A couple of articles on Delhi Iron Pillar

Prof. Bala is no stranger to this blog; nor are his pieces on archaeometallurgy; he alerts me about a couple of papers on Delhi Iron Pilalr that he published, recently, in Current Science.

The first one is about the materials science aspects of cannon ball impact on iron pillar (pdf):

The Delhi Iron Pillar was struck by a cannon ball with the specific aim of breaking the pillar into two. The history of the cannon ball strike has been traced briefly. The trajectory of the cannon ball has been established from the surface features of cannon ball indentation area as well as from the direction of shock wave propagation. The materials science aspects related to the pillar’s response to the cannon ball strike have been explained. The nature and origin of cracks surrounding the cannon ball indentation area have been analysed. Visual evidences have been provided to support the sequence of events that followed the cannon ball impact, in a time period of about a microsecond. These included intense plastic deformation leading to creation and propagation of plastic shock wave, initiation of crack at the rear, spallation of material, horizontal propagation of the main crack, and finally branching of the main crack along lump-lump interfaces. The analysis concludes that the fracture of the pillar was avoided by deflection of the propagating horizontal crack that originated from the rear end, diametrically opposite the cannon impact area, along the axial direction of the Pillar through the lump-lump interfaces.

As you might have guessed from the abstract, it might be of interest to the materials science oriented readers of this blog.

The second paper is on a sort of dimensional analysis of the Delhi Iron Pillar and the ratios of some of the numbers that appear in such an analysis (pdf):

The dimensions of the 1600-year-old Delhi Iron Pillar have been re-analysed in light of new scholarship on the traditional Indian unit of measurement. The dimensions of the pillar can be well reconciled considering the basic unit of measurement as 17.63mm. The low percentage errors between the theoretical and actual measurements provide further support to this analysis. The significant mathematical ratios embedded in the relative dimensions of the pillar have also been set forth. The close association of the basic unit of measurement and the mathematical ratios with those of the Harappan civilization offers evidence for continuity of scientific ideas and traditions from the Harappan civilization to the Ganga civilization. Analysis of the dimensions of the characters of the Gupta-Brahmi inscription revealed the possible use of the decimal system.

This paper might be of more general interest, and some of the reported results are very intriguing, to say the least.

Have fun!


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2 Responses to “A couple of articles on Delhi Iron Pillar”

  1. On the Delhi Iron Pillar « Delhi Days Says:

    […] September 28, 2008 · No Comments From this interesting blog […]

  2. Bala: RIP « Entertaining Research Says:

    […] By Guru I have written about Bala in this blog here, here and here. His enthusiasm was infectious and my interactions with him — both in person […]

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