Sunday, May 31, 2009

Results - LAM 1 Smelt (draft)

This is a quick overview of the results of the iron smelt at Wareham by DARC on May 30, 2009. The smelting area was laid out as suggested by the archaeology of L'Anse aux Meadows. The experiment was undertaken by myself, with Ken Cook assisting and extracting the bloom. Neil Peterson and Richard Schweitzer working as strikers for consolidation.
Overall set up of the smelting area. This view corresponds to looking west into the open end of the 'Furnace Hut' at LAM.

The workspace was 3 x 3 metres square, with the smelter in the rough center of the space. The smelter was constructed of solid clay, 20 cm interior diameter, about 65 cm tall, with walls 5 cm thick (see description). Tuyere was the ceramic insert type, set at the normal 15 cm above base level, at an angle of 23 down. Air for this experiment was provided by the electric blower, volume at 640 LPM, achieving an average burn rate of 16 minutes for 2 kg. The ore used was an analog for the LAM primary bog ore, at roughly 64% Fe, with a total of 18 kg (damp weight) added. Addition amounts started at 1 kg / bucket (2 kg) charcoal, climbing to 3 kg / bucket. Total time for the primary sequence (less extended pre-heat) was 4 1/2 hours.
Close up of the LAM ore analog.

Self tapping of black iron rich slag later in the sequence.

Hot bloom just after extraction, hammering to remove 'mother' and consolidate the mass.

The result was a classic planno-convex bloom, very dense, at 4 kg weight (after initial compaction. An excellent result!
The finished bloom (tuyere side is up).

Most importantly, the test was undertaken on a clean bed of sand, which will allow recording of the debris field created by the smelt, related to the known positions of the workers. This will be able to be directly compared with the records of the L'Anse aux Meadows excavations.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Interesting results and nice bloom!

Two questions:

(1) how much slag (mass) was produced in this experiment and how much slag of various types - tapped slag, basal furnace slag)?

(2) how much clay (wt/mass) was required to build the furnace and how close are the nearest sources of good clay, suitable for this purpose, to L'Anse aux Meadows?


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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