In 1187, a vast Arabian army lead by the legendary Kurdish general Saladin annihilated a large Crusader army, including a battalion of well-armoured knights, at an infamous battle known as the “Horns of Hattin”. When battle ceased, over 15,000 Crusaders lay dead with only a handful of casualties on Saladin’s side. The secret to Saladin’s stunning victory? Nanotechnology. Saladin’s army was equipped with blades forged from ‘Damascus Steel’. These blades were renowned across the world for their mythical strength and sharpness, and were stronger than even the toughest of European armour.
Only in the last few years have the secrets of the famed ‘Damascus Steel’ been revealed. Crystallography studies have shown that nanowires and carbon nanotubes were incorporated into the structure of the metal during the forging process, giving it its strength. It seems that 800 years ago, albeit unwittingly, Arabian swordsmiths had taken the first steps into the world of nanotechnology. Read more »