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An alloy of iron and carbon first made during the Iron Age by the carburization of wrought iron. For this, strips of iron were gently heated to around 800°C together with charcoal. Carbon diffuses into the surface of the metal to make steel, but its penetration is limited, so only thin strips can be made in this way. To make a large tool or weapon it is possible to forge strips of steel together; from the later 1st millennium ad, however, this could be achieved by pattern‐welding.

Subjects: History.

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