Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 21

The /974 Distinguished Lectureship in Materials and Society

Metallurgy as a Human Experience

CYRIL STANLEY

SMITH

The entire history of materials


is examined with emphasis upon the structural
differences
at stages of discovery, development and mature adjustment in analogy with the S-curve of
a phase change. The earliest discovery of almost all useful materials
or techniques occ u r r e d in m a k i n g d e c o r a t i v e o b j e c t s . A l l o y i n g , s h a p i n g a n d w e l d i n g t e c h n i q u e s b e g a n i n
jewelry and sculpture; crystallization,
spinodal transformation,
and interface energy equilibr/um were sensitively
u s e d in c e r a m i c g l a z e s ; o r i e n t a l l a c q u e r a n d c e l l u l o i d t r i n k e t s
are precursors
of the plastic industry.
Far from being an applied science, practice in
materials
was far in advance of physical and chemical theory until less than a century
ago, and even today intuitive understanding
cannot be disregarded.
The alchemists
built
their mystic concepts upon the coloring techniques of ancient artisans.
Chemistry
came
from dying, pot making and particularly
the quantitative separatory
reactions of the assayer.
But, once developed, science became highly effective in controlling and improving
industrial practice.
T h e d i s c o v e r y o f e l e c t r i c i t y g a v e a n e w t y p e of p r o p e r t y t o b e s t u d i e d ,
and the richness of today's approach to materials
came from the subsequent joining of the
physicist's
approach with the other threads that had been maturing through the ages. Techn o l o g i c a l c h a n g e a l t e r s t h e p a t t e r n s o f h u m a n i n t e r a c t i o n a n d it u n d e r l i e s m o s t s o c i a l u p heavals.
Technology is a rich part of the human experience
a n d it d e s e r v e s f a r m o r e a t tention than it has hitherto received by historians.

Dr, Cyril Stanley Smith came to the United States from England in 1924,
following his graduation from the University of Birmingham. He took his graduate
work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1927 he joined the metallurgical
staff of American Brass Company and organized a research department which provided the tonic that was needed by the brass indust,;y at ~ a t time.
As an avocation he translated, in collaboration with Martha Teach Gnudi, the
Italian foundryman Biringuccio's "Pirotechnia," a work antedating Agricola and
mote original.
In 1942 Dr. Smith went to Washington as research supervisor of the War Metallurgy Committee. In 1943 he went to the newly forming Los Alamos Laboratory
of the Manhattan District, to take charge of the metallurgical end of designing
and building the atomic bomb.
Dr. Smith left Los Alarnos at the beginning of 1946 to found the Institute for
the Study of Metals at the University of Chicago and to serve as its Director and
Professor of Metallurgy, Under his leadership this Institute became one of the
outstanding research organizations of the nation. His researches on intercrystalline
interfaces and the influence of interface energy and topology on the structure of
polycrystalline materials have become an essential part of the science of metallography.
METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

Dr. Smith returned to MIT as art Institute Professor in 1961. His joint appointment in the Metallurgy and Humanities Departments reflected the basic change in
direction his research was to take. His Professorship of the History of Technology
and Science expressed the cutm~at~on of a long and deep commitment to the
humanistic aspects of technology and he was being recognized not only as a distinguished metallurgist but as an historian, and, above all, as a humanist. His most
important contribution to the history of technology from the point of view of his
students and colleagues has beer~ his insistence upon understanding technologies
from the inside, not by reading about them but by becoming immersed in the
materials and processes that make them what they are.
At MIT, Dr. Smith founded the Labocatory for Research on Archaeological
Materials where archaeologists and materials scientists can study the technologies
of ancient societies through the examination of their material remains. His unique
ability to blend a deep appreciation for the aesthetic side of man, an historian's
insight into the way in which technologies unfold, and a scientists's delight ha the
structure and properties of materials have inspired all those who have had the good
fortune to work closely with him. Dr. Smith is now Emeritus Professor,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1 9 7 5 - 6 0 3

IN

this l e c t u r e I p r o p o s e r a t h e r h a s t i l y to s u r v e y the
ways in which m a t e r i a l s have h i s t o r i c a l l y i n t e r a c t e d
with h u m a n b e h a v i o r and social s t r u c t u r e s . The t h e m e
is a complex one, involving e v e r y t h i n g f r o m an i n d i v i d u a l ' s using his hands to make some thing of b e a u t y
or utility, his growing i n t e l l e c t u a l o r d e r i n g of the world
about him, and the use of m a t e r i a l s in the c o m m u n i c a tion of ideas, as the b a s i s of c o m m e r c e , and in the e n v i r o n m e n t which s u s t a i n s life and society.
Because of the i n c o n s p i c u o u s ubiquity of m a t e r i a l s
and the c o n s t a n c y of t h e i r individual p r o p e r t i e s they
s e r v e as a fine touchstone to r e v e a l m a n ' s individual
and s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Nothing can be m o r e h u m a n than taking delight in an object such as a blue
stone or a bit of m a l l e a b l e p o l i s h a b l e r e d native copp e r , or than the i n t e l l e c t u a l feat of e s t a b l i s h i n g a r e l a t i o n between the two v i a pyroteehnology, or than, in
a different s p h e r e , exchanging the p r a c t i c a l r e s u l t s of
this knowledge for food and so p r o v i d i n g another b a s i s
for s o c i a l cohesion.
The long sweep of m a t e r i a l h i s t o r y b e g i n s with the
d i s c o v e r y of the e x i s t e n c e of useful p r o p e r t i e s , which
involves a r t ; then the p r o d u c t i o n of things in q u a n t i t i e s to match known needs, which r e q u i r e s i n d u s t r i a l
and social o r g a n i z a t i o n of different types at different
t i m e s ; and, v e r y r e c e n t l y , the d e v e l o p m e n t of a s c i e n c e
that p e r m i t s the s e l e c t i o n of a c h e m i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n
and the m a n i p u l a t i o n of s t r u c t u r e at m a n y l e v e l s in o r d e r to achieve an o p t i m a l b a l a n c e of those p r o p e r t i e s
that a r e r e q u i r e d in any p a r t i c u l a r application.
In only a s m a l l p a r t of h i s t o r y has i n d u s t r y b e e n
helped by s c i e n c e . The d e v e l o p m e n t of a s u i t a b l e s c i ence began when c h e m i s t s put into r a t i o n a l o r d e r facts
that had b e e n d i s c o v e r e d long before by people who e n joyed e m p i r i c a l d i v e r s e e x p e r i m e n t . The change to an
e s s e n t i a l l y a t o m i s t i c p h y s i c a l approach, so productive
in the p r e s e n t c e n t u r y , has left untouched m a n y p r o b l e m s too complex for d i s s e c t i o n , and one can see in
the work of t o d a y ' s m a t e r i a l s e n g i n e e r s a t r e n d toward
a c o n s c i o u s a p p r e c i a t i o n of the need of an ecological
b a l a n c e b e t w e e n m a n y d i f f e r e n t m o t i v a t i o n s and s l a n t s
of mind.
I s h a l l s a y l i t t l e about the i n d u s t r i a l and c o m m e r cial s i d e s of the field, not b e c a u s e I u n d e r e s t i m a t e
t h e i r e s s e n t i a l and d o m i n a n t r o l e throughout h i s t o r y
as in the p r e s e n t world, but b e c a u s e other l e c t u r e r s
in this s e r i e s 1 have dealt with these a s p e c t s far m o r e
a u t h o r i t a t i v e l y than I can, and b e c a u s e m y n a t u r a l
s y m p a t h i e s a r e with the t e n t a t i v e b e g i n n i n g s of new
viewpoints r a t h e r than with t h e i r t r i u m p h a n t s u c c e s s .
My a p p r e c i a t i o n of the honor in b e i n g asked to add r e s s this joint m e e t i n g of the m e t a l l u r g i c a l s o c i e t i e s
of the United States is heightened by the r e c o l l e c t i o n
that it is e x a c t l y fifty y e a r s ago that, as a naive s t u dent i m m i g r a n t , I attended, in Boston, m y f i r s t m e e t ing of the A m e r i c a n Society for Steel T r e a t i n g , as the
ASM was then called. This s o c i e t y and the AIME t o g e t h e r have p r o v i d e d m o s t of m y p r o f e s s i o n a l i n s p i r a tion as I moved f r o m a c a d e m i c to i n d u s t r i a l s c i e n c e
and back to a c a d e m i a a f t e r a t a s t e of g o v e r n m e n t a l
i n v o l v e m e n t . What a h a l f - c e n t u r y this has b e e n ! As
an u n d e r g r a d u a t e I had to decide whether to e n r o l l as
a f e r r o u s or a n o n f e r r o u s m e t a l l u r g i s t ; I h e a r d little
about c e r a m i c s and nothing w h a t e v e r about p o l y m e r s .
The c u r r i c u l u m , though r e f i n e d in detail, had p r e t t y
much the s a m e a i m as the eighteenth c e n t u r y c o u r s e s
604-VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975

in the m i n i n g a c a d e m y in F r e i b e r g and the l~cole des


Mines in P a r i s . T o d a y ' s student m a y call h i m s e l f a
s c i e n t i s t or an e n g i n e e r , but he is always a little of
both, and he is i n t r o d u c e d to all m a t e r i a l s c o m p a r a tively. In h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e one can see that the
r e c e n t changes a r e s i m p l y a r e s u l t of the coming t o gether of s t r e a m s of h u m a n e x p e r i e n c e , both p r a c t i c a l
and i n t e l l e c t u a l , that have b e e n m a t u r i n g i n d e p e n d e n t l y
of each other for a v e r y long t i m e .
P r o f e s s i o n a l i s m in m a t e r i a l s , until v e r y r e c e n t l y ,
m e a n t f a c i l i t a t i n g and cheapening the l a r g e s c a l e p r o duction of one or a n o t h e r of t h e m . Yet, it all s t a r t e d
m i l l e n i a ago with an i n t e r e s t in the p r o p e r t i e s of m a t e r i a l s without r e g a r d to t h e i r type, and the r e c e n t
shift of the c e n t e r of s c i e n t i f i c i n t e r e s t to p r o p e r t i e s
is a n a t u r a l r e t u r n . Which is not to say that the o r ganized s e a r c h for raw m a t e r i a l s and efficient ways
of getting them to the u s e r is not just as i m p o r t a n t as
it e v e r has been.
During the l a s t t h r e e thousand y e a r s a r e l a t i v e l y
few g e n e r a l - p u r p o s e m a t e r i a l s s e r v e d n e a r l y all app l i c a t i o n s . M a t e r i a l s of g e n e r a l types used today (except in e l e c t r o n i c a p p l i c a t i o n s ) were d i s c o v e r e d well
b e f o r e 1000 B.C. A few c o m p o s i t i o n s in each c l a s s
were s e l e c t e d , and they were those that w e r e i n s e n s i tive to abuse in both f a b r i c a t i o n and in s e r v i c e . They
functioned well enough to be l a r g e l y taken for g r a n t e d
and the c h a l l e n g i n g p r o b l e m s lay in cheapening them
and extending the s c a l e of t h e i r m a n u f a c t u r e . In the
e n t i r e p e r i o d f r o m C l a s s i c a l t i m e s to the end of the
n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y innovation in m a t e r i a l s lay m a i n l y
in p r o d u c t i o n and in application. The only novelty as
f a r as p r o p e r t i e s were c o n c e r n e d lay in the s t a n d a r d i zation and p r a c t i c a l c o n t r o l of t h e i r c o m p o s i t i o n and
t r e a t m e n t , and in the fact that the w e l l - k n o w n r e a c tions and p r o p e r t i e s s e r v e d r e p e a t e d l y to incite a d v a n c e s in s c i e n t i f i c t h e o r y . At l e a s t in our a r e a , s c i ence a r o s e f r o m a p r e h i s t o r y in p r a c t i c e far m o r e
often than p r a c t i c e benefited f r o m the a p p l i c a t i o n of
theory. The f u t u r e will be d i f f e r e n t . [But we should
not overlook that m e a n i n g s of words change with t i m e ,
and the h u m a n a c t i v i t y that today we i s o l a t e and call
s c i e n c e found d i f f e r e n t outlets in e a r l i e r t i m e s . The
a l e r t e m p i r i c a l e x p e r i m e n t e r who, for e x a m p l e , d i s c o v e r e d the f i r s t useful alloy (of copper and a r s e n i c )
and used it to c a s t a s m a l l statuette to delight his
o v e r l o r d p e r h a p s has as much c l a i m to be called a
s c i e n t i s t as the m o d e r n t h e o r i s t who e l u c i d a t e s the
band s t r u c t u r e of alloys and u s e s it to get a c a d e m i c
promotion! ]
Most d i s c o v e r i e s have been made in r e a l s y s t e m s ,
not the idealized ones of exact theory. With v e r y few
but s t a g g e r i n g l y i m p o r t a n t exceptions, s c i e n c e has
b e e n the explanation of things a l r e a d y known. Of
c o u r s e , when the e x p l a n a t i o n is on a b a s i c enough
l e v e l to r e v e a l the c o m m o n f a c t o r s in d i v e r s e s i t u a tions, it is e n o r m o u s l y helpful to the p r a c t i c a l m a n in
r e f i n i n g and c o n t r o l l i n g his o p e r a t i o n s . The few v a r i e t i e s of i r o n and s t e e l of e m p i r i c a l days could not have
b e c o m e the n e a r l y 300 v a r i e t i e s of SAE s t e e l s without
c o n t r o l b a s e d on both c h e m i c a l and p h y s i c a l concepts.
This indeed is applied s c i e n c e . It is a p r e r e q u i s i t e of
the s o c i a l u s e f u l n e s s of our p r o f e s s i o n , but it is not
the way to new knowledge. The popular i m p r e s s i o n of
" p u r e " s c i e n c e d i s c o v e r i n g things that a r e e l a b o r a t e d
and put to p r a c t i c e is, to my mind, v e r y r a r e l y t r u e .
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

D i s c o v e r y i s quite d i f f e r e n t f r o m u n d e r s t a n d i n g . A
good t h e o r y , indeed, t e n d s to close r a t h e r than to open
the m i n d to unexpected phenomena. Science is much
m o r e than d i s c o v e r y , and so is p r a c t i c e .
THE STRUCTURE OF CHANGE
Much of the i n t e r e s t in our p r o f e s s i o n lies in the
i n t e r p l a y of l e v e l s . C e r t a i n l y , s o m e f a m i l i a r i t y with
atomic n u c l e i and e l e c t r o n s is needed, but, s i n c e m a t e r i a l s make all things p o s s i b l e , m e n with knowledge
of both old and new and p o s s i b l e m a t e r i a l s a r e also in
contact with the m o s t i m p o r t a n t s o c i a l p r o b l e m s at any
p e r i o d . I n t i m a t e l y so in r e l a t i o n to w a r f a r e , t r a v e l ,
c o m m u n i c a t i o n and the like, m o r e p e r i p h e r a l l y so in
p o l i t i c s - - b u t c o n s i d e r the i m p o r t a n c e of raw m a t e r i a l s and of r e f u s e in world and u r b a n p o l i t i c s , and
even the r o l e of s t r i p s of p o l y m e r i m p r e g n a t e d with
m a g n e t i c p a r t i c l e s in r e c e n t A m e r i c a n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l
debates. T h e r e is no lack of p e r t i n e n c e at any l e v e l
b e t w e e n i n t e r a t o m i c f o r c e s and global a f f a i r s . Mater i a l s a r e indeed the e n a b l e r s of e v e r y t h i n g , like the
e l e c t r o n i t s e l f but o p e r a t i n g at a l e v e l that is m o r e
complexly structured.
Though any one m a n by the l i m i t a t i o n s of his n a t u r e
or his o p p o r t u n i t i e s m u s t p e r f o r c e i g n o r e m o s t of
what m a n k i n d as a whole k n o w s - - a n d , indeed, he m u s t
s p e c i a l i z e if he is to be at all effective in his w o r k - he m i s s e s much if he is not at the s a m e t i m e a w a r e
of things beyond the b o u n d a r i e s of his s p e c i a l i s m .
This s u r e l y is the m e a n i n g of the r e p o r t of the r e c e n t
A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s ' COSMAT c o m m i t t e e 2 u n d e r the
c h a i r m a n s h i p of P r o f e s s o r M o r r i s Cohen. With all
the difficulty that the c o m m i t t e e e v i d e n t l y had in d e fining its l i m i t s , t h e r e r e a l l y is a field of " M a t e r i a l s
Science and E n g i n e e r i n g " .
A connected field, s c i e n c e a n d e n g i n e e r i n g ; m o r e o v e r - - a n d this is n e w - - a field e n c o m p a s s i n g all mate~
r i a l s within its b o u n d a r i e s . Such g e n e r a l i t y would
have b e e n unworkable not long ago, but, b e c a u s e of
s c i e n c e , deep s p e c i a l i z a t i o n can now be achieved w i t h out l o s s of sight of b r o a d e r i n t e r c o n n e c t e d n e s s within
a f r a m e w o r k that o v e r e m p h a s i z e s n e i t h e r s c i e n c e n o r
p r a c t i c e to the e x c l u s i o n of the other. We now have
m o s t of the b r i c k s we need and can s t a r t the c o n s t r u c tion of an m a s t e r edifice with c o m m u n i c a t i n g c o r r i d o r s and with c o m m u n a l work space to r e p l a c e the i n dividual huts in which we have s e p a r a t e l y lived in the
past.
E v e r y o n e has h e a r d of the concept of the Ages of
Man b a s e d upon m a t e r i a l s : the Golden and Silver Ages
of the G r e e k s ; the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages of the
a r c h a e o l o g i s t . (Oddly, t h e s e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s do not i n clude, as they should, a c e r a m i c age; and one has to
move to the Chinese p h i l o s o p h e r ' s five e l e m e n t s for
any s c h o l a r l y acknowledgment of the r o l e of n a t u r a l
o r g a n i c p o l y m e r s , the use of which p r e s u m a b l y p r e ceded shaped stone.) Best known, p e r h a p s , of all c a s e s
in which m a t e r i a l s have e n a b l e d or even p r e c i p i t a t e d
s o c i a l change is the use of m e t a l s in w a r f a r e . But
m a t e r i a l s also affect the way m e n think. Not only v i a
s p e c t a c u l a r s such as the r e c e n t moon landings, which
cannot help but change m a n ' s view of h i m s e l f as p r o foundly as did the conceptual s u n - c e n t e r e d a s t r o n o m y
of C o p e r n i c u s , but also through the m a t e r i a l s with
which an a r t i s t works, or the pen and b r u s h , the clay,
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

p a p y r u s , v e l l u m , p a p e r , inks and type m e t a l which so


g r e a t l y e n l a r g e d c o m m u n i c a t i o n before s o l i d - s t a t e
s e m i c o n d u c t o r s p a r t l y took o v e r . E v e r y one of t h e s e
had a v i t a l r o l e in h i s t o r y and e v e r y one was the r e sult of i m a g i n a t i v e e m p i r i c a l s e l e c t i o n and l a b o r i o u s
development.
T h e s e and h u n d r e d s m o r e m a t e r i a l s and uses grew
s y m b i o t i c a l l y through h i s t o r y , in a m a n n e r somewhat
analogous to the S - c u r v e of a phase t r a n s f o r m a t i o n in
the m a t e r i a l s t h e m s e l v e s . T h e r e was the stage, i n v i s ible except in r e t r o s p e c t , w h e r e i n f l u c t u a t i o n s f r o m
the s t a t u s q u o involving only s m a l l l o c a l i z e d d i s t o r t i o n
began to i n t e r a c t and c o n s o l i d a t e into a new s t r u c t u r e :
this n u c l e u s then grew in a m o r e or l e s s c o n s t a n t e n v i r o n m e n t at an i n c r e a s i n g r a t e b e c a u s e of the i n c r e a s ing i n t e r f a c i a l opportunity, u n t i l f i n a l l y its growth was
slowed and stopped e i t h e r by depletion of m a t e r i a l n e c e s s a r y for growth, or by the growing c o u n t e r - p r e s s u r e
of other a s p e c t s of the e n v i r o n m e n t . Any change in conditions ( t h e r m o d y n a m i c = social) m a y provide an o p p o r tunity for a new phase. We all know how the s u p e r p o s i tion of m a n y s m a l l s e q u e n t i a l S - c u r v e s t h e m s e l v e s
tend to add up the giant S - c u r v e of that new and
l a r g e r s t r u c t u r e which we call c i v i l i z a t i o n , and we
a r e b e g i n n i n g to wonder what new s t r u c t u r e can be
n u c l e a t e d to p r e v e n t decay. The t e r m i n a t i o n of one
S - c u r v e m a r k s the l i m i t of growth of one idea or
s t r u c t u r e ; the c o n t i n u a t i o n of the envelope m a r k s the
growth of a s u p e r s t r u c t u r e , i n c o r p o r a t i n g and m o d i fying the p r e v i o u s s t a g e s within a l a r g e r o r g a n i z a t i o n .
Because at any one t i m e t h e r e a r e m a n y o v e r l a p p i n g
competing s u b s y s t e m s at d i f f e r e n t stages of m a t u r i t y
but each c o n t i n u a l l y changing the e n v i r o n m e n t of the
o t h e r s , it is often h a r d to see what is going on. M o r e over, n u c l e a t i o n m u s t in p r i n c i p l e be i n v i s i b l e , for the
g e r m s of the f u t u r e take t h e i r v a l i d i t y only f r o m and
in a l a r g e r s y s t e m that has yet to exist. They a r e at
f i r s t i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e f r o m m e r e foolish f l u c t u a t i o n s
d e s t i n e d to be e r a s e d . They b e g i n in opposition to
t h e i r e n v i r o n m e n t , but on r e a c h i n g m a t u r i t y they f o r m
the new e n v i r o n m e n t by the b a l a n c e of t h e i r m u l t i p l e
i n t e r a c t i o n s . This change of s c a l e and i n t e r f a c e with
t i m e , of r a d i c a l m i s f i t t u r n i n g into c o n s e r v a t i v e i n t e r lock, is the e s s e n c e of the h i s t o r y of anything w h a t e v e r , m a t e r i a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l or s o c i a l . Our p r o f e s s i o n a l job as e n g i n e e r s is m a i n l y to f a c i l i t a t e the
stage of growth, w h e r e ends and m e a n s a r e both v i s ible, if i n d i s t i n c t l y .
The " n e w l e v e l of s t r u c t u r e , " so often r e f e r r e d to,
is r e a l l y the d i s c o v e r y of a new i n t e r d e p e n d e n c e b e tween p a r t s , which r e q u i r e s a m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a tion having a c o m p l e x i t y c o m m e n s u r a t e with that of
the p a r t s . The unity should not be c a l l e d a s y n t h e s i s ;
no useful s t r u c t u r e r e s u l t s f r o m putting together u n changing p a r t s : each p a r t is i n f l u e n c e d by its n e i g h b o r s and all p a r t s change as the new s t r u c t u r e finds
its own v a l i d i t y through t h e s e i n t e r a c t i o n s .
DISCOVERY IN ART
The h i s t o r y of m a t e r i a l s shows this p a t t e r n of c o m plex growth. The e a r l i e s t r e c o r d s of m a n a r e tools
c r u d e l y fashioned f r o m stone. T h e s e tools, of c o u r s e ,
r e p r e s e n t only the u n d e c a y a b l e p a r t s of the m a t t e r that
he utilized. I would like to b e l i e v e that the f i r s t move
t o w a r d c i v i l i z a t i o n was a genetic m u t a t i o n that e n VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975-605

hanced m a n ' s capacity for s h a r i n g the e n j o y m e n t of


his e n v i r o n m e n t , and the active c u r i o s i t y that this e n gendered. The e a r l i e s t a r c h a e o l o g i c a l evidence for
the i n t e n t i o n a l m o d i f i c a t i o n of the p r o p e r t i e s of m a t t e r - - t h e h a r d e n i n g of clay by f i r e - - i s not a useful tool
or weapon but a s m a l l s t a t u e t t e , the " V e n u s " of V e s t r o n i e e . (Fig. 1) T h e r e a f t e r the f i r s t a p p e a r a n c e of a l m o s t all a r t i f i c i a l m a t e r i a l s and of t r e a t m e n t s to adjust t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s or shapes to specific uses appear
f i r s t in o b j e c t s of art, or at l e a s t in objects of c e r e mony in which u t i l i t y r e s i d e s in t h e i r a e s t h e t i c o v e r tones. This p e r s i s t s well into the 19th c e n t u r y , when
a r t for the m a s s e s continued to i n s p i r e m a n y new
fabrication techniques.
Until v e r y r e c e n t l y people doing the s e r i o u s work
of the world have not e x p e r i m e n t e d but have used only
methods of e s t a b l i s h e d r e l i a b i l i t y . D i s c o v e r y is l e s s
l i k e l y to o c c u r when people a r e d e s p e r a t e l y e a r n e s t
than when they a r e in a s e n s i t i v e , s o m e w h a t playful,
mood. The a r t i s t ' s s e n s i t i v i t y to color and t e x t u r e
n a t u r a l l y b r i n g s h i m into contact with m o r e p r o p e r t i e s of m a t e r i a l s than a r e e n c o u n t e r e d by the m a k e r
of useful objects. I have e l a b o r a t e d this viewpoint in
other p a p e r s ; 3 h e r e let me s i m p l y i l l u s t r a t e the t h e m e
by m e n t i o n i n g evidence for the a p p r e c i a t i o n , if not s c i entific u n d e r s t a n d i n g , of s o m e r a t h e r subtle a s p e c t s of
m a t e r i a l s m a n y c e n t u r i e s ago.
Fig. 2 shows one of the v e r y e a r l i e s t m e t a l a r t i f a c t s
known, a s m a l l pendant u s i n g the m a l l e a b i l i t y of native
copper and, of c o u r s e , its optical p r o p e r t i e s . Most of
m e t a l l u r g y , both alloying and heat t r e a t m e n t as well as
m e c h a n i c a l shaping, b e g a n in j e w e l r y . The bull f r o m
Horoztepe (Fig. 3) shows good c a s t i n g technique (probably lost-wax) but is e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g b e c a u s e of
the white d e c o r a t i v e bands which a r e of the i n t e r m e t a l l i c compound Cu3As produced by a c e m e n t a t i o n - d i f f u s i o n r e a c t i o n at about 400~
Diffusion is also i n volved in the famous r e d and black Greek p o t t e r y
(Fig. 4), for both c o l o r s a r e due to i r o n in the v e r y
fine g r a i n e d clay that was used, and both were black
d u r i n g the f i r s t stage of f i r i n g in a r e d u c i n g a t m o s p h e r e , but the black p a r t s w e r e applied in a clay that
contained a s m a l l addition of alkali and so, when the
f i r i n g ended u n d e r oxidizing conditions, the diffusion
of oxygen that c a u s e d r e d d e n i n g oxidation e l s e w h e r e
was l o c a l l y delayed in the m o r e v i t r e o u s s u b s t a n c e .
T r u e v i t r e o u s s i l i c a t e m a t e r i a l s had b e e n made as
g l a z e s 4000 y e a r s before this, at f i r s t by a kind of c e m e n t a t i o n r e a c t i o n b e t w e e n s i l i c a and p l a n t - a s h alkali,
and, l a t e r , by p r e m i x i n g the powdered components of a
s i l i c a t e g l a s s . T h e r e a f t e r i n n u m e r a b l e c o l o r s were
achieved by additions to the glaze of h e a v y m e t a l oxides, ( s o m e t i m e s p r e c i p i t a t e d in u n i f o r m colloidal d i s p e r s i o n by spinodal t r a n s f o r m a t i o n ) while a host of
d e c o r a t i v e t e x t u r e s were produced by the n u c l e a f i o n
and growth of c r y s t a l s as well as by local m o d i f i c a t i o n
of s u r f a c e c o n t o u r s though the effects of s u r f a c e t e n sion and v i s c o s i t y . Though m o s t of t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s
b e g a n in the Middle E a s t , c e r a m i c i n g e n u i t y and beauty
r e a c h e d an apex in Sung China. When l a t e r Chinese
and J a p a n e s e ware was i m p o r t e d into Europe it i n s p i r e d i n t e n s e c h e m i c a l and p y r o t e c h n o l o g i c a l e x p e r i m e n t (Fig. 5). Glass as an independent s u b s t a n c e
c a m e out of glaze in the t h i r d m i l l e n i u m B.C., and the
t e m p e r a t u r e / v i s c o s i t y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a m o r p h o u s
m a t e r i a l s w e r e f i r s t used d u r i n g the f i r s t c e n t u r y
606-VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975

B.C., in making blown g l a s s v e s s e l s . Strong m a t e r i als depending on the f o r m a t i o n of h y d r a t e d c r y s t a l s


f r o m p r e f i r e d c a l c a r e o u s rock, as in a m o d e r n c e ment, goes back to the d e c o r a t i v e uses of p l a s t e r in
floors and s c u l p t u r e in the ninth m i l l e n i u m B.C.
The superb heroic size statue of Poseidon (Fig. 6)
would have not been possible had not the founders discovered how to make strong welds, invisible after finishing, by running in moltenbronze to fuse and join
the edges of previously-cast pieces of smaller size
(Fig. 6(a)). The properties of cross-linked organic
polymers were used as a kind of paint early in the
Shang dynasty in China, and in thicker richer lacquer
ware by about 300 B.C. (Fig. 7).
Beyond question, the most skilled manipulationof
steel under the hammer as well as control of carbon
content, grain size and hardening of steel under differential cooling rates was that of the Japanese swordsmith, which reached its apex in the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries A.D. (Fig. 8).
THE BEGINNINGS OF A SCIENCE OF
MATERIALS
The artist is not conspicuous in materials development today: indeed he is far more likely to ask the
materials man for new substances to work with than
to give them. Discovery will continue to be motivated
by an essentially aesthetic curiosity, but those doing
it have moved from studio to laboratory. Perhaps the
greatest change lies in the patrons of discovery, for
their motives are no longer aesthetic, but are related
to profit, prestige or national security.
But discovery is only one aspect of man's interaction with materials. The materials profession has
been totally changed in the last half-century by the
scientific framework within which materials are understood. This strand of the story has two threads
both of which lead back to the opposing schools of
Greek philosophy in the fifth century B.C.--the emphasis on mathematical form and structure on the one
hand, or on more sensual tangible properties on the
other. Both have practical roots in workshop practice.
To r e a d A r i s t o t l e ' s account of m a t t e r in the Meteorologica is to walk with h i m through the a r t i s a n s ' q u a r t e r s , noting s t r e n g t h and w e a k n e s s , p l a s t i c i t y and b r i t t l e n e s s , the influence of heat in soaking, boiling and
m e l t i n g o p e r a t i o n s , and the g r e a t e r v i o l e n c e of the
m e t a l s m i t h ' s f i r e . One can see in his famous four
e l e m e n t s - - e a r t h , water, a i r and f i r e - - t h e b a s i c s t a t e s
of m a t t e r , solid, liquid and gas, which he supposed to
be v a r i o u s l y c o m b i n e d with e n e r g y to give the w o n d e r ful d i v e r s i t y of m a t e r i a l p r o p e r t i e s . D e m o c r i t u s b e fore h i m m u s t have b e e n aware of the a r t i s a n ' s f r a c t u r e t e s t which made v i s i b l e the v a r i a b l e g r a n u l a r i t y
of m a t e r i a l s , and he extended this g r a n u l a r i t y to the
s m a l l e r s c a l e of a t o m s to account for e v e r y t h i n g . Both
schools were on the r i g h t t r a c k , for m a t e r i a l s t a t e s
and p r o p e r t i e s r e s i d e in the a r r a n g e m e n t and i n t e r a c t i o n of a t o m s , but t h e i r r e c o n c i l i a t i o n was far in the
future. A r i s t o t l e ' s e l e m e n t a l q u a l i t i e s r e m a i n e d s u p r e m e , a l m o s t unquestioned, until the s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y when a r e v i v i n g a t o m i s m b e c a m e an i m p o r t a n t
p a r t of the new s c i e n t i f i c attitude. However, the g r e a t
a d v a n c e s that o c c u r r e d a r o u n d the m a t h e m a t i c a l m e t h ods of Galileo and Newton w e r e in fields w h e r e i n s t r u c METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975-607

t u r e was u n i m p o r t a n t . The new c o r p u s c u l a r philosophy


was not a m e n a b l e to q u a n t i t a t i v e study and the p h y s i c s
of s o l i d s c o n s i s t e d only of m e c h a n i c s ( e l a s t i c i t y and
k i n e t i c s ) until w e l l into the p r e s e n t c e n t u r y .

had b e e n m e t h o d i z e d and m a d e q u a n t i t a t i v e by the a s s a y e r s . The e a r l i e s t table of o r d e r e d c h e m i c a l a f f i n i t i e s (Fig. 10) is m a i n l y a g r a p h i c p r e s e n t a t i o n of r e -

MATERIALS, ALCHEMY, AND THE


CHEMICAL REVOLUTION
H i s t o r i c a l l y , though the r e v o l u t i o n in c h e m i s t r y was
d e l a y e d for a c e n t u r y a f t e r that in p h y s i c s , in the s c i entific a p p r o a c h to m a t e r i a l s c h e m i s t r y was f a r ahead
of p h y s i c s . B a s i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t in t u r n i n g c h e m i c a l
c u r i o s i t y into a s c i e n c e w e r e the new c r i t i c a l attitudes
of mind, but no l e s s i m p o r t a n t w e r e s o c i a l f a c t o r s , e s p e c i a l l y the new kinds of o r g a n i z a t i o n of i n d u s t r y and
c o m m e r c e . The o r g a n i z a t i o n of g r e a t m i n i n g e n t e r p r i s e s to exploit the e x t r a c t i o n of s i l v e r f r o m c o p p e r
by the ingenious liquation p r o c e s s m a d e a c c u r a t e a s s a y i n g i n e v i t a b l e . Rapidly expanding w o r l d t r a d e
brought new n a t u r a l and a r t i f i c i a l p r o d u c t s for E u r o pean c h e m i s t s to study, while the d i s c o v e r y of s i l v e r
m i n e s in the New World t u r n e d attention to a new m e t a l l u r g y using m e r c u r y , not f i r e . A c c e s s to t e c h n o l o g i e s that had d e v e l o p e d in r e l a t i v e independence in
o t h e r p a r t s of the w o r l d s t i m u l a t e d m a n y changes in
E u r o p e a n p h i l o s o p h i c a l , e c o n o m i c and s o c i a l thought.
When the c h e m i c a l r e v o l u t i o n did c o m e it was g r e a t l y
dependent on the m a t e r i a l s , t e c h n i q u e s and a p p a r a t u s
of p r a c t i c a l m e t a l w o r k e r s and c e r a m i s t s , as w e l l as
on the knowledge of the m a n y phase s e p a r a t i o n s used
in s m e l t i n g and r e f i n i n g m e t a l s , e s p e c i a l l y as t h e s e

Fig. 2--Copper pendant from Shanidar Cave, Northeast Iraq.


About 9500 B.C. Length 2.3 cm, thickness 0.3 cm. Shaped by
hammering a piece of native metal and finishing with abrasives. (It is completely mineralized and there is a slight possibility that it was originally simply carved from a lump of
malachite.) Courtesy Professor Ralph S. Solecki.
608-VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975

Fig. 3--Cast bronze bull from Horoztepe, Anatolia. About


2100 B.C., Length 12.2 cm. The uncorroded silvery band of
decoration is a copper-arsenic compound produced by a diffusion reaction at about 400~ Courtesy W. J. Young, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. For photomicrographs and discussion see The Application of Science in the Examination o f
Works o f Art, pp. 96-103, Boston 1973.

Fig. 4--Greek amphora with red figures on black background,


about 490 B.C. Height; 41.5 cm. Both colors are due to iron
in fine-grained clay, but the black, being slightly vitrified, r e mained in a reduced state as the red responded to a final oxidizing stage during firing. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
York, 56.171.38.
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONS A

Fig. 5--Porcelain cup of Japanese manufacture, (1700-1725, left) and a German copy (Meissen, 1730-1740). Much European
research on mineralogy and high temperature chemistry was done before it was possible to duplicate the oriental ware.
Courtesy Smithsonian Institution, Museum of History and Technology, Hans Sys Collection.
a c t i o n s that were well known to the s i x t e e n t h - c e n t u r y
a s s a y e r in which i m m i s c i b l e liquid p h a s e s w e r e f o r m e d
and the p a r t i t i o n of v a r i o u s m e t a l s between t h e m q u a n t i t a t i v e l y o b s e r v e d . The a n c i e n t p r o c e s s of c u p e l l a t i o n
made use of d i f f e r e n c e s in the o x i d i z a b i l i t y of base and
p r e c i o u s m e t a l s , the a b i l i t y of m o l t e n lead oxide to d i s solve the oxides of m o s t other m e t a l s , and the d i f f e r e n t
i n t e r f a c i a l e n e r g i e s of the p r o d u c t s which e n a b l e d b o n e ash to a b s o r b the oxides so as to leave the m e t a l as a
clean n e a r l y s p h e r i c a l bead. The p u r i f i c a t i o n of solid
gold by hot c e m e n t a t i o n or by cold p a r t i n g was p a r t i c u larly subtle.
The a s s a y e r ' s knowledge of the c o n s t a n c y of s o m e
things r e m a i n i n g unchanged through all t h e s e r e a c t i o n s
made the concept of a c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t e v e n t u a l l y i n e s c a p a b l e . The m e t a l l u r g i s t was c o m p l e t e l y f a m i l i a r
in p r a c t i c e with the r o l e played by a i r in c o m b u s t i o n
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

and in c a l c i n a t i o n , and he knew that g a s e s were often


evolved by the m i x t u r e s in his c r u c i b l e . He even knew
that c a l c e s (oxides) weighed m o r e than the m e t a l s that
gave r i s e to t h e m and to which they could r e v e r s i b l y
be reduced. But the m e t a l l u r g i s t did not put this into
t h e o r y : it needed m e n of a d i f f e r e n t s l a n t of mind to
see the u n d e r l y i n g m e a n i n g , to p e r c e i v e that s o m e thing in a i r was as r e a l a r e a c t a n t as the m e t a l s t h e m s e l v e s , and above all to r e g a r d p e r s i s t e n c e through
change as a b a s i c p r i n c i p l e .
It is i n t e r e s t i n g to r e a d the m i n u t e l y d e s c r i p t i v e a c counts by e a r l y w r i t e r s on a s s a y i n g - - L a z a r u s E r c k e r
(1574) is by f a r the b e s t - - a n d to note the complete a b s e n c e of any t h e o r y or even the apology for its a b s e n c e
which p r a c t i c a l w r i t e r s l a t e r felt c o m p e l l e d to make.
C o n v e r s e l y it is i n t e r e s t i n g to note the m i s u s e of e x p e r i m e n t , though not its d i s r e g a r d , by the t h e o r e t i c a l
VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975-609

!?~ii!!!84

~......

9 i!

Fig. 6--The Poseidon of Artemisium,


Bronze, 475 B.C. Lostwax casting in several parts, joined by welds produced by
running in metal of the same composition as the original.
6(a). Detail of weld in leg of Poseidon. (Photo by Arthur
Steinberg). Courtesy of National Museum
Athens.

w r i t e r s of the t i m e , the a l c h e m i s t s . Alchemy, the


" P r e l u d e to C h e m i s t r y , " as one of its l e a d i n g s t u dents has called it, c a m e to involve a w o n d e r f u l l y
i m a g i n a t i v e t r e a t m e n t of m y s t i c r e l a t i o n s between
the g r a n d e s t laws of the c o s m o s and an o b s e r v e d
m i c r o c o s m of color changes, phase s e p a r a t i o n s and
p r o p e r t y changes of the kind long used by s m i t h s ,
d y e r s and p o t t e r s . Needham 4 has made the i n t e r e s t ing d i s t i n c t i o n between the a i m s of " a u r i f i c t i o n " and
" a u r i f a c t i o n , " the f o r m e r being the production of
s i m u l a t e d gold by v a r i o u s alloying, gilding or c o l o r ing p r o c e s s e s in the workshop and the l a t t e r the high
610-VOLUME

6A,APRIL

1975

a i m of the a l c h e m i s t s , a f u n d a m e n t a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n .
He s u g g e s t s that i n d i v i d u a l s c o n c e r n e d with the two
a p p r o a c h e s , being of different s o c i a l c l a s s e s , would
have had little contact with each other, and that the
a r t i s a n ' s knowledge of how to make and how to detect
f i c t i t i o u s or f r a u d u l e n t gold need not have upset the
d i l e t t a n t e p h i l o s o p h e r ' s conviction of the v a l i d i t y of
his a i m or e x p e r i m e n t a l approach t h e r e t o . Even m o r e
r e c e n t l y we have h e a r d it said that proof is not needed
if the t h e o r y is r i g h t ! All of this is a f a s c i n a t i n g p a r t
of h u m a n h i s t o r y , p a r t i c u l a r l y so when s e e n in r e l a tion to m e d i c i n e in the global p e r s p e c t i v e that Needham
p r o v i d e s , but I b e l i e v e that the c o n t r i b u t i o n of a l c h e m y
to the l a t e r d e v e l o p m e n t of s c i e n t i f i c m e t a l l u r g y has
b e e n o v e r e s t i m a t e d . It was, it s e e m s to me, not d e s t i n e d to be an effective n u c l e u s but was an i n t e r e s t i n g
f l u c t u a t i o n that failed to e s t a b l i s h m u t u a l l y r e i n f o r c i n g
i n t e r a c t i o n s with other knowledge. Despite t h e i r deep
i n t e r e s t in m a n i p u l a t e d changes in m a t t e r , the a l c h e m i s t s ' o v e r w h e l m i n g t r u s t in t h e o r y blinded t h e m to facts.
The m a n who s e e s only a step toward the c r e a t i o n of
gold in the y e l l o w n e s s that a r i s e s when copper is heated
with c a l a m i n e is no l e s s n e a r - s i g h t e d than the p r a c t i c a l
m a n who s e e s b r a s s only as a cheap and p r e t t y alloy
with which to make pots or s h o e b u c k l e s . The p r a c t i c a l
m a n i n e v i t a b l y has a m o r e a c c u r a t e a c q u a i n t a n c e with
the r e a l b e h a v i o r of m a t e r i a l s than anyone e l s e and he
cannot ignore things that he does not u n d e r s t a n d . P e r haps, even, the fact that he can work s u c c e s s f u l l y d e spite his lack of " s c i e n c e " m a k e s h i m l e s s anxious to
find a good t h e o r e t i c a l f r a m e w o r k for his knowledge.
It is the c o n s c i o u s and continuous i n t e r p l a y between
t h e o r y and p r a c t i c e that m a k e s s c i e n c e so powerful
today. And one cannot but feel that s i m i l a r a p p r e c i a tive r e l a t i o n s h i p s b e t w e e n c h e r i s h e d d i f f e r e n c e s would
be d e s i r a b l e in other s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s .
E v e r y o n e knows of the " C h e m i c a l R e v o l u t i o n " which
came to a head in the work of L a v o i s i e r . His r e d e f i n i tion of the n a t u r e of a c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t and the r e p l a c e m e n t of phlogiston by m i n u s - o x y g e n were not
t h e o r e t i c a l i n s i g h t s obtained by m e d i t a t i o n on the c o s mos but were b a s e d d i r e c t l y upon new e x p e r i m e n t s with
g a s e s and the new u n d e r s t a n d i n g of compounds a r i s i n g
f r o m the new methods of a n a l y s i s . 5 Two of L a v o i s i e r ' s
c o l l a b o r a t o r s in the f a m e d Methode de Nomenclature
Chemique of 1787 had, in the p r e v i o u s y e a r , each i n d e p e n d e n t l y advanced a p h l o g i s t o n - f r e e c a r b o n t h e o r y of
s t e e l and had d i s c u s s e d its p r a c t i c a l utility. 6
Oxygen was d i s c o v e r e d e x a c t l y two c e n t u r i e s ago,
and f i r e b e c a m e a c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n b e t w e e n oxygen
and c a r b o n , in place of, or r a t h e r in addition to, its
old r o l e as a p h y s i c a l agency to p r o m o t e change in
other things. Though f a r l e s s well known, the y e a r
1774 also m a r k s the f i r s t s i g n i f i c a n t r e t u r n f r o m the
s c i e n t i f i c c h e m i s t in exchange for the m a s s of factual
i n f o r m a t i o n given him by the m e t a l l u r g i s t . This was
the d i s c o v e r y of c a r b o n in cast i r o n and steel.
Most alloys, of c o u r s e , were obviously m i x t u r e s
b e c a u s e the m i x t u r e of i n g r e d i e n t s n e c e s s a r y to make
them were known. Following A r i s t o t l e , however, s t e e l
had b e e n widely b e l i e v e d to be a p u r e r f o r m of i r o n - n a t u r a l l y enough s i n c e it r e s u l t e d f r o m prolonged h e a t ing in a c h a r c o a l f i r e , the p u r i f y i n g effect of which was
u n i v e r s a l l y known. The s m i t h knew how to m a n i p u l a t e
i r o n in the f i r e so as to obtain s t e e l m o r e or l e s s c o n s i s t e n t l y . In 1774, in Sweden, m e t a l l u r g i s t Sven R i n m a n ,
METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

-:J

Fig. 7 - - C r a n e s and s e r p e n t s , m a d e of wood coated with l a c q u e r . Height; 132 em. I l l u s t r a t e s an e a r l y u s e of a n a t u r a l p o l y m e r


and its c h e m i c a l stability. C h i n e s e , W a r r i n g States P e r i o d , 481-221 B.C. C o u r t e s y of Cleveland M u s e u m of A r t , J. H. Wade
Fund.

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975-611

having had his mind sensitized by recent chemical studi e s of g r a p h i t e b y h i s f e l l o w c o u n t r y m a n C. W. S c h e e l e ,


identified as a graphite-like materiaI the residue that
formed when cast iron was dissolved in acid. Seven
years later this was confirmed by the great chemist
Bergman and his student Gadolin, s in a report giving

q u a n t i t a t i v e l y t h e d i f f e r e n t a m o u n t s of c a r b o n in t h e
d i f f e r e n t q u a l i t i e s of i r o n a n d s t e e l , a n d a l s o s h o w i n g
t h e p r e s e n c e of m a n g a n e s e , s i l i c o n , n i c k e l , a n d a
" w h i t e p r e c i p i t a t e " l a t e r f o u n d t o b e a c o m p o u n d of
p h o s p h o r u s . In a d d i t i o n t h e y m e a s u r e d h e a t s of r e a c t i o n a n d r e c o r d e d t h e v o l u m e s of i n f l a m m a b l e a i r r e -

Fig. 8--Sword made by H i r o m i t s u Sagami. J a p a n e s e , dated 1362 A.D. Detail, n a t u r a l size. The texture r e s u l t s from a c o m plicated forging r e g i m e n followed by quenching in w a t e r after an insulating coating had been locally applied to d e c r e a s e the
r a t e of cooling away from the edge. The final polishing with a graded s e r i e s of a b r a s i v e stones has r e v e a l e d the i n t r i c a t e d l y
p a t t e r n e d i n t e r f a c e between h a r d and soft metal. The h a r d n e s s of s i m i l a r swords is slightIy o v e r 800 VHN at the edge, 200
to 300 in the body. Collection Dr. Walter A. Compton.

Fig. 9--Collection of objects molded of celluloid ( " P a r k e s i n e " ) , the f i r s t a r t i f i c i a l p o l y m e r i c m a t e r i a l . Made between 1860 and
1866 by the inventor, Alexander P a r k e s , who is b e t t e r known as a m e t a l l u r g i s t , they m a r k the v e r y beginning of the g r e a t p l a s tics industry of today. Courtesy of The Science Museum, London. Crown Copyright.
612-VOLUME6A,APRIL 1975

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

~r

a~/.r

P / . 8 . / m ~ as;

TABLE DES DIFFERENTS RAPPORTS


obderves chafe d~erez#zz st~stanc~

.o z

SMZ

ev,-q) ,(D -O ,-r

0/3 9PC9 \9 "# e

e a , e ,e ,o ,-c)

Fig. 1 0 - T a b l e of C h e m i c a l affinities.
E t i e n n e F r a n c o i s Geoffroy: Mere. Acad.
ScL, ( P a r i s ) 1718. Most of the r e a c t i o n s
that a r e h e r e put in s i g n i f i c a n t s y m b o l i c
s e q u e n c e had b e e n u s e d for s o m e c e n t u r i e s p r e v i o u s l y in m e t a l l u r g i c a l s e p a r a t i o n s and a s s a y i n g .

+. 5 9

.4+.

4x

NC~N

(2

~r

2# Eta~
r

S.ca~aSx~

O o~

e sa
P C P~erreCala,m2na~

s u l t i n g f r o m s o l u t i o n of i r o n in acid, which t h e y r e l a t e d to p h l o g i s t o n c o n t e n t - - c o r r e c t l y so if p h l o g i s t o n
is r e g a r d e d a s the v a l e n c e e l e c t r o n . Fig. 11 is the
t i t l e page of t h i s m o s t p r e g n a n t p i e c e of m e t a l l u r g i c a l
literature.
The new c h e m i s t r y of L a v o i s i e r was s q u a r e l y b a s e d
upon Swedish a n a l y t i c a l c h e m i s t r y , which was then at
the v e r y f o r e f r o n t of s c i e n c e . New e l e m e n t s w e r e b e ing d i s c o v e r e d in m i n e r a l s , c h e m i c a l i m p u r i t i e s w e r e
found to be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the good and bad q u a l i t i e s
of o r e s and p r o d u c t s f r o m d i f f e r e n t r e g i o n s , a n d - - m o s t
i m p o r t a n t f o r u s - - t h e l a b o r a t o r y had been found to be
of g r e a t u t i l i t y to the s m e l t e r , so b r i n g i n g to b e a r on
m a t e r i a l s a d i f f e r e n t t y p e of m i n d f r o m that of the
a n c i e n t p r a c t i t i o n e r s . It was the a n a l y t i c a l c h e m i s t
who f i r s t b r o u g h t s c i e n c e to i n d u s t r y .

DISSERTATIO CHEMICA

DE

ANALYSI F E R R I ,
QuA!~t

VENIA AMPLISS. FACULT. .PIIILOS.,

PRr

7-'ORB. BERG_MAN,
CltE'qlAg PROF. RING. E T GItD,I NEC ."~'OY E Q U I T E

AUII.~.TO

I~EGII O R D I N I S DE %V&SAp

CERAMICS
It is i n s t r u c t i v e to c o m p a r e the h i s t o r y of the c e r a m i c i n d u s t r y with that of m e t a l s . Subtle a s p e c t s of
p h y s i c a l and c h e m i c a l b e h a v i o r w e r e d i s c o v e r e d by
the p o t t e r b e f o r e c o m p a r a b l e d i s c o v e r i e s in m e t a l s ,
and the b e n e f i t s of c h e m i c a l a n a l y s i s and c o n t r o l w e r e
a l s o a p p l i e d e a r l i e r , but the e v e n t u a l t r a n s i t i o n to
p h y s i c s was d e l a y e d . The v o l u m i n o u s l i t e r a t u r e of
c e r a m i c s in a r t r e v e a l s an a p p r e c i a t i o n of the f a c t
that t e c h n i c a l f a c t o r s u n d e r l i e the a e s t h e t i c q u a l i t i e s
of v a r i o u s kinds of w a r e , and the t e c h n i q u e s involved
in the d u p l i c a t i o n of o r i e n t a l p o r c e l a i n in E u r o p e e a r l y
in the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y have b e e n e x t e n s i v e l y s t u d i e d
by a r t h i s t o r i a n s , but the fact that C h i n o i s e r i e was
a l s o a s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t of the h i s t o r y of s c i e n c e has
b e e n l a r g e l y o v e r l o o k e d . A c t u a l l y , the s e a r c h for p o r c e l a i n b o d i e s and s u i t a b l e g l a z e s and c o l o r s p r o v i d e d
a g r e a t s t i m u l u s to geology, m i n e r a l o g y , a n a l y t i c a l
METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

IUBLICI~ y h . ~ r l L a N D . k 3 f

JOHA'3:NES

~t~Tll"

GADOL!N

A 0 0 A - F~NN'O.

llq

AUDITOI~IO

GUSTAV1ANO

D. 9 J u N .

I~IAJORI

AN.NO 1"781.

UPSALI:E,
a~vD JOH. EDMAN~ ~latCXOa. iT RiG. ^C^V. ZTr0G~.

Fig. l l - - T i t l e p a g e of the Dissertatio Chemica de Analysi


Ferri by T o b e r n B e r g m a n , U p p s a l a , 1781. Though s t e e l had
b e e n m a d e f o r m a n y c e n t u r i e s , t h i s p u b l i c a t i o n w a s the f i r s t
q u a n t i t a t i v e l y to r e c o r d the fact that the d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n
w r o u g h t i r o n , c a s t i r o n , and s t e e l w a s r e l a t e d to c a r b o n c o n -

tent.
VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975

613

c h e m i s t r y and high t e m p e r a t u r e r e s e a r c h . The p r o duction of p o r c e l a i n a t t r a c t e d the l a v i s h support of


g o v e r n m e n t s , a l b e i t p r i n c e l y ones s e e k i n g p r e s t i g e
as c o n n o i s s e u r s r a t h e r than n a t i o n a l s e c u r i t y or p r o s p e r i t y . C e r a m i c s also incited i m a g i n a t i v e new f o r m s
of i n d u s t r i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , and r e c e n t h i s t o r i c a l s t u d i e s
s u g g e s t that the n u c l e u s of E n g l a n d ' s e c o n o m i c growth
m a y have l a i n as much in the p a t t e r n of Wedgwood's
i n t e g r a t e d s c i e n c e - b a s e d m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d i n d u s t r y as
it did in the b e t t e r known c o n t r i b u t i o n s of Darby and
Cort to iron m a n u f a c t u r e or of Watt to power p r o d u c tion.
The d e v e l o p m e n t of that m a r v e l o u s m a t e r i a l g l a s s
is e q u a l l y p a r t of our s t o r y . In its f a b r i c a t i o n , in its
p r o p e r t i e s , in its c h e m i s t r y and s t r u c t u r e as well as
the u s e s to which it has b e e n put, it has much in c o m mon with other p r o d u c t s of pyrotechnology. 8 S c i e n t i f i cally, the optical p r o p e r t i e s of g l a s s have always b e e n
of m a j o r i n t e r e s t . The a e s t h e t i c delight in the color of
m e d i e v a l g l a s s windows was p a r a l l e l e d b y the i n t e l l e c tual delight in the new world opened by g l a s s p r i s m s
and by t e l e s c o p e and m i c r o s c o p e l e n s e s in the s e v e n teenth c e n t u r y . F l a s k s , a l e m b i c s , f u n n e l s , tubing and
other a p p a r a t u s made of g l a s s were involved in v i r t u ally all c h e m i c a l d i s c o v e r i e s after the 16th c e n t u r y .
Beyond optics, g l a s s was e s s e n t i a l to p h y s i c s f r o m the
f i r s t f r i c t i o n a l e l e c t r i c i t y m a c h i n e s through the Leyden
j a r , the e l e c t r o s c o p e , the v a c u u m pump, to C-eissler
and Crookes t u b e s and t h e i r d e s c e n d a n t s through to
t o d a y ' s bubble c h a m b e r .
The need for g l a s s having i m p r o v e d optical and
chemical properties inspired research organizations
in n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y G e r m a n y which foreshadowed
the m o d e r n i n d u s t r i a l r e s e a r c h l a b o r a t o r y , and r e s u l t e d in J e n a g l a s s being used throughout the world
in e v e r y c h e m i c a l l a b o r a t o r y and in m o s t optical i n s t r u m e n t s at the t i m e of World War I. The U.S. gove r n m e n t ' s s u c c e s s f u l g l a s s p r o g r a m d u r i n g that war
in m a n y ways p a r a l l e l s the f r a n t i c s e a r c h for s u b s t i t u t e s for r u b b e r and other i m p o r t e d m a t e r i a l s in the
c r i s i s of 1942-45.
Glass, of c o u r s e , is an a m o r p h o u s , i.e. n o n c r y s t a l line, i n o r g a n i c solid. The e l u c i d a t i o n in the e a r l y
1930's of its t h e r m o d y n a m i c p e c u l i a r i t i e s and of its
s t r u c t u r e on the b a s i s of X - r a y diffraction was a l a n d m a r k in the s c i e n c e of m a t e r i a l s . Many other m a t e r i a l s have s i n c e been made in a m o r p h o u s f o r m s , i n cluding m e t a l s (or r a t h e r alloys), and an u n d e r s t a n d ing of the g l a s s y state has m e r g e d into the g e n e r a l
s t r u c t u r a l view of m a t t e r upon which all work on
m a t e r i a l s m u s t now be based.
R e t u r n i n g to the eighteenth c e n t u r y , the i m p o r t a n c e
of c h e m i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n was p a r t i c u l a r l y e m p h a s i z e d
in s t u d i e s of c e r a m i c s as E u r o p e a n p o t t e r s t r i e d d e s p e r a t e l y to p r o d u c e m o r e elegant w a r e s c o m p a r a b l e
with those f r o m China and Japan. R e p o r t s by J e s u i t
m i s s i o n a r i e s on the m a n u f a c t u r e of p o r c e l a i n s t i m u lated an i n t e n s i v e new e x a m i n a t i o n of m i n e r a l s to find
c o l o r s for glazes and the n e c e s s a r y c o m p o n e n t s of the
h a r d white body (kaolin and petunse, the l a t t e r e v e n t u ally found to be f e l s p a r ) , as well as m e a n s of f i r i n g
ware at t e m p e r a t u r e s f a r higher than any p r e v i o u s l y
used in E u r o p e . T h e r e followed the f i r s t s y s t e m a t i c
s t u d i e s of c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n s at v e r y high t e m p e r a t u r e s and the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the v a r i o u s kinds of
614 VOLUME6A, APRIL 1975

e a r t h and t h e i r i n t e r a c t i o n s . R ~ a u m u r ' s " p o r c e l a i n "


(1739) u t i l i z e d the r e s i s t a n c e of d i v i t r i f i e d g l a s s to
t h e r m a l shock and c h e m i c a l attack. As with m e t a l s ,
the n a t u r e of r e d u c i n g and oxidization a t m o s p h e r e s
was exploited. Blowpipe a n a l y s i s b e c a m e an i m p o r tant a n a l y t i c a l tool after its s y s t e m a t i z a t i o n in Sweden
in the 1770's for use on m i n e r a l s . This embodied a l m o s t all the old knowledge of fluxes and fusion, oxidation and r e d u c t i o n , v i t r e o u s color changes and c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n that had a c c u m u l a t e d in the p y r o t e c h n i c a l a r t s
and it made an i m p o r t a n t c o n t r i b u t i o n to f u r t h e r d i s c o v e r i e s and c h e m i c a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g as well as s e r v ing p r o s p e c t o r s in the field.
Scientific i n t e r e s t in m i n e r a l o g y was at f i r s t rooted
in the knowledge and needs of the m i n e r and the j e w e l l e r . It took on a d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r u n d e r the i n f l u ence of the c e r a m i s t , f r o m its i n t e r a c t i o n with a n a l y t i c a l c h e m i s t r y , and e s p e c i a l l y f r o m the a t t e m p t s
at c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of all n a t u r a l f o r m s which m a t u r e d
with L i n n a e u s . C r y s t a l l o g r a p h y a c q u i r e d the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a r e s p e c t a b l e (i.e. m a t h e m a t i c a l ) s c i e n c e
in 1783, when Hafiy saw how to c a l c u l a t e angles b e tween c r y s t a l f a c e s in the s t a c k e d - b o x models of c r y s t a l s that had been suggested e a r l i e r , and even m o r e so
with m a t h e m a t i c a l s p a c e - l a t t i c e t h e o r y in the 19th c e n t u r y . However, the p h y s i c i s t in g e n e r a l i g n o r e d the i n t e r n a l s t r u c t u r e of c r y s t a l s b e c a u s e t h e r e were few
p r o p e r t i e s that could be t h e o r e t i c a l l y d e r i v e d t h e r e f r o m . The m i n e r a l o g i s t and p r o s p e c t o r m e a n w h i l e d e pended on e x t e r n a l f o r m and c h e m i c a l a n a l y s i s of his
m i n e r a l s , while c h e m i s t s used c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n for p u r i fication and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and they w e r e deeply i n t e r e s t e d in p o l y m o r p h i s m and i s o m o r p h i s m , but the q u a n t i t a t i v e s u c c e s s of D a l t o n ' s a t o m i c t h e o r y (1808) made
t h e m a s s i g n all p r o p e r t i e s to the f i r s t stage of a g g r e gation, the s i m p l e m o l e c u l e . F o r over a c e n t u r y t h e r e after c h e m i s t s had to be blind to n o n s t o i c h i o m e t r i c
solids in o r d e r to m a i n t a i n t h e i r belief in the a t o m !

ORGANIC

MATERIALS

The introduction of organic materials into this story


is overdue. Biological materials appear far less frequently in the archaeological record because of their
high degradability; they are also less amenable to
scientific study than are simpler inorganic substances.
By the selection of parts of various plants and animals,
materials can be obtained that have almost any combination of desirable properties except electrical conductivity or the ability to withstand extremes of stress and
temperature, and man at first had little incentive to experimental synthesis. In the beginnings of scientific
organic chemistry, the needs of medicine far outstripped
other influences. Nevertheless there is an important
stage of its prehistory recorded in artists' materials.
The color of dyes, lakes and other pigments are dependent upon very subtle aspects of structure, surface
chemistry, and the effects of pH. The properties of
polymerizing albumen and resins were exploited very
early in painter's vehicles and in chinese lacquer,
while the use of resins as incense stimulated their
discovery, but such compounds
yielded little to science
until the twentieth century A.D.: simpler structures
had first to be unravelled. Following the famous synthesis of urea in 1828, the synthesis of aniline dyes
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

\\

Fig. 12--Structural representation of the


benzene molecule. F. A. Kekul6, Lehrbuch
der Organische Chemic, Vol. II, Erlangen
1862, p. 496.

/
,

f r o m the w a s t e s of the c o a l - g a s i n d u s t r y gave a g r e a t


i m p e t u s to o r g a n i c c h e m i s t r y , as well as to l a r g e - s c a l e
industrial research. 9
S t r u c t u r e to the o r g a n i c c h e m i s t m e a n t m o l e c u l a r
s t r u c t u r e , which only slowly moved f r o m a f o r m u l a
denoting composition, although i s o m e r s which had
b e e n r e c o g n i z e d as b e i n g r e l a t e d to the a l l o t r o p i c
f o r m s of e l e m e n t s like c a r b o n and s u l f u r known b e fore 1800 A.D., c l e a r l y involved some i n t e r n a l s t e r i c
f a c t o r s . 1~ Kekul&s b e n z e n e r i n g (Fig. 12) was the
f i r s t step toward the belief that f o r m u l a e could r e p r e s e n t r e a l a r r a n g e m e n t s of a t o m s in space.
THE BEGINNING OF A SYNTHESIS OF
VIEWPOINTS
Although the high point of 1 9 t h - c e n t u r y m a t e r i a l
s c i e n c e was the application of a n a l y t i c a l c h e m i s t r y
to the d i s c o v e r y of new m a t e r i a l s and the c o n t r o l of
old ones, the n u c l e u s of a d i f f e r e n t type of study was
b e g i n n i n g to f o r m - - o n e that would tie e v e r y t h i n g t o gether and lead to s t i l l higher l e v e l s of i n t e l l e c t u a l ,
p r a c t i c a l and s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n . This was the o p e n ing of m a t e r i a l s to the methods of the p h y s i c i s t . 11
The s u c c e s s i v e s t a g e s in the d e v e l o p m e n t of the
s c i e n c e of m a t e r i a l s , and the a s p e c t s that at different
t i m e s in the past have s e e m e d most meaningful, can
all be s e e n as r e l a t e d to s t r u c t u r e , but to s t r u c t u r e
on d i f f e r e n t s c a l e s . R e p e a t e d l y the e x c i t e m e n t at the
f o r e f r o n t has come f r o m the identification of some
p r e v i o u s l y u n s u s p e c t e d s t r u c t u r a l f e a t u r e and the
m e a s u r e m e n t of its i n t e r a c t i o n to give a p r o p e r t y obs e r v e d in the l a r g e r aggregate. As each unit of s t r u c t u r e , - - " e l e m e n t " , atom, phase, c h e m i c a l m o l e c u l e ,
m i c r o c r y s t a t , ion, unit cell, e l e c t r o n , n u c l e u s , e n e r g y
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

\
\

quantum, v a c a n c i e s , d i s l o c a t i o n s and other l a t t i c e i m p e r f e c t i o n s - w a s in its t u r n d i s c o v e r e d , it s a t i s f a c t o r i l y accounted for some a s p e c t of m a t t e r , but t h e r e


always r e m a i n e d s o m e t h i n g u n e x p l a i n e d and it was
n e c e s s a r y to invent new s t r u c t u r a l e n t i t i e s both above
and below on the l a d d e r s of size and e n e r g y . Today
we a r e b e g i n n i n g to see that all s c a l e s a r e n e c e s s a r y
in wonderful i n t e r p l a y . Although the complex higher
l e v e l s of s t r u c t u r e depend upon the p r o p e r t i e s of the
s m a l l e s t units they a r e not fully explained by them.
Real u n d e r s t a n d i n g i n v o l v e s studying the h i e r a r c h i a l
whole, but this is beyond our i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a c i t y and
we a r e f o r c e d to t e a r it to bits for study. P e r h a p s i n deed the v e r y s t r u c t u r e of our b r a i n with s e p a r a t e
c e r e b e l l u m and c e r e b r u m will f o r e v e r p r e v e n t a c o n t i n u u m of u n d e r s t a n d i n g between a t o m i s t i c and h o l i s t i c
views.
Among the m a n y d i s c o v e r i e s and i n s i g h t s that paved
the way to m o d e r n solid state physics two were p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t . They were at opposite ends of the
s t r u c t u r a l ladder, and, unlike the e a r l i e r d i s c o v e r i e s
a s s o c i a t e d with the d e c o r a t i v e a r t s , both were m o t i v a t e d by s c i e n t i f i c c u r i o s i t y . One s t a r t e d with e x p e r i m e n t s on a f r o g ' s leg, the other with r o c k s and Sheffield steel. I r e f e r to the d i s c o v e r y of the voltaic e l e c t r i c i t y and to the d i s c o v e r y of the r e a l p o l y c r y s t a l l i n e
m i c r o s t r u c t u r e of m a t e r i a l s by Henry Clifton Sorby.
It is i r o n i c that p h y s i c i s t s should have d i s c o v e r e d
e l e c t r i c i t y j u s t at the t i m e when c h e m i s t s were a b a n doning phlogiston, which was an a n t i c i p a t i o n of the
electron,12 and that the new m i c r o s t r u c t u r e was in
some m e a s u r e a r e t u r n to the v a r i a b l e c l u m p i n g t o gether of c o r p u s c l e s with which D e s c a r t e s and his
f o l l o w e r s had b e e n toying two c e n t u r i e s e a r l i e r before
a t r i u m p h a n t N e w t o n i a n i s m b a n i s h e d such q u a l i t a t i v e
VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975 615

/, ~. > / ' / , / / .

I',,/,(k7/~/

/ ~:

SPECIMEN
b y E . p , 4 l , J l ~ r l , 103.New~ale Street./~O~/)O~V.
ON

Mn

$ M Ir E'S

PLAN.

Fig. 13--Print f r o m electrotype copy of an engraved pIate.

Published in the April 1840 issue of Phil. Mag. by Arthur A.


Smee, who first used the word "Electrometallurgy" in his
Elements of Electrometallurgy, London, 1841.
thinking f r o m r e s p e c t a b l e s c i e n c e .
Each in its own way provided a new a c c e s s to the
n a t u r e of m a t e r i a l s . The m i c r o s c o p e made definite
m a n y d e t a i l s of s t r u c t u r a l h e t e r o g e n e i t y that had p r e v i o u s l y b e e n u n a p p r e c i a t e d . M e a s u r e m e n t s of the e l e c t r i c a l conductivity of v a r i o u s m a t e r i a l s at d i f f e r e n t
t e m p e r a t u r e s r e v e a l e d a s e n s i t i v i t y to s t r u c t u r e on a
l e v e l quite without precedent~ Of c o u r s e , f r i c t i o n a l
e l e c t r i c i t y was known in a n c i e n t t i m e s , and i m p o r t a n t
e x p e r i m e n t s d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c o n d u c t o r s and n o n c o n d u c t o r s had been done in the eighteenth c e n t u r y . Many
effects depending on u n r e c o g n i z e d e l e c t r o l y s i s were
known. F e r r o m a g n e t i s m had b e e n used in E u r o p e a n
n a v i g a t i o n for over t h r e e c e n t u r i e s (and over five c e n t u r i e s in China) before it i n s p i r e d the s u p e r b s c i e n tific t r e a t i s e De Magnete of W i l l i a m G i l b e r t in 1600.
The d i s c o v e r y of e l e c t r i c i t y was an a c h i e v e m e n t of
p u r e , if e m p i r i c a l , s c i e n c e , but its d e v e l o p m e n t i n volved a c o m p l i c a t e d n e t w o r k of i n t e r a c t i o n s involving
people of v e r y different m o t i v e s and i n t e r e s t s each
c o n t r i b u t i n g t h e i r p a r t . The d i s c o v e r y of m a g n e t o e l e c t r i c i n t e r a c t i o n by O e r s t e d and F a r a d a y p r e c e e d e d
the p r a c t i c a l m o t o r and g e n e r a t o r , and i n d u s t r i a l use
of e l e c t r o c h e m i s t r y followed F a r a d a y ' s e n u n c i a t i o n
of the laws of e l e c t r o l y s i s in 1832. The f i r s t steps to
t h e s e p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n s w e r e t a k e n by m e n without any p a r t i c u l a r s c i e n t i f i c t r a i n i n g or i n t e r e s t s .
E l e c t r o p l a t i n g , though d e m o n s t r a t e d in 1801, lay without p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n until 1837, but four y e a r s
t h e r e a f t e r i n d u s t r i a l e l e c t r o f o r m i n g and e l e c t r o p l a t ing were well u n d e r way and the p r o d u c t i o n of e l e c t r o t y p e p r i n t i n g plates (Fig. 13) had made p o s s i b l e the
p u b l i c a t i o n of m a s s - c i r c u l a t i o n i l l u s t r a t e d j o u r n a l s .
The copying of coins and p l a q u e s was a v a s t l y popular
hobby which i n t r o d u c e d i n n u m e r a b l e youths, including
W e r n e r Von S i e m e n s , to e l e c t r i c a l e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n
and knowledge. The f i r s t c o m m e r c i a l g e n e r a t o r (Fig.
14) was made in 1842 for d e c o r a t i v e s i l v e r plating:
t o d a y ' s huge e l e c t r i c a l power i n d u s t r y grew f r o m the
d e s i r e of the middle c l a s s to e m u l a t e the g l i t t e r i n g
s i l v e r on the t a b l e s of the r i c h . 13
Showman D a g u e r r e i n t r o d u c e d his f a m e d photog r a p h i c p r o c e s s at about the s a m e t i m e (1839). The
d a g u e r r e o t y p e , using photoinduced e l e c t r o n i c changes
in an i m p e r f e c t s i l v e r iodide c r y s t a l l a t t i c e to n u c l e 616-VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975

Fig. 14--The earliest commercial generator. Height, 160


cm. Made for use in electroplating by Thomas Prime of
Birmingham in 1844. Designed by J. S. Woolrich, who modified an earlier design used in lecture demonstrations of the
identity of magneto-electric and voltaic electricity. Courtesy
Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham.
ate local c o n d e n s a t i o n of m e r c u r y vapor, w o n d e r f u l l y
i l l u s t r a t e s m a n y p r i n c i p l e s of s o l i d - s t a t e p h y s i c s that
a r e now p a r t of what e v e r y m e t a l l u r g i s t should know.
T h e o r y however, did not catch up with p r a c t i c e for
well over a c e n t u r y , and both r o u t e s w e r e devious,
full of s t r a n g e t u r n s and m e e t i n g s .
ON INDUSTRY, MAINLY E L E C T R I C A L
The e l e c t r i c t e l e g r a p h , c o m i n g in the s a m e exciting
decade which saw the a n n o u n c e m e n t of photography
and plating, p r o v i d e s a fine i l l u s t r a t i o n of the way in
which the p r o p e r t i e s of m a t e r i a l s can have a g r e a t
effect upon the c o u r s e of h u m a n a f f a i r s . In s c i e n c e ,
the low voltage e l e c t r i c i t y of Galvani and Volta, so
e a s i l y produced and m e a s u r e d , made p o s s i b l e an e n t i r e l y new d i m e n s i o n of the study of s o l i d s , but such
work did not s e r i o u s l y begin until provoked by diffic u l t i e s with the p r a c t i c a l d e v e l o p m e n t of the t e l e g r a p h .
T h e s e w e r e i n c o n s p i c u o u s c o m p a r e d with the e l e c t r o m a g n e t i c and f i n a n c i a l u n c e r t a i n t i e s at the t i m e , but
they a r e of c o n s i d e r a b l e i n t e r e s t to us.
Fig. 15 is a photograph of a s e c t i o n of the f i r s t s u c c e s s f u l t r a n s a t l a n t i c t e l e g r a p h cable. In it a r e joined
not only the actual w i r e s of i r o n and copper, the f i b e r s
of hemp and the l a y e r s of gutta p e r c h a , but also m a n y
t h r e a d s of h i s t o r y - - t h e iron with its b a c k g r o u n d of
powder m e t a l l u r g y , welding, of o r e r e d u c t i o n in h e a r t h ,
b l a s t f u r n a c e , and puddling f u r n a c e ; copper with echoes
of m a n ' s f i r s t delight in m e t a l , soon to excite new
s t u d i e s of alloy c o n s t i t u t i o n b a s e d on its v a r i a b l e conductivity and d e s t i n e d to b e c o m e the sinews of an u n METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

Fig. 15--Sections of the first successful transatlantic cables,


1865 and 1866. Both are 2.55 cm diam. See text for details
on the materials used.
i m a g i n a b l e new power i n d u s t r y ; the h e m p rope, r e c a l l ing m a n ' s f i r s t f i b e r s , weaving (perhaps the f i r s t use
of a n a t u r a l m a t e r i a l in a p r o c e s s e d form), colonial
exploitation, and s l a v e r y ; the coal t a r used for i m p r e g nation, at f i r s t an u n d e s i r a b l e byproduct of gaslighting
but then f o r m i n g the b a s i s of both a new c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y and of a new b r a n c h of c h e m i c a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g ;
and l a s t , but by no m e a n s l e a s t , the i n s u l a t i o n provided
by an extruded sheath of gutta p e r c h a , a n a t u r a l polym e r . The l a s t was an e a s i l y - m o l d e d t h e r m o p l a s t i c i n t r o d u c e d f r o m Malaya only a few y e a r s p r e v i o u s l y but
it had a l r e a d y been exploited in flexible tubing and as
a m o l d i n g m a t e r i a l in the d e c o r a t i v e a r t s . It was an
e x c e l l e n t i n s u l a t o r , and had an advantage over s u l f u r h a r d e n e d r u b b e r in that it was as h a r d but l e s s b r i t t l e
and not c o r r o s i v e . The o v e r l a n d p a r t of the cable gave
new u s e s for the o l d e r m a t e r i a l s g l a s s and p o r c e l a i n .
The technology of shaping the w i r e s of copper and iron
had its b a c k g r o u n d in the gold j e w e l r y of the a n c i e n t
Middle E a s t , in the s t r i n g s of m u s i c a l i n s t r u m e n t s , in
m a i l a r m o r for the w a r r i o r and in t i n s e l for his m i s t r e s s . It was the c u l m i n a t i o n of a long s e a r c h for dies
and l u b r i c a n t s and m a n y g e n e r a t i o n s of m e c h a n i c a l dev i c e s and a u t o m a t i c m a c h i n e s : the w i r e r o d c a m e f r o m
a m i l l with grooved r o l l s f i r s t used in the R e n a i s s a n c e
for m a k i n g lead s t r i p s for s t a i n e d g l a s s windows, or
f r o m a s l i t t i n g m i l l which was the a n t e c e d e n t of all
power-driven rolling machinery.
None of the m a t e r i a l s for the cable was new at the
t i m e . T h e i r s e l e c t i o n was b a s e d on past e x p e r i e n c e
with t h e m , but the c l o s e r s c r u t i n y of t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s
was to lead, between t h e i r t i m e and o u r s , to quite new
kinds of thinking in m e t a l l u r g y and c h e m i s t r y , and to
a b r a n c h of p h y s i c s e m b r a c i n g all m a t e r i a l s . E v e r y
one of t h e s e m a t e r i a l s b e c a m e a s o u r c e of l a r g e p r o f its (and l o s s e s ) in new i n d u s t r i e s having e m b r y o r e s e a r c h o r g a n i z a t i o n s and exploiting new p r o c e s s i n g
methods.
T h e s e d i v e r s e m a t e r i a l s were brought t o g e t h e r not
f r o m any s c i e n t i f i c i n t e r e s t in t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s , but
b e c a u s e of p e o p l e ' s d e s i r e to c o m m u n i c a t e with each
other without geographic h i n d r a n c e on m a t t e r s of f i nance, c o m m e r c e , m i l i t a r y n e c e s s i t y , politics and,
not negligibly, love and f r i e n d s h i p . The p r i m a r y need
was a s o c i a l one, but an idea in the mind of a v e r y few
m e n s e r v e d to b r i n g out and b r i n g together in a new
s t r u c t u r e things that had b e e n a r o u n d for some t i m e ,
and changed t h e m i m m e a s u r a b l y in doing so.
In e m p h a s i z i n g m a t e r i a l s in this d i s c u s s i o n of the
cable I do not m e a n to m i n i m i z e the c o n t r i b u t i o n of
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

p h y s i c s : the d e v e l o p m e n t of p r a c t i c a l , s e n s i t i v e g a l v a n o m e t e r s and of the t h e o r y of conduction, induction


and capacity in the c i r c u i t s were as e s s e n t i a l to the
s u c c e s s of l o n g - d i s t a n c e t e l e g r a p h y as w e r e the m a t e r i a l s , and the~y were new, while the m a t e r i a l s w e r e not.
Indeed, well into the twentieth c e n t u r y a u s e r of m a t e r i a l s for a l m o s t any p u r p o s e could specify whatever
shapes and s i z e s he wanted but he had to choose the
m a t e r i a l itself f r o m a l i m i t e d r a n g e of m o r e or l e s s
s t a n d a r d i z e d c o m p o s i t i o n s offered by the p r o d u c e r s .
R e s e a r c h in the m a t e r i a l s i n d u s t r y was done to lower
p r o d u c t i o n costs and to s t a n d a r d i z e the quality of old
p r o d u c t s r a t h e r than to find d i v e r s e p r o p e r t i e s o p t i m a l l y m a t c h e d to s p e c i a l i z e d s e r v i c e n e e d s . A p r o ducer n a t u r a l l y p r e f e r s v o l u m e to d i v e r s i t y , and few
u s e r s were e i t h e r f i n a n c i a l l y or i n t e l l e c t u a l l y capable
of doing much r e s e a r c h . G r a d u a l l y however, s o m e
u s e r s came to see e c o n o m y in the use of m a t e r i a l s
t a i l o r e d to t h e i r p u r p o s e s and after World War I the
s c i e n t i f i c s t u d i e s of p r o p e r t i e s was e n c o u r a g e d .
S y s t e m a t i c s t u d i e s of alloys s e r i e s had b e e n done
s p o r a d i c a l l y in the eighteenth c e n t u r y - - n o t a b l y the
work on alloys of p l a t i n u m by H. T. Scheffer and
W i l l i a m Lewis in the two decades after the i m p o r t a tion of s i g n i f i c a n t a m o u n t s of this m e t a l into Europe
in 1750, that by K a r l F r a n z Achard (1788) who studied
e v e r y p h y s i c a l p r o p e r t y then m e a s u r a b l e of e v e r y p o s s i b l e alloy of all e l e v e n m e t a l s than r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e ,
and the study of alloys for coinage by C h a r l e s Hatchett
and Henry Cavendish in 1803. The l a t t e r was done for
the B r i t i s h g o v e r n m e n t u n d e r the aegis of the Royal
Society, and s e e m s to be the f i r s t s y s t e m a t i c study of
alloys done with a specific s e r v i c e in mind. (It was
concluded that, all things c o n s i d e r e d , the old c o m p o s i t i o n s were b e s t . )
In g e n e r a l , in the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , most t e s t s of
m a t e r i a l s of any kind r e v o l v e d around the e n g i n e e r s '
need for m a t e r i a l s of m o r e c o n s i s t e n t m e c h a n i c a l
p r o p e r t i e s and his i n c r e a s i n g l y s c i e n t i f i c approach
to c a l c u l a t i o n s of the s t r e n g t h of s t r u c t u r e s . G o v e r n m e n t i n t e r e s t was strong, both in r e g a r d to public
safety 14 and for a r m a m e n t . T h e r e was good p r e c e d e n t
in the c h e m i c a l t e s t i n g p e r f o r m e d by public a n a l y s t s
for a s s e s s m e n t of c u s t o m s duty on l i q u o r s , the c o n t r o l
of water supply, and the p r o t e c t i o n of the public a g a i n s t
a d u l t e r a t e d p r o d u c t s . As far as m e c h a n i c a l p r o p e r t i e s
were c o n c e r n e d , proof f i r i n g s of cannon and guns had
long been r e q u i r e d by g o v e r n m e n t a r s e n a l s . In the
m i d - n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y e x t e n s i v e l a b o r a t o r y t e s t s of
the m a t e r i a l s of which guns and a r m o r w e r e to be made
were c a r r i e d out in both G r e a t B r i t a i n ~5 and the United
States. ~6 At f i r s t s i m p l y t e s t i n g m a t e r i a l s offered by
v a r i o u s c o m m e r c i a l s o u r c e s , the l a t t e r p r o g r a m d e veloped into the s y s t e m a t i c m a k i n g and t e s t i n g of a
s e r i e s of b r o n z e - l i k e alloys by R. H. T h u r s t o n r e ported to the U.S. Board f o r Testing Iron, Steel and
other Metals in 1880, and to the f i r s t w i d e - s c a l e use
of alloy steel, that of n i c k e l - s t e e l in b a t t l e s h i p a r m o r
in 1890. The i n t e r e s t of the B r i t i s h navy was a s t r o n g
factor in the o r g a n i z a t i o n and support of the fledgling
Institute of Metals in 1908. Just a decade l a t e r the
Institute of Metals D i v i s i o n was f o r m e d within the
AIME s p e c i f i c a l l y to p r o m o t e i n t e r e s t in u s e r - o r i e n t e d
metallurgy.
The m a n u f a c t u r i n g i n d u s t r i e s were slow to s p o n s o r
r e s e a r c h on the m a t e r i a l s they used. In the n i n e t e e n t h
VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975-617

c e n t u r y the r a i l r o a d s were active in t e s t i n g and in


w r i t i n g p u r c h a s e s p e c i f i c a t i o n s for s t a n d a r d f e r r o u s
and n o n f e r r o u s alloys and other m a t e r i a l s , but they
did not a n t i c i p a t e the a d v a n t a g e s that could come f r o m
improved specialized alloys. A steel maker started
work that gave both s i l i c o n - i r o n for t r a n s f o r m e r use
and high m a n g a n e s e a u s t e n i t i c steel. L a t e r , both
a u s t e n i t i c and f e r r i t i c s t a i n l e s s s t e e l s o r g i n a t e d in
s t e e l - m a k e r ' s l a b o r a t o r i e s , but the g r e a t e s t i m p e t u s
c a m e f r o m the a u t o m o b i l e ' s need for alloy s t e e l s of
d e e p e r h a r d e n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Except for H e n r y
F o r d ' s work on low v a n a d i u m alloy s t e e l s , even the
a u t o m a k e r s at f i r s t only t e s t e d what o t h e r s chose to
offer. It was the p r o d u c e r s s e e k i n g m a r k e t s for the
new alloying e l e m e n t s - - v a n a d i u m , c h r o m i u m , silicon,
and e s p e c i a l l y n i c k e l - - w h o were m o s t active in s t u d y ing new alloy s t e e l c o m p o s i t i o n s , not the s t e e l p r o d u c e r s , who r e l u c t a n t l y made what was demanded.
In the n o n f e r r o u s m e t a l field, a l u m i n u m p r o d u c e r s
had to catch up with the knowledge of other m a t e r i a l s ,
e s p e c i a l l y copper, that had been gained e m p i r i c a l l y
through the ages and they i n s t i t u t e d an e x t e n s i v e p r o g r a m of l a b o r a t o r y r e s e a r c h . The s a m e p a t t e r n was
l a t e r s e e n in the new p l a s t i c s , which have not yet lost
the i m p e t u s of t h e i r b i r t h in the l a b o r a t o r y .
In g e n e r a l , however, the m a i n s t i m u l u s for the d i s c o v e r y of new m a t e r i a l s in the l a s t h u n d r e d y e a r s has
come f r o m the e l e c t r i c a l i n d u s t r y . This began with the
s e a r c h for m a x i m i z i n g newly d i s c o v e r e d e l e c t r i c a l and
m a g n e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , but a r e a l change in attitude to
m a t e r i a l s developed f r o m the o r g a n i z a t i o n of the i n d u s t r y , with r e s e a r c h in m a t e r i a l s being r e q u i r e d for
e v e r y new type of device and done in close p r o x i m i t y
with s p e c i f i c a t i o n and p r o c u r e m e n t work. M o r e o v e r ,
i n s u l a t o r s and c o n d u c t o r s , high and low t e m p e r a t u r e
m a t e r i a l s , c e r a m i c s , o r g a n i c s and m e t a l s w e r e all i n volved in close a s s o c i a t i o n with each other. All m a t e r i a l s came to be s e e n in competition, with the e m p h a s i s only on the p r o p e r t i e s that were needed. T h e r e after e v e r y new d e v e l o p m e n t in advanced t e c h n o l o g y - r a d a r , n u c l e a r r e a c t o r s , jet a i r c r a f t , c o m p u t e r s , and
s a t e l l i t e c o m m u n i c a t i o n to n a m e a f e w - - h a s s e r v e d to
b r e a k the e a r l i e r close a s s o c i a t i o n of m a t e r i a l s r e s e a r c h with a s i n g l e type of m a n u f a c t u r e , and the m o d e r n m a t e r i a l s e n g i n e e r has e m e r g e d .
The viewpoint of the s c i e n t i s t c o n c e r n e d with m a t e r i a l s has changed even m o r e than that of his i n d u s t r i a l c o u n t e r p a r t . His i n t e r e s t in a d i v e r s i t y of p r o p e r t i e s e i t h e r for b a s i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g or in r e l a t i o n to
s e r v i c e r e q u i r e m e n t s , and his knowledge of the u n d e r lying s c i e n c e which applies to all m a t e r i a l s m a k e s t o d a y ' s m a t e r i a l s s c i e n t i s t a v e r y different m a n f r o m
the older m e t a l l u r g i s t who focused m a i n l y on the c h e m ical t h e r m o d y n a m i c s of p r o d u c t i o n of a single metal.
His attitude now is i n h e r e n t l y s y n e r g i s t i c , but with its
b r e a d t h t h e r e is an a c c o m p a n y i n g s i m p l i c i t y of b a s e .
The g r e a t e s t change f r o m the past l i e s , f believe, in
the adoption in s o m e m e a s u r e of the p h y s i c i s t ' s view
of the world without loss of an i n t e r e s t in p r a c t i c a l
diversity.
Both the s c i e n c e and the p r a c t i c e of e l e c t r i c i t y after
the middle of the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y helped to shape a
w a t e r s h e d in the h i s t o r y of m a t e r i a l s , as in much e l s e .
In addition to its f i r s t c o m m e r c i a l uses in e l e c t r o p l a t ing and e l e c t r o f o r m i n g , i n d u s t r i a l e l e c t r o c h e m i s t r y
618 VOLUME6A,APRIL 1975

Fig. 16--Portion of a copper cathode made in the refinery of


Elkington, Mason and Co. before 1880. In 1878 James Elkington reported to John Percy that the production of electrolytic
copper had averaged six tons per week for the previous nine
years. Specimen 901, Percy Collection; Courtesy of Science
Museum, London.
quickly gave high p u r i t y copper (Fig. 16) which in its
t u r n b e c a m e e s s e n t i a l to the power i n d u s t r y , and, a
little l a t e r , cheap a l u m i n u m , f e r r o a l l o y s , c h l o r i n e ,
g r a p h i t e , a b r a s i v e s , and much e l s e . The effect on the
s c i e n c e of m a t e r i a l s was even m o r e profound, for it
allowed the m e a s u r e m e n t of new p r o p e r t i e s and r e v e a l e d the different c l a s s e s of b e h a v i o r in m e t a l l i c
and ionic c o n d u c t o r s , d i a l e c t i c s , and s e m i c o n d u c t o r s .
Up to the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y v i r t u a l l y no uses of m a t e r i a l s had exploited anything beyond t h e i r m e c h a n i c a l
or optical q u a l i t i e s or t h e i r r e s i s t a n c e to c o r r o s i o n .
The only p h y s i c a l p r o p e r t i e s to be widely m e a s u r e d
and r e p o r t e d q u a n t i t a t i v e l y in s c i e n t i f i c l i t e r a t u r e
w e r e m e l t i n g point, density, t h e r m a l e x p a n s i v i t y , and
specific heat. M e c h a n i c a l p r o p e r t i e s (except e l a s t i c
c o n s t a n t s ) s e e m e d to be too v a r i a b l e to have much
basic significance.
The f i r s t s y s t e m a t i c s t u d i e s of the conductivity of
alloys were done to m e e t the p r a c t i c a l n e e d s of A t l a n tic cable. The f i r s t c o n d u c t o r s had been p u r c h a s e d
without any s p e c i f i c a t i o n of conductivity, and one length
of cable u s i n g a r s e n i c a l copper f r o m Rio Tinto was
found to have 14 pct of the expected conductivity! Only
400 m i l e s of the 2500-mile cable laid in 1857 w e r e
t e s t e d , and Kelvin said that the speed of t r a n s m i s s i o n
of m e s s a g e s would have been 30 pct g r e a t e r had s p e c ifications been used throughout. T h e r e a f t e r M a t h i e s s e n
in 1859-63 m e a s u r e d the conductivity in m a n y different
alloy s y s t e m s , and t r i e d to r e l a t e t h e i r quite d i f f e r e n t
b e h a v i o r s to solid solution or i m m i s c i b i l i t y or c o m pound f o r m a t i o n in a thoroughly m o d e r n way. The r e s i s t a n c e t h e r m o m e t e r was also an outgrowth of the
cable s t u d i e s . F o r a few y e a r s t h e r m o e l e c t r i c i t y was
a l e a d i n g tool in alloy s t u d i e s . It drew attention to the
c r i t i c a l point in steel, and above all, it l a t e r gave an
ideal p y r o m e t e r for m e t a l l u r g i s t s ' use in plant and
l a b o r a t o r y . It was a c t u a l l y used for m e a s u r i n g t e m p e r a t u r e s of b l a s t - f u r n a c e a i r in 1865, two decades
before its use in alloy c o n s t i t u t i o n s t u d i e s in the l a b o r a t o r y ! E l e c t r i c a l m e a s u r e m e n t s on m a t e r i a l s were
p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t to t h e o r e t i c a l p h y s i c s . The
r e c o g n i t i o n of the n e a r l y exact r e l a t i o n between t h e r m a l and e l e c t r i c a l c o n d u c t i v i t i e s ( W i e d e m a n n - F r a n z ,
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

84149

P h y s i c i s t s , m e t a l l u r g i s t s and c e r a m i c i s t s have c o l l a b o r a t e d p a r t i c u l a r l y effectively in d e a l i n g with m a g netic m a t e r i a l s . The a b r u p t change of m a g n e t i z a t i o n


of i r o n with t e m p e r a t u r e had been noted by G i l b e r t in
1600; m a g n e t i c changes in b r a s s , l a t e r a s s o c i a t e d with
p r e c i p i t a t i o n of i r o n and the b r e a k i n g of l a t t i c e c o h e r ence by d e f o r m a t i o n , w e r e studied in the 1750's. In the
late n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , v a r i o u s cobalt and t u n g s t e n
s t e e l s were found to yield s u p e r i o r p e r m a n e n t m a g n e t s .
Equally i m p o r t a n t was the o b s e r v a t i o n of soft m a g n e t i c
m a t e r i a l s - - e s p e c i a l l y the d i s c o v e r y in 1899 of l o w - h y s t e r e s i s s i l i c o n i r o n by an I r i s h p h y s i c i s t W i l l i a m B a r r e t t m e a s u r i n g m e t a l l u r g i s t Hadfield's s a m p l e s . The
d e v e l o p m e n t of m a g n e t i c d o m a i n t h e o r y m e s h e d e a s i l y
with m e t a l l u r g i s t s ' s t r u c t u r a l thinking. Work by m e t a l l u r g i s t s on the o r i e n t a t i o n r e l a t i o n s h i p s d u r i n g p r e cipitation laid the ground for o r i e n t e d - p a r t i c l e m a g n e t s , and m e t a l l u r g i c a l knowledge of the ways in which
the topology and e n e r g y of g r a i n b o u n d a r i e s affected
t h e i r motion was behind both i m p r o v e d t r a n s f o r m e r
i r o n and soft f e r r i t e s . However, the d e v e l o p m e n t of
s e m i c o n d u c t o r s in the 1940's and 50's needed an a c q u a i n t a n c e with s t r u c t u r e in a d i f f e r e n t kind of space,
and m e t a l l u r g i s t s ' ideas were not as useful as w e r e
t h e i r f a b r i c a t i o n t e c h n i q u e s , which w e r e e s s e n t i a l .
The l e a d e r s in the study of e l e c t r i c a l p r o p e r t i e s
were all p h y s i c i s t s . It is t i m e to r e t u r n to the field
which is the p r i n c i p a l c o n t r i b u t i o n of m e t a l l u r g y to
m o d e r n s c i e n c e , n a m e l y m e t a l l o g r a p h y , the core of
which is the r e l a t i o n of m i c r o s t r u c t u r e to c o m p o s i t i o n
and p r o p e r t i e s . 1~
METALLOGRAPHY

Fig. 17--Carbon Filament lamp, Edison "A" type, 1879. This


lamp uses a filament of carbonized bristol board, and was

purged by outgassing before sealing. Note the platinum clamps


holding the ends o[ the carbon filament, the platinum/leadglass seal, and the exterior lead wires of copper wound telegraph-fashion around the platinum. Courtesy of Greenfield
Village and Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan.
1853) led, after the d i s c o v e r y of the e l e c t r o n , to f e r tile e l e c t r o n - g a s t h e o r i e s of the m e t a l l i c state, r i p e
for the i n t r o d u c t i o n of q u a n t u m t h e o r y l a t e r .
New m a t e r i a l s for the i n c a n d e s c e n t e l e c t r i c l a m p
gave a p a r t i c u l a r l i v e l i n e s s to m a t e r i a l s r e s e a r c h , but
it m u s t be noted that n e i t h e r the c a r b o n f i l a m e n t s of
1880 (Fig. 17) n o r the ductile t u n g s t e n f i l a m e n t s of
1910 were developed by p r o f e s s i o n a l m a t e r i a l s men.
Work on t u n g s t e n s e r v e d m e t a l l u r g y well by c a u s i n g
a r e n a i s s a n c e of powder m e t a l l u r g y and f o c u s s i n g
t h e o r e t i c a l attention on g r a i n shape and on g r a i n
growth m e c h a n i s m s , while E d i s o n ' s work on c a r b o n ization was an a n c e s t o r of t o d a y ' s e x t r e m e l y s t r o n g
carbon fibers.
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

The study of the m i c r o s t r u c t u r e of m e t a l s began


with Sorby in Sheffield in 1863-64 but it did not d e velop s e r i o u s l y until the eighties. As in all a r e a s of
science, contributions came from many countries.
C u r i o u s l y , not one of the i m a g i n a t i v e m e n who s t a r t e d
m e t a l l o g r a p h y in England, R u s s i a , G e r m a n y , F r a n c e
and the United States (Sorby, T s c h e r n o f f , M a r t e n s ,
Osmond and Saveur) was working in an a c a d e m i c e n v i r o n m e n t , and only in F r a n c e , where Osmond soon
moved to the U n i v e r s i t y of P a r i s , was the p i o n e e r
work followed i m m e d i a t e l y by steady d e v e l o p m e n t i n v o l v i n g other s c i e n t i s t s . 17
The e a r l i e r alloy s t u d i e s had m a i n l y s e r v e d s i m p l y
to consolidate the c h e m i c a l approach. Segregation in
ingots for coinage was the r e a s o n for the f i r s t d e t e r m i n a t i o n of an alloy c o n s t i t u t i o n d i a g r a m at t e m p e r a t u r e s i n a c c e s s i b l e to the m e r c u r y t h e r m o m e t e r - - t h e
s i l v e r - c o p p e r d i a g r a m e s t a b l i s h e d in 1874 by R o b e r t s Austen u s i n g a quenching c a l o r i m e t e r to m e a s u r e t e m p e r a t u r e s . In 1887 F l o r i s Osmond b e a u t i f u l l y c o m b i n e d
the two new t e c h n i q u e s of m i c r o s c o p i c m e t a l l o g r a p h y
and t h e r m a l a n a l y s i s in his studies of the h a r d e n i n g
m e c h a n i s m of steel. His r e s u l t s w e r e r e f i n e d into a
good i r o n - c a r b o n c o n s t i t u t i o n d i a g r a m by R o b e r t s Austen, and c o r r e c t e d to a c c o r d with the phase r u l e
by the Dutch p h y s i c a l c h e m i s t Roozeboom in 1898.
F o r the f i r s t two decades of the twentieth c e n t u r y
all advanced m e t a l l u r g i c a l work was done by people
who, though they began p r o u d l y to call t h e m s e l v e s
m e t a l l o g r a p h e r s , had b e e n t r a i n e d as c h e m i s t s , and
much of it involved the d e t e r m i n a t i o n of c o n s t i t u t i o n
d i a g r a m s of m o r e and m o r e alloy s y s t e m s . It was
VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975-619

natural for them to observe the phases present in the


microstructure, for this was a simple extension of
the macroscopic phase separation upon which all chemistry was based. Theyalso studied other features of
microcrystalline shape and texture and related them
to industrial treatment, to mechanical properties and
to service failures. It was a time of exploration,
mapping a large world of essentially unknownterritory. It confirmed the polycrystalline nature of all
metals and replaced the old fracture tests with a more
realistic measure of structure. The complexity of the
behavior of steel as well as its economic importance
invited more attention to it then to any other alloys,
with results permanently preserved in the terms used
by metallographers for their structures and for the
types of transformation that give rise to them. By 1910,
most undesirable qualities in metals, which in the analytical period of metallurgical advance had been explained simply in terms of the presence of impurities,
had been more usefully explained as due to the intergranular distribution of minor phases, which could
now often be changed because it could be seen.
By the 1930's the optical microscope had revealed
most of the features that are open to its scale of resolution, microns to millimeters. It had taken the important place in the control of industrial production
and in the investigation of failures that it still holds.
In the early fifties, metallography became quantitative
following the application of statistical geometry to twodimensional sections, and the elucidation of the role of
interface energy equilibrium provided a unified explanation for the diversity of structures that had been catalogued. In the last fifty years however, the most active
research has been related to structure at levels inaccessible to the optical microscope.
Many changes in metallurgy in the last century have
come from the discovery and practical application of
nontraditional properties. Nevertheless, the old mechanical properties were far from forgotten. At first
there were only marginal improvements based on alloying and grain size control, but a new territory was
opened with precipitation hardening. This was an empirical discovery, completely without theoretical anticipation or without any earlier uses in the arts (unless Chinese celadon and red glazes, opal glass, magnetic brass, temper brittleness or some hard dental
alloys can be so r e g a r d e d ) . It is the only method of
h a r d e n i n g m e t a l s that was not known in p r e c l a s s i c a l
t i m e s . Although s t e r l i n g s i l v e r is r e a d i l y h a r d e n e d
s i m p l y by slowly cooling after a n n e a l i n g , I have not
found a single r e f e r e n c e to a s i l v e r s m i t h ' s having n o ticed this, or even the fact that the m e t a l is m o r e m a l l e a b l e if it has b e e n quenched. The d i s c o v e r y of p r e c i p itation h a r d e n i n g , or age h a r d e n i n g as it was f i r s t
called, was made in 1906 by a G e r m a n m e t a l l u r g i s t ,
Adolf Wilm, in the c o u r s e of a m e t h o d i c a l study of
a l u m i n u m a l l o y s . This was announced in 1911 j u s t in
t i m e to p r o v i d e light a l u m i n u m alloys for the b u r g e o n ing a i r c r a f t i n d u s t r y . At f i r s t a m y s t e r y , it soon t u r n e d
m e t a l l u r g i c a l thinking to a new l e v e l of s t r u c t u r e below
that of t h e i r beloved m i c r o s c o p e . A r e a s o n a b l y c o r r e c t
explanation was provided within a decade by the g r e a t
A m e r i c a n m e t a l l u r g i s t Paul M e r i c a , and this s t i m u lated the d i s c o v e r y of m a n y alloys of other m e t a l s that
were capable of h a r d e n i n g by the s a m e m e c h a n i s m , as
well as h a r d e n i n g by s e c o n d - p h a s e d i s p e r s i o n produced
620-VOLUME 6A, APRIL 1975

by m e a n s other than t e m p e r a t u r e - d e p e n d e n t changes of


solubility.
F a r g r e a t e r changes were in s t o r e for m a t e r i a l s as
a d i r e c t c o n s e q u e n c e of changes in the n a t u r e of p h y s ics o c c u r r i n g at about the s a m e t i m e .
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
In the nineteenth century, physicists' attempts to
provide a theoretical understanding of solids had been
limited mainly to studies of the elastic anistropy of
crystals. In 1900 came the electron-gas theory of
metals which gave fair results for the relation between
thermal and electrical conductivities, but failed on specific heats. Planck's quantum theory, and the developments of it by Born, Debye, Schr6dinger, Slater and
others between 1912 and 1926 were of immense importance in establishing the theoretical basis of solidstate physics, but it was some decades before it led
to ideas that the more practical materials man could
use. Quite a different reception was accorded the discovery of X-ray diffraction, which provided for the
first time in history an experimental measure of
structure fundamental enough to appeal to the physicist and at the same time directly relatable to the diversity of material types knownto the practical user.
The first development of the field was quite different
in different countries, again demonstrating the interactive nature of nucleus-development in science.
Von Laue and his collaborators performed their
famed demonstration of diffraction with copper sulfate
in 1912. This was in Munich, and one might have expected immediate explosive interaction with the work
going on in the world's leading center of chemical
crystallography under the direction of P. Groth in the
same city. Nothingof the kind occurred, and for several years the main interest in Germany remained in
the mathematical aspects of the diffraction phenomenon itself and what it could tell about the nature of radiation-the essence of traditional physics. A quite
different view was developed in England with the work
of the W. H. Bragg and especially that of his son W. L.
Bragg, who, using elegant but simple theory, turned the
effect into the most important tool for the study of solids ever developed.TM The structure of crystals quickly
became an ideal subject for scientific research combining as it did opportunity for ingenious experimentation and mathematical analysis at both rudimentary
and highly sophisticated levels, together with clearly
envisaged areas of practical utility.
Crystal chemists and mineralogists at last had real
data on the effective sizes of atoms in different states
of ionization, and symmetry came to reside inside the
unit cell. Combiningcrystallography with new quantum
theory, the different classes of solid which the sixteenth-century iatrochemist Paracelsus has sensed as
related to this three principles of salt, sulfur, and mercury became examples of types of interatomic binding,
ionic, van de Waal's and metallic. (Regretably, Paracelsus overlooked covalent-bondeddiamond!) Eventhe
most practical metallurgist, already sensitized to the
importance of structure in general, could appreciate
the models of cubic and hexagonal lattices that were
shown to him. By 1930 X-ray diffraction equipment
was common in metallurgical laboratories throughout
the world, and advanced metallurgical thinking was
METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONSA

m a i n l y c o n c e r n e d with s t r u c t u r e on the a t o m i c level.


The m o l e c u l e , that c l u m p i n g of a few Daltonian atoms
which had d o m i n a t e d thinking to the point where it had
b e c o m e the b a s i s of a l m o s t all e x p l a n a t i o n s of p r o p e r ties of m a t e r i a l s in the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , d i s a p p e a r e d
f r o m c o n s i d e r a t i o n of i n o r g a n i c s o l i d s . It was two d e c ades before d i f f r a c t i o n t e c h n i q u e s advanced to the point
where they could deal effectively with the m o l e c u l a r
c r y s t a l s of o r g a n i c c h e m i s t r y , but e v e n t u a l l y even c o m plicated b i o l o g i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t m o l e c u l e s b e c a m e r e a l
s t r u c t u r a l a r r a n g e m e n t s in s p a c e - - a n d the hypothecated
genetic code b e c a m e the r e a l s t r u c t u r e of a m o l e c u l e .
The d e v e l o p m e n t of ideas on the s t r u c t u r e of synthetic
p o l y m e r s e v e n t u a l l y c a m e to b r i d g e the gap b e t w e e n
the n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y c h e m i s t ' s m o l e c u l e and the
e a r l y - t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y c r y s t a l , so paving the way for
the unified s t r u c t u r a l view of all m a t e r i a l s which we
see taking shape today.
The r e a l i z a t i o n of the r o l e of c r y s t a l i m p e r f e c t i o n s
was the next i m p o r t a n t phase. This began with ionic
c r y s t a l s . Somewhat i m p l a u s i b l e " m o s a i c " s t r u c t u r e s
were advanced to account for d i s c r e p a n c i e s between
t h e o r e t i c a l and e x p e r i m e n t a l i n t e n s i t i e s of diffracted
X - r a y s , but the f i r s t r e a l s u c c e s s c a m e f r o m e x p l a n a tions of the effect of r a d i a t i o n and d e p a r t u r e s f r o m
s t o i c h i o m e t r y on the color and conductivity of a l k a l i halide c r y s t a l s whose s t r u c t u r e s w e r e now well known:
e l e c t r o n i c excitons and v a c a n c i e s a n d / o r i n t e r s t i t i a l
ions in the l a t t i c e could be f o r m e d and then moved r a n domly by t h e r m a l excitation or d i r e c t i o n a l l y by g r a d i ents in e l e c t r i c a l field or c o m p o s i t i o n to give ionic
conduction or c h e m i c a l diffusion. Next the v a r i a b l e d e gree of o r d e r and d i s o r d e r in c r y s t a l l a t t i c e s of c e r t a i n
alloys was e l u c i d a t e d e x p e r i m e n t a l l y and f o r m a l l y r e lated to other c o o p e r a t i v e p h e n o m e n o n such as the f e r r o m a g n e t i c Curie point. The l a s t f o r m of i m p e r f e c t i o n
to be accepted, in m a n y ways the s i m p l e s t , was the l a t tice d i s l o c a t i o n which plays the e s s e n t i a l r o l e in the
p l a s t i c i t y of c r y s t a l l i n e m a t e r i a l s .
None of these i m p e r f e c t i o n s could have b e e n thought
of until the c r y s t a l l a t t i c e itself had b e c o m e a r e a l i t y
in thinking about m a t t e r , but once this had b e c o m e
c o m m o n they a r e all e a s i l y v i s u a l i z e d as s i m p l e local
g e o m e t r i c c o n f i g u r a t i o n s p e r s i s t i n g in a s e a of o r d e r
to which they do not c o n f o r m . They a r e the i n v e r s e of
the o r d e r e d c l u s t e r of D a l t o n ' s m o l e c u l e s in a r a n d o m
liquid. Lattice i m p e r f e c t i o n s and c o m p a r a b l e positive
and negative holes in e l e c t r o n i c e n e r g y l e v e l s in s e m i c o n d u c t o r s a r e the v e r y e s s e n c e of h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e . They cannot e x i s t at a s i n g l e level, but a r e
f o r m e d by an i n t e r a c t i o n between a local condition and
an extended o r d e r e d e n v i r o n m e n t . P h i l o s o p h i c a l l y they
m a r k e d a t u r n away f r o m the a g e - o l d c o n c e r n of the
p h y s i c a l s c i e n t i s t with idealized a t o m i s t i c o r d e r or
fully r a n d o m i z e d d i s o r d e r and they forced h i m to take
a step toward the c o m p l e x i t y of r e a l m a t e r i a l s .
This view was r e i n f o r c e d by the next e x p e r i m e n t a l
advance, the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the e l e c t r o n m i c r o s c o p e
in t h r e e s u c c e s s i v e f o r m s - - r e p l i c a , t r a n s m i s s i o n and
s c a n n i n g . These i n s t r u m e n t s r e v e a l e d the complex
n a t u r e of the p a t t e r n s of i n t e r a c t i o n between the i m p e r f e c t i o n s t h e m s e l v e s , and they have had somewhat
the s a m e effect in c o n v i n c i n g s c e p t i c s of the i m p o r tance of s t r u c t u r e and of opening an e n t i r e l y new world
to e x p e r i m e n t a l study that the optical m i c r o s c o p e had
METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSA

had in m e t a l l u r g y t h r e e q u a r t e r s of a c e n t u r y e a r l i e r
and in biology long before that.
CHANGES IN PROFESSIONAL
OUTLOOK
As we have seen, the a c t i v i t i e s of the m e n p r a c t i c ing m e t a l l u r g y were c o n t i n u a l l y modified by input f r o m
the pure s c i e n c e s , u s u a l l y in the f o r m of b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of e m p i r i c a l l y known b e h a v i o r . But the d e v e l o p m e n t of a useful c h e m i s t r y of m a t e r i a l s in the 19th
c e n t u r y changed the attitude of c h e m i s t s as well as
t h e i r o p p o r t u n i t i e s of e m p l o y m e n t . The s a m e thing
s e e m s to be happening in p h y s i c s following the d e v e l o p m e n t of a useful solid state p h y s i c s .
The new mode of thinking was e s p e c i a l l y e v i d e n t in
the e l e c t r o n i c i n d u s t r y that b u r g e o n e d after World War
II. None of the new p o s s i b i l i t i e s of s o l i d - s t a t e e l e c t r o n ics could be r e a l i z e d without the p r o d u c t i o n of m a t e r i a l s on a c o m m e r c i a l s c a l e to s t a n d a r d s of c h e m i c a l
p u r i t y and c r y s t a l l o g r a p h i c p e r f e c t i o n and i m p e r f e c tion that would have been i n c o n c e i v a b l y high only a
decade b e f o r e . Though m e t a l l u r g i s t s played an e s s e n tial p a r t in the e a r l y d e v e l o p m e n t of p r a c t i c a l s e m i conductor d e v i c e s , m o s t people engaged in such work
today like to r e g a r d t h e m s e l v e s as p h y s i c i s t s . Once
confined to an a c a d e m i c elite, the A m e r i c a n P h y s i c a l
Society now i n c l u d e s a s u b s t a n t i a l f r a c t i o n of m e m b e r s
who a r e i n d u s t r i a l l y employed, and m o r e P h . D . ' s a r e
c o n c e r n e d with solid state p h y s i c s than with any other
b r a n c h . 19 N e v e r t h e l e s s , a deep u n d e r s t a n d i n g of solid
state p h y s i c s is an e s s e n t i a l p a r t of the e q u i p m e n t of
m a t e r i a l s e n g i n e e r s , for m a n y of them m o r e i m p o r t a n t
than a knowledge of m i n i n g and s m e l t i n g with which his
p r o f e s s i o n began. A r e s h u f f l i n g of o r g a n i z a t i o n s to r e flect the new p r i o r i t i e s would s e e m to be in o r d e r , both
to allow for s t a t u s - i n f l a t i o n of p r o f e s s i o n a l t e r m i n o l o g y
of people doing useful work as well as to free a few i n dividuals f r o m the s o c i a l p r e s s u r e toward r e l e v a n c e
that r e s t r i c t s u n t r a m m e l e d thought.
Changes quite as g r e a t as those in s c i e n c e have o c c u r r e d in the e n g i n e e r i n g a s p e c t s of our p r o f e s s i o n .
The future will c e r t a i n l y see i n c r e a s e d e m p h a s i s upon
e x t r a c t i o n and p r o c e s s i n g in r e s p o n s e to the exhaustion
of high grade o r e s and the n e c e s s i t y for c o n s e r v a t i o n
of whatever a l r e a d y has been e x t r a c t e d . Indeed t h e r e
is probably, at the m o m e n t , m o r e r o o m for i m a g i n a t i v e
s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h on p r o c e s s i n g m a t e r i a l s than on
t h e i r end u s e s . M o r e o v e r , the two a r e s i m p l y p a r t s of
a c y c l e - - t h e r e is no end use. Scrap has always b e e n
r e u s e d to some extent, and the new ecology of m a t e r i als will n e c e s s i t a t e m o r e a w a r e n e s s of the whole b a l ance by the p r a c t i t i o n e r s of any one p a r t . The i n g e nuity that in the past went to e x t r a c t i n g m e t a l s f r o m
e v e r m o r e difficult o r e s will work on what is now
called r e f u s e , and the " u s e r " of m a t e r i a l s , will have
to r e a l i z e that though he m a y be at the apex, he, like
an a n i m a l in the c a r b o n cycle in n a t u r e , is c o n c e r n e d
with only one p a r t of the whole c i r c u l a t i o n . The m e t a l l u r g i s t has much to l e a r n f r o m the c h e m i c a l e n g i n e e r , for the new p r o c e s s e s will involve m o r e i n g e n i o u s r e a c t i o n s and m o r e continuous flow p r o c e s s e s
than have u s u a l l y been applied to the t r e a t m e n t of m e t als. But the c h e m i c a l e n g i n e e r h i m s e l f , a l r e a d y m a k ing p l a s t i c s , will find his i n t e r e s t s m e r g i n g with those
VOLUME 6A, APRIL I975-621

of the m e t a l l u r g i s t and the c e r a m i s t as p r o d u c e r s of


m a t e r i a l s for use r a t h e r than as i n t e r m e d i a t e c h e m i c a l s . He m a y e v e n find h i m s e l f m a k i n g cheap c o r r o s i o n - r e s i s t a n t objects of waste sulfur and sulfides.
T h e r e will i n c r e a s i n g l y be people c o n c e r n e d with
all types of m a t e r i a l s both in c o m p e t i t i o n and in coope r a t i o n . P e r h a p s the m o s t f e r t i l e field l i e s in the d e sign of m i c r o c o m p o s i t e m a t e r i a l s and of l a r g e s t r u c t u r e s m a x i m i z i n g local use of d i f f e r e n t m a t e r i a l s .
Most n a t u r a l m a t e r i a l s have a v i s i b l y h e t e r o g e n e o u s
t e x t u r e - - f o r e x a m p l e , the c r y s t a l l i n e a g g r e g a t e s of
stone, the l a m i n a t e d g r a i n of wood, or o r g a n i c a l l y
c o m p l e x a n i m a l t i s s u e s - - b u t s i m i l a r t e x t u r e in m a n made m a t e r i a l s has been h i s t o r i c a l l y r a r e , m a i n l y in
t e x t i l e s and in s o m e welded duplex s t e e l s such as
D a m a s c u s and J a p a n e s e s w o r d s . M a t e r i a l s have c o m m o n l y been o s t e n s i b l y u n i f o r m and when l o c a l l y d i f f e r ent p r o p e r t i e s were needed, d i f f e r e n t m a t e r i a l s have
b e e n c o m b i n e d by j o i n i n g in the final stage of c o n s t r u c tion. C a s t i n g s , f o r g i n g s , or s t a m p i n g s of m a n y d i f f e r ent m a t e r i a l s , or s e c t i o n s produced by drawing, r o l l ing or e x t r u s i o n might be joined into a m a c h i n e or
s t r u c t u r e , with each m a t e r i a l and f o r m s e l e c t e d to
give the b e s t c o m p r o m i s e between p r o p e r t i e s and cost
for its p a r t i c u l a r location and function. A new type of
s e m i m i c r o c o m p o s i t e m a t e r i a l b e c a m e p o s s i b l e with
the r e n a i s s a n c e of powder m e t a l l u r g y , b e g i n n i n g with
c e m e n t e d t u n g s t e n c a r b i d e cutting tools, then b r i n g i n g
c e r a m i c s and m e t a l s together in new high t e m p e r a t u r e
m a t e r i a l s , followed by p o l y m e r c o m p o s i t e s with g l a s s
and other high s t r e n g t h i n o r g a n i c f i b e r s , and e v e n t u a l l y
(with a r i c h input f r o m o r g a n i c c h e m i s t r y ) h i g h - s t r e n g t h
graphite f i b e r c o m p o s i t e s e x c e l l i n g even m e t a l s in
s t r e n g t h , the p r o p e r t y of which they had the monopoly
for m i l l e n i a . All of this is within the field of the new
materials engineer.
Another a s p e c t of the technology of c o m p o s i t e s holds,
I think, s o m e p r o m i s e for the future. When m e t a l l i c - ,
h o m o p o l a r - , i o n i c - and m o l e c u l a r - b o n d e d m a t e r i a l s
can be c o m b i n e d into a s i n g l e body and the m a n n e r of
c o m b i n a t i o n v a r i e d f r o m point to point, it b e c o m e s p o s s i b l e to design m a t e r i a l s with an i n t e r r e l a t i o n between
local p r o p e r t i e s and o v e r a l l function that f o r m e r l y
could only be achieved by welded or m e c h a n i c a l j o i n t s
or at b e s t a patchwork change of c o m p o s i t i o n or s t r u c t u r e by l o c a l i z e d diffusion or heat t r e a t m e n t . The d e s i g n e r of m a c h i n e s m a y in the future be l a r g e l y a m a t e r i a l s e n g i n e e r , both shaping the piece and a d j u s t i n g
g r a d i e n t s in c o m p o s i t i o n and s t r u c t u r e at e v e r y level
c o n t i n u o u s l y f r o m the atom to the whole device. This
will be p o s s i b l e , of c o u r s e , only after g r e a t d e v e l o p m e n t s of i n t e g r a l d e s i g n c a p a b i l i t i e s and c o m p u t e r
c o n t r o l l e d production, but it is, I think, a n a t u r a l e x t e n s i o n of the growing s k i l l s of the m a t e r i a l s e n g i n e e r
c o m b i n e d with his f e e l i n g for s t r u c t u r a l h i e r a r c h y and
it m a y be aided by the new e m p h a s i s on r e c y c l i n g p r o c e s s e s that can give powder p r o d u c t s .
M a t e r i a l s a r e s t i l l c o m p l i c a t e d beyond s c i e n c e . New
m a t e r i a l s r e q u i r e far m o r e e m p i r i c a l t e s t i n g than does
a new e l e c t r i c a l c i r c u i t or m e c h a n i c a l m e c h a n i s m , and
t h e i r d e v e l o p m e n t will continue for a long t i m e to use
s c i e n c e as a g e n e r a l b a c k g r o u n d and foundation r a t h e r
than for exact computation. S e r v i c e - r e l a t e d t e s t s , howe v e r , have a n o t h e r r o l e , for the r e s u l t s a r e u n d e r s t a n d able by the p r a c t i c a l m a n and s e r v e well to i n t r o d u c e
h i m to s c i e n t i f i c concepts, j u s t as they force t h e o r i s t s
622-VOLUME

6A,APRIL

1975

to a p p r e c i a t e the p a r t i a l i n a d e q u a c i e s of theory. I n t i mate contact with the r e a l b e h a v i o r of m a t e r i a l s m a k e s


an e x c e l l e n t b r i d g e b e t w e e n d i f f e r e n t i n t e l l e c t u a l a p p r o a c h e s , in the s a m e way that the m a t e r i a l s t h e m s e l v e s s e r v e between a s o c i a l need and its f u l f i l l m e n t ,
between an idea and its v e r i f i c a t i o n , or b e t w e e n an a r t i s t ' s intuition and the work that o t h e r s can a p p r e c i a t e .
CONCLUSION
H i s t o r i a n s and s c i e n t i s t s have some i m p o r t a n t t r a i t s
in c o m m o n : they both depend on the c r i t i c a l e v a l u a t i o n
of whatever e v i d e n c e is at hand or can be made a v a i l able, and they both tend to s e l e c t not the m o s t i m p o r tant a s p e c t s of the world (which a r e beyond i n t e l l e c t u a l
r e a c h ) but those that i n t e r e s t them p e r s o n a l l y and that
at any given t i m e appear to be r e a d y to yield new u n d e r standing. The m a t e r i a l a r t i f a c t s and the w r i t t e n s o u r c e s
on which the h i s t o r y of technology m u s t be b a s e d have
not b e e n much a r g u e d over, for the i n t e r e s t s of both
p a t r o n and s c h o l a r have c a u s e d t h e i r n e g l e c t in favor
of the m o r e i n t e l l e c t u a l side of h u m a n d e v e l o p m e n t .
However, h i s t o r i a n s of s c i e n c e a r e now t e m p e r i n g
t h e i r view of the c l e a r i n t e l l e c t u a l evolution of ideas
by a study of subtle s o c i a l i n f l u e n c e s . Many h i s t o r i a n s
have e x a m i n e d the b r o a d s o c i a l c o n s e q u e n c e s of the
m o r e famous i n v e n t i o n s , but the v a r i e d h u m a n e x p e r i ence of the t e c h n o l o g i s t h i m s e l f in d i s c o v e r y , i m p r o v e m e n t , and the building of s y s t e m s also needs to be
studied, and is p e r h a p s as i m p o r t a n t as the b e t t e r known e x p e r i e n c e of poets and p o l i t i c i a n s . More u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the m e s s i e r a s p e c t s of technology should
help s c i e n c e i t s e l f to develop a g r e a t e r i n t e r e s t in
methods of d e a l i n g with r e a l c o m p l e x i t y i n s t e a d of
s i m p l y those p a r t s that a r e e a s i l y detached for study
in i s o l a t e d p r e c i s i o n .
All a s p e c t s of h u m a n c a p a b i l i t y a r e involved in c o m plicated i n t e r a c t i o n within our changing society. One
cannot c l e a n l y s e p a r a t e a r t f r o m technology o r e i t h e r
f r o m s c i e n c e . Though s p e c i a l i z a t i o n is both e s s e n t i a l
and r e w a r d i n g to i n d i v i d u a l s and to s o c i e t y alike, it is
v i a b l y so only in a l a r g e r p a t t e r n of h o l i s t i e i n t e r a c tion. The h u m a n b e i n g is a biological o r g a n i s m within
a l a r g e r social o r g a n i z a t i o n . He has both e m o t i o n s and
i n t e l l e c t . He l e a r n s through h i s t o r y , and he plans fut u r e change in his e n v i r o n m e n t , though p o o r l y a n t i c i pating the r e s u l t s . If we a r e to u n d e r s t a n d o u r s e l v e s
b e t t e r we m u s t move f r o m o v e r l y s i m p l i s t i c i n t e l l e c tual models of s o c i e t y and i n c o r p o r a t e a m i x t u r e of
s e n s e and thought, of change, e x p e r i e n c e and e x p e r i ment, of p u r p o s e f u l n e s s and play.
If m a t e r i a l s s c i e n c e and e n g i n e e r i n g , though but a
s m a l l p a r t of the whole h u m a n e n t e r p r i s e , should, by
v i r t u e of its s p e c i a l place betwixt i n t e l l e c t u a l and p r a c t i c a l m a t t e r s and with its e m p h a s i s upon s t r u c t u r e , be
able to make a c o n t r i b u t i o n to the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the
changing s o c i a l and p h y s i c a l world within which we
live, then, p e r h a p s a new and m o r e valid a l c h e m y m a y
r i s e f r o m the s a m e s t a r t i n g point as the old, n a m e l y
the d e s i r e to place in u n i v e r s a l p e r s p e c t i v e what m e n
w o r k i n g i n t i m a t e l y with m a t e r i a l s know, feel, and u n d e r s t a n d . M e t a l l u r g y is a fully h u m a n e x p e r i e n c e .
REFERENCES
1. For earlier lectures in this series, see: Harvey Brooks, "Materials in a Steady
State World," Met. Trans., 1972, vol. 3, p. 759; Alan Cottrell, "Materials and
METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

Energy," Met. Trans., 1973, vol. 4, p. 405; James Boyd, "The Resource Trichotomy,"Met. Trans., 1974, vol. 5, p. 5.
2. Materials and Mans Needs-Summary Report of the Committee on the Survey
of Materiats Science and Engineering, Morris Cohen, ed., National Academy of
Sciences, Washington, D.C., 1973.
3. Cyril Stanley Smith: (a) "Art, Technology and Science: Notes on their
Historical Interaction," Technology and Culture, 1970, vol. 11, pp. 493-549.
Also in Perspectives in the History of Science and Technology, Duane Roller,
ed., pp. 129-65, Norman Oklahoma, 1971. (b) "Metallurgical Footnotes to the
History of Art," Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc., 1972, vol. 116, pp. 97-125, (c) "Reflections on Technology and the Decorative Arts in the Nineteenth Century" in
Technological Innovation in the Decorative Arts. WinterthurConference
Report 1973, 1. M. G. Quimby and P. A. Ear/, eds., pp. 1-64, Charlottesville, Va.,
University Press of Virginia, 1974. (d) "Historical Notes on the Coloring of
Metals" in Recent Advances in Science and Technology of Materials. Proceedings of Second Cairo Conference, 1973, Adlai Bishay, ed., vol. 11I, pp.
157-67, New York, Plenum Publishing Corp., 1975.
4. Joseph Needham and Lu Gwei-Djen: Science and Civilization in China. vol. V,
part 2, Section 33, Alchemy and Chemistry, Cambridge, 1974.
5. Ferenc Szabadvary: History of Analytical Chemistry, Oxford, 1966. The
author, however, failed to not that historically analysis led theory rather than
followed it.
6. Guyton de Morveau: "Acier." Article in Encyclopddie Methodique, C. J.
Panckoucke ed., vol. I, pp. 447-51, Paris, 1786. C. A. Vandermonde, C. L.
Berthollet, and G. Monge: "Memoire sur le fer Consider6 dans ses Differens
Stats Metalliques," Memoires Academie Royale des Sciences, 1786, pp.
132-200.
7. Tobern Bergnan and Johannes Gadohn: Dissertatio Chemica de A nalysi Ferri,
Uppsala, 1781. Note: The papers in this and the preceeding reference are given
in English translation in Sources for the History of the Science of Steel, C. S.
Smith, ed., pp. 165-348, Cambridge, Mass., 1968.
8. R. W. Douglass and S. Frank: A History of Glassmaking, London, 1972.
9. John J. Beer: The Emergence of the German Dye Industry, Urbana, Illinois,
1959.
10. Maurice P. Crosland: Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry,
Cambridge, Mass., 1962.
11. There has been no full history of the development of solid state physics. For a
preliminary look at the background see C. S. Smith: "The Prehistory of Solid
State Physics," Phys. Today, 1965, vol. 18, no. 12, pp. 18-30 and idem,
"Matter versus Materials," Science, 1968, vol. 162, pp. 637-44.
12. Phlogiston was an hypothecated almost intangible substance or principle
whose gain or loss was thought to be responsible for combustion and for the

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS A

change ofcalx to metal. The idea dominated eighteenth century chemistry


until it was abandoned after the presence and role of atmospheric oxygen
was discovered. Considered not chemically but physically, it was a sage
premonition of the valence electron, which confers metallic properties or
ionic bonding depending upon its state. The field of electronics, so flourishing
today, ought more properly to be called phlogistonics-especially so because
it depends upon metallic conduction far more than upon the insulating
properties of amber (= elektron, greek)!
13, W. James King: "The Development of Electrical Technology in the 19th
Century. 3. The Early Arc Light and Generator." Conm'butions from the
Museum of History and Technology, paper 30. U.S. National Museum Bulletin,
No. 228, 1962. The role of electrometallurgy is discussed in detail in reference
3c above.
14. Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Application oflron
to Railway Structures, 2 vols., London, 1849. Hunter Dupree: Science and the
Federal Government, Cambridge, Mass., 1957. J. E. Burke: "Bursting Boilers
and the Federal Power." Technology and Culture, 1966, vol. 7, pp. 1-23.
15. R. J. Mallet: On the Physical Conditions lnvolved in the Construction of
Artillery, London, 1856.
16. Reports of Experiments on the Strength and Other Properties of Metals for
Cannon, H. K. Craig, ed., Philadelphia, 1856. A second volume of similar title
was published in 1861 in Boston under the editorship ofT. J. Rodman. Twenty
years later came the Report of the U.S. Board for the Testing of lron, Steel
and Other Metals, 2 vols., Washington, D.C., 1881. Subsequent reports continued to be published annually by the U.S. Ordnance Bureau until 1919.
17. C. S. Smith: A History of Metallography, Chicago, 1960.
18. Paul P. Ewald: Fifty Years of X-Ray Diffraction, Utrecht, 1962.
19. B. F. Porter, etal.:Phys. Today, 1974, voi. 27, no. 4, pp. 23-26.

For the general background of metallurgy Leslie Aitchison: A History of


Metals, 2 vols., London, 1960 is excellent. For the last century, see C. S. Smith,
ed., The Sorby Centennial Symposium on the History of Metallurgy, New York,
1965. Polymers are discussed in M. Kaufman: The First Century of Plastics,
London 1963. Glass in R. W. Douglass and S. Frank: A History of Glassmaking,
London, 1972. On chemistry, J. R. Partington: A History of Chemistry, 4 vols.,
London, 1961-69, and on technology in general, Charles Singer et ai.: A History
of Technology, 5 vols., Oxford, 1954-58, are indispensable. The journal, Historical
Metallurgy, (formerly the Bulletin of the Historical Metallurgy Group), now in its
eighth year, is mainly concerned with archaeological metallurgy. Technology and
Culture covers more recent history and has an excellent annual bibliography.

VOLUME 6A, A P R I L 1975

623