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Thread: Depleted Uranium Blade

  1. #1
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    Depleted Uranium Blade


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    Would it be possible to make a blade out of depleted uranium rounds? Then forge the rounds together. Supposedly itís no longer radioactive. Seems like it would hold an edge very well. But this is just hypothetical since the government isnít handing out depleted uranium rounds.

  2. #2
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    Please have a legion of doctors document your health as you forge and and grind a heavy metal. We are always in need of more case studies of heavy metal exposure.

  3. #3
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    uh... radiation is bad.

  4. #4
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    I know its bad but would it be possilbe

  5. #5
    I think they should make blades out of unobtainium they would be as hard as a dimond but be bendable and never chip oh, and it would glow-in-the-dark it would be tact"kewl".

    As to Depleted Uranium supposedly no longer being radioactive, the half life of Depleted uranium is 4.5 billion years so I would not what a neck knife made from it. LOL

  6. #6
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    sure, its possible if you have, like, a full Rad suit you wear for grinding, carrying, touching, oiling (wonder if it would sizzle the oil right off?) fondling and cutting stuff.

  7. #7
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    Not sure what its edge-holding ability would be like...

    "The hardness of the projectile core is 48 and 49 HR measured by the ROCKWELL method..." from http://www.tenc.net/news/vincha.htm

    Another interesting line, on a side note: "In contact with the rounds, because of the presence of radioactive radiation, skin changes may occur (necrosis and ulceration) which can be visibly manifested in something less than 80 hours."

  8. #8
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    The melling point of uranium is 1132 C, so that is not difficult to obtain. The hardness is not terrible. But its density is really unsuitable for such a tool, as to match the strength of steel you need to have a bigger cross section, and its density is already 2.3 times that of steel.

  9. #9
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    Depleted uranium is still radioactive, but not as radioactive as raw uranium from the ground, or fuel for nuclear reactors or weapons. Uranium enrichment separates the uranium isotope U-235 (more radioactive, lower concentration, stuff that is easily fissile) from U-238 (less radioactive, most of the isolated uranium, can be turned into plutonium but otherwise doesn't go boom).

    I'm not sure if forging would be a good idea. Some metals (aluminum, titanium) burn when exposed to oxygen at high temps. That's why you have to MIG or TIG weld these metals - you use an inert gas environment so there's no oxygen around to burn. I think uranium works in similar fashion. This is an asset in anti-tank rounds, where the uranium sabot is self sharpening - as it bores through the armor plate, bits of the metal flake off and ignite. You basically shower the inside of the tank with little flaming chunks of metal. Unfortunately, I don't think this self-sharpening effect works at normal chopping velocities.

    Also, I'm not sure if the properties of uranium would be useful for a knife. It is very dense, even moreso than lead. I think (but could be wrong) that uranium is soft, similar to lead. OK, nevermind. Apparently, uranium is significantly harder than steel, similar to tungsten. Presumably if it could be made tough enough, it would hold a decent edge. Given that info, I would think uranium would perform similarly to tungsten. However, much more metallurgical work has been done on steel than either tungsten or uranium, so things like specific alloys and heat treating procedures would have to be developed.

    Here's a link where I found the hardness info. It's also a good review of the other issues I discussed, like radioactivity of U235 vs. U238, and incendiary properties:

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/bunker-buster.htm

  10. #10
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    Is this a serious thread ?


    Seriously... ?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tohatchi NM
    ... that uranium is soft, similar to lead. OK, nevermind. Apparently, uranium is significantly harder than steel, similar to tungsten.
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/bunker-buster.htm
    I don't think that informatin is correct. That site (as well as Wiki) cites Webelements, which cites....? Most references place uranium softer than steel. Intuitively it makes sense.

  12. #12
    Uranium is a fairly soft metal, much softer than hardened steel so aside from the health hazards, this is a really dumb idea. This is a really strange thread, so I got another one for you: Why is no one making blades out of Rhodium? It is much harder than hardened steel, takes a really nices shine, is very corrosion resistant and not as brittle (though not as hard either) as Iridium? Seems like the ideal material, doesn't it?

    .....Maybe it is because Rhodium is about 8 times more expensive than gold and 3.5 times more expensive than Platinum....

  13. #13
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    It would have edge retention a bit below a sharpened cast iron pipe. Seriously, if you could swing it up around 6000 fps at impact, it would have awesome penetration.
    Last edited by Broos; 08-23-2006 at 05:49 PM. Reason: grammer?

  14. #14
    Ok I searched around a bit and to my surprise it is indeed possible to get Uranium with alloying metals very hard. Hard enough for a blade. The best link I found is this one (hope the link works):
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/...f%20Uranium%22

    However, it is improtant not to mistake strength for hardness or the other way round. By the way, neat Uranium is as soft as lead.

    Yes the link works at least on my computer (is a PDF file).

  15. #15
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    i'm thinking the weight alone would make it bad

  16. #16
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    Thanks guys for the input. And I was serious about asking the question.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoB
    The best link I found is this one (hope the link works):
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/...f%20Uranium%22
    These alloys are listed in the hardness (Rockwell A) of 50's, 60's, and low 70's. The 50's are below 20 on Rockwell C, while the the low 70's correspond to the 40's on Rockwell C. But the yield strengths attainable, for instance 30 kpsi, is comparable to hardened steel.
    Last edited by kel_aa; 08-23-2006 at 07:06 PM.

  18. #18
    Kel_aa Sorry, yes I didn't read that right. You are correct of course. On the other hand this is 1940ies research. I would expect they made some progess since then. I stumbled across a few posts on an unnamed mailing list/forum that was talking about penetrator tips for bombs and shells made from Uranium alloys, and compared them to Tungsten carbide that would be in the 2000 Vickers range. I don't know how true this is. For armor piercing ammunition apparently the Uranium is kept soft so that it "sticks to and deforms on the armor focussing the energy of the projectile behind the Uranium".....again a source that I am not entirely sure about. I am inclined to believe some of the claims but I am reluctant to swallow it hook and sinker.

  19. #19
    Uranium was tested for use as an advanced interchangeable insert for metal cutting tooling in the cold war era. Tungsten carbide won the race, but if I remember correctly, uranium was technically superior, but was dismissed due to health concerns. If you made a knife out of uranium carbide, it would be an interesting show piece, but probably just as impractical as tungsten carbide blades.

    Either way, I'm sure it would work fine, and would be safe to use in knife applications. The reason uranium tooling was considered dangerous for machinists was because they would be using it 8 hours a day at speeds and temperatures large enough to put uranium residue everywhere, including the air. A show piece knife would not be hazardous that way, and might actually turn out to be useful somehow, once its capabilities and limitations are figured out, versus other insane alternatives (corundum, glass, flint, etc).

  20. #20
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    As a Gulf War tank crewman--When we got to the Persian Gulf they added a extra DU plates on the front slope of the hull and on front of our turrets. DU is radioactive or so we were told at the time.

    The use of DU in munitions is controversial because of questions about potential long-term health effects. Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and numerous other systems can be affected by uranium exposure, because uranium is a toxic metal. It is weakly radioactive and remains so because of its long radioactive half-life (4.468 billion).

    If that is the same DU......
    "Sometimes, I guess there just aren't enough rocks"

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