Maraging Blades--What are they?

Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by JB1J » Sat, 03 Dec 1994 05:35:26


In the thread on "the most dangerous fencing weapon", someone stated:

Quote:
>Maraging steel epee and sabre blades do exist, but for a number of
>reasons have not remained in mandatory usage.  Maraging steel, for one
>thing, has a much higher resistance (ohms, not newtons) so there was some
>problem with reliably detecting touches with electric sabre.  Now, this
>was told to me by a local sabreur so I'm taking his word on it.

My question is what exactly makes a blade a "maraging" blade?  I know that
they are supposed to break more cleanly, to lessen their ability to
penetrate your opponent, but how are they made?  Is there in fact a
different grade of steel?  Are they heat treated differently?  Why do they
cost so much more?  Why do fencers not like to use them?

I assume they have nothing to do with the oasis I occasionally see when
I'm dying of heat stroke on the strip.  :)

Jeff Boone, Parkway Fencing Club, St. Louis

 
 
 

Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by Desiree Michele Fulfo » Sun, 04 Dec 1994 04:38:15

: My question is what exactly makes a blade a "maraging" blade?  I know that
: they are supposed to break more cleanly, to lessen their ability to
: penetrate your opponent, but how are they made?  Is there in fact a
: different grade of steel?  Are they heat treated differently?  Why do they
: cost so much more?  Why do fencers not like to use them?

: I assume they have nothing to do with the oasis I occasionally see when
: I'm dying of heat stroke on the strip.  :)

: Jeff Boone, Parkway Fencing Club, St. Louis

"Maraging" steel is a metallurgical term.  As I remember, it has quite a
low carbon content, something like 0.5%.  It simply refers to a different
class of steel alloy, and maraging steel has a reputation for toughness,
durability and resistance to breakage under shearing forces.  

Its often used in bridges, cranes, etc.  "Maraging" is a composite word
formed from MARtensite + AGE + hardenING.

Ed Mou.  

 
 
 

Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by Morgan Bur » Sun, 04 Dec 1994 05:48:18

: My question is what exactly makes a blade a "maraging" blade?  I know that
: they are supposed to break more cleanly, to lessen their ability to
: penetrate your opponent, but how are they made?  Is there in fact a
: different grade of steel?  Are they heat treated differently?  Why do they
: cost so much more?  Why do fencers not like to use them?


|> "Maraging" steel is a metallurgical term.  As I remember, it has quite a
|> low carbon content, something like 0.5%.  It simply refers to a different
|> class of steel alloy, and maraging steel has a reputation for toughness,
|> durability and resistance to breakage under shearing forces.  

It has some nickel and chromium content, too.  Qualitatively, it
holds its temper well, is very resistant to rust, and is supposed
to break cleanly without any of those long spines that you sometimes
get on the cheapo blades.  I've never seen any really *** maraging
breaks, but even those clean breaks can be pretty sharp.

I find the blades tend to last me about 2 years, which is amazing
compared to the 3 months I used to get out of the regular Hostin
Plus and Allstar blades I used, which makes them a deal that I can't
refuse.  Interestingly, they seem to last EXACTLY 2 years;  my last
batch of Allstar maraging foil blades were all purchased at the same
time, and they all broke within a one month period last spring.

Unfortunately, the maragings I've found in North America tend to be
war clubs, especially the older France Lames which are so sturdy you
could probably pass them on to your grandchildren (great for club
loaners, if you ask me).  The Allstars I use are lighter, but still
pretty hefty compared to many non-FIE blades I see.  I'm told that
the Europeans keep all the nice blades to themselves, and send the
brutes over to us (or perhaps the easterners are doing it to us
west-coasters...).  Having seen some very nice maraging foils
purchased in Europe, I have to say that there may be some truth to
this.  I'm currently test-driving some Hungarian blades that purport
to be maraging for 40% less cost than German blades, but their
pedigree is dubious (although they have served me well so far).

As for maraging epees, they may not break as cleanly as the foils
due to their V-section, which may be why they are no longer required
(but I'm speculating).  I still expect that they would break less,
however.  The maraging epees that I have seen/used also fit the war
club description when compared to various lightweight cheapo brands,
which may be why many epeeists don't like them (although I haven't
personally compared them to other FIE epee blades).  I haven't seen
any maraging sabres, although they were made.  I also heard that
electrical resistance was a problem with them, but that seems dubious
since you would expect spurious white lights in foil if the blades
didn't conduct well.

-- Morgan Burke


 
 
 

Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by Dick Ki » Mon, 05 Dec 1994 07:37:15


|>
|> "Maraging" steel is a metallurgical term.  As I remember, it has quite a
|> low carbon content, something like 0.5%.  It simply refers to a different
|> class of steel alloy, and maraging steel has a reputation for toughness,
|> durability and resistance to breakage under shearing forces.  
|>  

And corrosion resistance.

None of you has ever seen a rusty Maraging blade.  None of you ever will.

When they needed to refine Uranium 235 out of Uranium during WW2, they needed
affordable piping materials that could stand up to Uranium HexaFlouride, which
is vicious stuff, even worse than the perspiration of the sweatiest epeeist who
never washes his uniform.  They used Maraging steel which was one of the
materials available in industrial quantities and strong enough.

More recently, Saddam Hussein ordered up a batch of Maraging steel.  

He wasn't allowed to buy it.  I guess nobody believed him when he announced
that he wanted to host the Mother of All Fencing Tournaments.

This [the fact that he wanted a batch of Maraging steel, and that that the
State Department thought that he wanted to refine U235 from isotopically mixed
UF6 -- not the part about the excuse ;-)] was reported in the New York Times,
about the time of the war.

-dk

 
 
 

Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by Mike Buckl » Fri, 09 Dec 1994 06:18:43


Quote:

>As for maraging epees, they may not break as cleanly as the foils
>due to their V-section, which may be why they are no longer required
>(but I'm speculating).  I still expect that they would break less,
>however.  The maraging epees that I have seen/used also fit the war
>club description when compared to various lightweight cheapo brands,
>which may be why many epeeists don't like them (although I haven't
>personally compared them to other FIE epee blades).

Well, I loved my Leon Paul maraging epee.  It finally died last week
after (you guessed it) two years.  It was the only blade I fenced with
in competition and the blade I fenced with in serious practice.  It
was definitely on its way out but I'm still mad at the gimp who
fleshed onto it and broke it.  Maraging blades do last.

As I understand it, the FIE amendment that removes the requirement
for maraging blades does not remove the requirement for FIE
homologated blades.  It is simply broadening the range of blades that
might earn that designation (e.g. the new Leon-Paul rolled blades).

As for weight, I've found little difference between FIE and non-FIE.
If you really want a whippy-flippy thing, you can get one of those
silly Russian maragings.

--

 -- Mike Buckley

 
 
 

Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by Alfred S. Brunn » Fri, 16 Dec 1994 08:32:25

Quote:

>|> "Maraging" steel is a metallurgical term.  As I remember, it has quite a

I believe this came up in this group a year or two ago. It stands for
'martenisitic aging'. I think I have the spelling wrong, but as I vaguely
recall steel metallurgy, martenisite is a certain crystal structure of
steel.

Quote:
>|> class of steel alloy, and maraging steel has a reputation for toughness,
>|> durability and resistance to breakage under shearing forces.  

It has extremely high tensile strength.

Quote:
>And corrosion resistance.

This I'm not so sure about, since I don't know what the alloy is. Stainless
steel is actually a very tough alloy, so maybe it has chromium in it.

Quote:
>materials available in industrial quantities and strong enough.

They may have used it in piping, but what it's typically used for is as
the wall material for the ultracentrifuges used for gas separation of the
U235 isotope. I believe that modern separation plants use carbon fiber
cylinders. These centrifuges spin at tens of thousands of RPM, so they have
to be immensely strong but still light.

-fb
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Maraging Blades--What are they?

Post by Desiree Michele Fulfo » Sat, 17 Dec 1994 03:10:19



: >|> "Maraging" steel is a metallurgical term.  As I remember, it has quite a

: I believe this came up in this group a year or two ago. It stands for
: 'martenisitic aging'. I think I have the spelling wrong, but as I vaguely
: recall steel metallurgy, martenisite is a certain crystal structure of

Maraging is a compound word composed of MARtensite + AGE + hardenING.  
You are right that martentise describes a certain crystal structure, though.

Ed Mou.