The Iron Pillar of Delhi

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Archaeology' started by Rowan2222, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Rowan2222

    Rowan2222
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    It doesn't look like much - just another monument.
    [​IMG]

    But if anyone has an engineering background it is a little more interesting. It is made of iron, and weighs approx 13,000 lbs, but despite being out in all weathers for over 1500 years - it isn't rusting!

    There is an inscription at eye height around it, and from the text that is dated at around AD450 - but it's also possible this was added later.

    It's 23 feet 8 inches tall, and 16" diameter.
    It has been studied, and does not appear to have been cast in one piece, but it is said that smaller pieces of iron have been hammered together to make it. But if that was true, then the impurities would likely make it very blotchy as not all pieces would be the same composition?

    Nobody has actually said how it was made - or the heat and equipment needed to make it, plus there is nothing else smaller of the same date showing the same technology?

    On the top sits a form of hat. No idea why but seems as a different piece - or pieces.

    So- an iron pillar over 1500 years old and not rusting....Why don't we use this stuff now??? Yes we do have stainless steel, but that contains chromium and as far as I can see - this pillar doesn't.

    This is just one more anomaly in a long list of ancient artefacts around the world that makes no sense.
    Unless...
    Remember the Baghdad battery?
    - Big pot...Iron core?
    What if this is the core of a larger battery?

    Also from my own research. What if this was actually stolen from inside the great Pyramid? It hung around a bit as a trophy, then, putting it to a better use they inscribed it as a tomb marker and placed it on a hillside to honour a king? Sounds plausible.

    The only access to the great pyramid at the time the others were being built was the descending shaft down to below the bedrock.
    In that area there is a pit - that nobody knows much about other than it is a well type hole - but no water has ever been seen so it is just a hole under the great pyramid in the basement.

    Do you think this iron rod would fit in that hole? It does!
    I did the calculations to see if the length would be able to rotate from horizontal to vertical to fit into it without hitting the roof - and it does. Even though the pit is not that deep, there is room to fit it in there.
    So it is technically possible to fit this into that pit and wire it up as a battery.
    If you think that all electricity needs a return path and another outer conductor - you are right, but it is also possible to build an "earth battery" - where the outer conductor is the earth itself, but would also be possible to wrap it in copper with a normal electrolyte and make a massive cell out of it.

    Food for thought.
     
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  2. Duke

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    That's very cool, I'd never heard of this before. You got me curious, I started looking in various Indian science and engineering journals and found the attached technical paper. Sounds like the reason for the lack of rust is understood, but no way I could explain it. I had a materials laboratory to rely on, so this level of material science was Greek to me until they dumbed it down for me.

    Thanks for posting this.
     

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  3. Rowan2222

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    Thanks for the paper as I had no seen that, but it does hint that it is possible the surface coating could be due to exposure to an alkaline environment, presumably over a long time. -that could hint at a NiFe battery - still one of the best long term rechargeable chemistries out there.

    Like usual they just say 100 monkeys with 100 hammers made it perfectly round from some unknown iron compound. - But something we can't seem to replicate today.
     
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  4. Duke

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    This reminds me of a story within the Duke family history. My Dad told us about his grandmother being able to "rainproof" work clothes back in the early 1900s. This was on a farm back in the hills, and was a byproduct of her washing the clothes. She would boil water over an open fire in what was a cauldron of some kind, put in the clothes to be cleaned, then add various "potions" and other things to the mix. She'd stir them for a while, then remove them and hang them on a clothes line to dry. The result was the clothes (mostly bibbed overalls and flannel type shirts) would repel rain, and to a lesser degree, dirt.

    My grandmother and my Dad's oldest sister saw great granny wash clothes many times, but never were able to replicate this result later in life. Apparently there was some ingredient(s) that produced the effect, and they missed it. I've researched this to try to determine if it was some hillbilly ScotchGard process, but can find no mention of it. Even tried a couple Appalachian museums to see what they could tell us, but have never found the answer.
     
    #4 Duke, Jun 19, 2019
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  5. Rowan2222

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    I can help you there as I own an old landrover, and two summers ago converted it to a soft top -with canvas roof.
    This led me down a path to find out what was used to waterproof it originally. There are some canvas canoes made of the same material and they are 100% waterproof!
    The original military version was rotproof as well, but have had to change because it contained copper and that is deemed bad now.
    But for your simple waterproofing it was Iron Alum (Aluminium sulphate) added to the water first - this is important. This then soaks into the fibres quite easily. The clothes are then drained and mostly wrung out. After that they are simply washed in soap water. Soap is Sodium Stearate. When the two products combine they form Aluminium Stearate inside the fibres. This is also known as fanning powder for playing cards, but is hydrophobic, and slightly waxy in feel. The clothes are then ironed which presses the fibres closer together and renders them waterproof (if a little stiff). When used on a close weave "Duck" canvas it makes it completely waterproof, and as a byproduct also fire retardant.

    Try it on a handkerchief or cotton sheet.
    To work properly the fabric needs to be close weave in the first place, and threads need to be cotton or cotton covered. The copper sulphate used originally as a mix with the aluminium sulphate gave the material a green / blue tint as seen on most military canvas - which was another bonus, as well as making it rot proof as it was a natural fungicide.
     
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  6. Duke

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    Not sure where she would have gotten aluminum sulfate in the hills of Kentucky in the early 1900s, she certainly didn't buy it. Would there have been a natural source for the compound? The soap used would have been home made lye soap, made from leftover cooking fat. I'm also fairly certain they didn't iron the clothing, although it's possible since they did have an iron that would have been heated by setting it atop the wood burning cook stove.
     
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  7. jadamz

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    hmmmm verry interesting reading this!
     
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  8. Rowan2222

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    Aluminium sulphate - commonly called Alum - used for deodorant, or shaving stick to stop bleeding after shaving, treating water, in medicine and cooking.
    Most people could buy soap..
     
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  9. Duke

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    Ok, I know what alum is. Very doubtful great granny would have had access to alum, so odds are not good she used the process you described. Still a mystery.
     
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  10. Donna K.

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    Actually, in the early 1900's... many people could not buy soap. And those that could, didn't want to. There was simply no need and it was considered frivolous to buy what you could make... not counting the major mistrust of using something that was loaded with stuff you didn't like the sound of. If you think about it, they were right on both counts.

    When you are talking about mountainous regions... you can double down on that. Hill People's had everything they needed at their fingertips so to speak, and their mistrust of any outsiders landed more than a few of those outsider's (Revenuer's one and all) down deep holes from which they didn't return.

    When I first moved here, deep in the Ozark Mountain's in 1985, the Old Timer's still held a lot of the knowledge passed down through generations on many MANY thing's that are lost to the world now. From medicines to cleaning aids and everything in between. I would assume Duke, that your granny used botanical's to make her rain repellent.
     
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