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Austenite crystallization. A blade forged from Wootz with a bright line pattern of cementite particles .

Wootz [ vuːts ], also called wootz cake or wootz bar , is the starting steel for the oriental-arabic Damascus steel . Wootz consists of low- alloy steel with a share of 1.5% carbon and - among other things - traces of vanadium or molybdenum . These traces are later important for the formation of cementite lines in Damascus steel.

The iron ore for the wootz was extracted in India. The name “Wootz” is probably a misspelling of wook as the English version of the term “ukku”, which comes from the Dravidian languages Kannada (in Karnataka ) and Telugu (in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ) and simply means “steel”. The exact original method of Wootz melting has not been handed down, but material researchers have succeeded in producing the Wootz cake with the help of natural processes.

For this purpose, high-purity iron , Sorel iron , charcoal, broken glass, green leaves and other substances were heated in a melting pot. There must be an exact mixing ratio of the starting materials iron, Sorel iron and charcoal. The carbon content in the Wootz will later depend on this.

The glass floats on the melt and seals it airtight. As a result, the carbon from the charcoal cannot burn and diffuses into the iron. At the same time, reoxidation is prevented. The leaves accelerate the carburization . Success depends on the right temperature and the right melting time.


  • Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani: Arms and Armor from Iran - The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period . LEGAT-Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-932942-22-1 .
  • Jürgen Hanneder: The "sword-like room", on the cultural history of Indian steel . Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-515-08774-5 .