More about Carbon V

Mar 29, 1999
From time to time it seems it comes back the old question: " What kind of steel is Carbon V?".

Just to join the crew, let me post my "solution".

When I was a student ad the University, I was following some lectures on Scanning Electonic Microscopy applied on Semiconductor and Integrated Circuit Manufacturing. The man who was keeping these lectures was an engineer from a well-known industry (because what I am going to say can be a little "sensible" and "reserved", I am not going to give any name).

He said they were able to find very useful informations about semiconductors of other company following this method: they placed the junction they wanted to "discover" the secrets in the Electronic Microscope, then, by a quite strong electron beam, "peeled" away layers of the diode or the transistor. It was possible to gather the atoms "peeled" away, discovering the "ingredients" used in the semiconductor, to analyze very precise sections of the diode.

In this way they were able to detect a very interesting layer of Yttrium in some laser diodes of a competitor.

So, if so many people want to know what alloy Carbon V is, why don't you put a Carbon V blade in a Scanning Electronic Microscope and then count down the atoms of Iron, Carbon, Chromium and the like the blade is made with?

You will not find out anything about heat treatment, but you can have a very precise idea of the alloy. Moreover, you can find out the structure of that steel, the grain and the like, by the image of the blade.

Please note that this can be an illegal way to discover secrets of another firm, but it can be used for academic purpose. And I think that someone already could have done this, it isn't a very new method.

It is a very long time I cannot access a Scannig Electronic Microscope, otherwise I would have done it myself.


P.S.: it can be done to INFI steel too, to anything worth this quite costly procedure.
You can do better with an X-ray fluorescence or X-ray diffraction device than an SEM or a TEM. But I don't think that our simple curiosity, or the technology involved in making Carbon V or any other knife-application steel alloys is worth the hassle.
A more exacting method would be to vaporize a piece of Carbon V in a spectagragh and then read off the elements as they register by their spectra. -Brian
Yes, there are some interesting methods to obtain an analisys of a metal, a rock, a piece of silicon and the like, but it happened I had a SEM that I could use. Moreover a SEM has the possibility to "take" atoms in very precise positions, using the electron beam like a probe.
And it seems to me quite easy to but a blade in the SEM and look at it.
I didn't want to give the "SOLUTION", only suggest a quite "cheap" way to all the guys who are posting on it. When I was at the University, we put the strangest things in the SEM to test it and to enjoy ourselves.