A neutron diffraction study on 6 Middle Bronze Age axes, cast from tin bronze or from arsenical copper, has been carried out using the ENGIN-X beamline at ISIS. The gauge volumes dimensions were 4x4x10mm3; data were collected along the lengths of the objects in their central parts, as well as on the blades, in order to establish the spatial phase contents. Average phase fractions were determined by Rietveld analysis. The main phases identified were solid solutions, corrosion phases and metallic Pb inclusions. We have observed distributions of lattice constants of the solid solutions Cu-Sn, and Cu-As inside each gauge volume in the central parts of the axes due to segregation, or liquation effects. However, the Cu-Sn variations were significantly less pronounced in comparison with typical inhomogeneity effects in as cast objects. The results indicate that the studied Middle Bronze Age axes were probably treated at high temperatures for homogenization necessary for generating sufficient hardness, especially on the blades.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (all)