian steel

  • is the lightest, sharpest, hardest-knocking or

  • slaughterhouse blade that any fanboy

  • fangirl could ever dreamed up.

  • Legend says it’s the magic spells and

  • Dragonfire that make this steel so great.

  • But is it possible to legitimately forge such

  • a powerhouse metal with real-life materials?

  • (Reactions Splash)

  • Ryan: “In order to know about magic steel,

  • youve got to know about real steel.

  • Steel is an alloy – a combination of

  • two or more metallic elements.

  • Steel is mostly made of iron, but it

  • has some other additions, including

  • a mandatory amount of carbonup to 2%.

  • Even a small change in the quantity of materials

  • in an alloy, can dramatically change

  • the properties of the end materials.”

  • The characteristics of Valyrian steel

  • can give us a lot of clues to its composition.

  • This super material is described as being incredibly

  • sharp, light, strong, super heat resistant, and

  • dark in color with distinct ripple patterns.

  • Ryan: “Strength and sharpness are going

  • to require a fancy balancing act.

  • For a blade to be extremely sharp, it also has to

  • be very hard, which carbon can definitely help with.

  • Problem is, the harder a material it is, the more likely

  • it is to shatter, which is no good for a Kingslayer.

  • Valyrian steel would have to be tough,

  • it’s got to take a hit.

  • For these reasons, I might recommend a spring steel:

  • I’m thinking a 0.06% carbon and a

  • couple percent silicon and manganese.

  • This will have a nice balance of properties.

  • It will keep a sharp edge, bend without breaking,

  • and would be REALLY HARD to shatter!”

  • So then what about Valyrian steel’s specialty

  • of handling extreme heat?

  • A spring steel sword isn’t going to cut

  • it against high temperatures.

  • But check it out, lots of different industrial steels

  • need to be able to be heated and cooled while

  • maintaining their structural integrity.

  • For this reason, there is a class of steel that is

  • cooled off in the open air when forged, and

  • won’t lose its killer properties if heated up.

  • Air-hardened steel requires this complex

  • cocktail of elements, and you better believe

  • it would require magic in the medieval world

  • to get these materials working together.

  • So what do you think about that Ryan?

  • Ryan: “Well. This is a good guess, but Valyrian

  • steel’s color, patterns, and weight, make

  • this idea pretty unlikely.

  • Steel is consistently bright gray and Valyrian is suppose to be nearly black.

  • No matter the mix, the color of steel really doesn’t change.

  • On top of that, you really can’t change the weight

  • of steel, because most of it is iron, and iron

  • is really heavy, while Valyrian is super light.”

  • Also, the ripple patterns of Valyrian steel suggest that

  • it has been pattern welded, or folded.

  • This isn’t a sign of superb quality and strength.

  • It’s actually a way of compensating for poor materials

  • and trying to make a good steel out of two bad ones.

  • If the folding is done correctly,

  • you don’t have visible ripples either.

  • So that’s out.

  • Does that mean that Valyrian steel isn’t steel at all?

  • Ryan: “Maybe…..The best possible match would be

  • a metal matrix composite, which is a modern

  • super-material that has a metallic

  • framework embedded with ceramics.

  • One of these could provide all of the extreme

  • characteristics needed for Valyrian steel.

  • A titanium/silicon-carbide composite

  • seems like a perfect fit.

  • It has all the strengths, weight and color and

  • if the metal matrix isn’t perfectly consistent,

  • there can be swirls of varied shades

  • of grey running through the blade.

  • These sorts of composites are extremely difficult

  • to make and would require some serious

  • modern equipment to produce.

  • Needless to say, the Valyrians likely used magic.”

  • So there you have it folks,

  • Valyrian steel could very well be a

  • precursor to a modern super material.

  • But the fictional blades are likely

  • more alchemy than chemistry.

  • If you liked this video, make sure to check out

  • this other one that talks about a particular

  • poison used in the series called the Strangler.

  • Also check down in the video description

  • for a link to Ryan’s fantastic blog.

  • Thanks for watching folks, hit the subscribe

  • button there, and well see you again very soon.

While all the Game of Thrones maniacs

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Game of Thrones Science: Sword Making and Valyrian Steel

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    justbeyourself posted on 2015/04/17
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