Saturday, August 27, 2016

Can a Sword Really Cut Through a Rock?

Imagine you become the greatest swordsman in the world and your blacksmith is the best sword maker that has ever lived. However, for so many years now, the sword maker has been failing to create a perfect sword that can cut through anything, including a rock. Whenever he makes an effort, he fails and the sword doesn’t achieve its intended aim. It’s probably not strong enough, or you aren't applying the right degree of force. 

For many years there has been a controversy which borders on whether a sword can cut through a rock. Many people have stated that it is not possible to cut a stone with a sword without damaging the sword. In most cases, the sword may be destroyed and will shatter into tiny pieces, and this may injure you and those around you. Some others claim that the sword may successfully break off parts of the rock but could never cut through.

Modern technology hasn’t been able to make a breakthrough in this aspect. Let us take a long trip down memory lane. 

A remarkably strong sword which was recorded in history includes the works of “Masamune”. The Masamune is the greatest sword in the world. It was made by the greatest swordsmith in Japan, Priest Goro Nyudo Masamune (1264-1343). The swordsmith reached a legendary status in his lifetime and his creations had a reputation for superior quality and beauty. He was a swordsmith for swords(Tachi) and daggers (Tanto). He was also a teacher and he successfully trained 15 swordsmiths in the art of sword making and ten of them are called the “Juttetsu” or the disciples of Masamune. 

Masamune made most of the swords in the 13th and 14th century. The Japanese sword making competition awards the greatest swordsman of the competition the Masamune. 
Masamune made his sword through the art of “nie”. This refers to the art of embedding martensitic crystal in pearlite matrix. Martensite is a particular type of steel. It’s one of the firmest forms of steel crystalline in the world. It also includes a class of hard minerals that look like crystal grains. 

The blades he made were of exceptional value. They created the Masamune series. Some of the swords made in the Masamune name include:

• Honjo Masamune 
• Fudo Masamune 
• Houcho Masamune 
• Kotegiri Masamune 

They often represented the Shogunate and passed down from one Shogun to another. One of his swords named the Honjo Masamune in 1939 was believed to be the greatest sword ever made. 

What would it take to cut through a rock with a sword? 

With one of the swords in this series, Houcho Masamune, a macho man weighing about 200kg with height 180cm can cut through a rock if he strikes at the force of 147,475 lb. This denotes extremely high strength from a strong man wielding the strongest sword in the world.
He’d be able to cut clean through the rock, however, the possibility of the swordsman getting the exact strike is very unlikely. If he manages to do this successfully, it may destroy the sword beyond recognition and make it useless afterward.

This is just a theory from mathematical calculations and it has not been attempted in recent times. If we are to depend on the laws of physics, then it is evident that there is a 99% possibility of a Honjo Masamune cutting through a rock. 

In our modern society, with the persistent increase in technological advancements, there is nothing that cannot be scientifically tested and proven. Thus, it’d be prejudicial to conclude that something is impossible until it has been put through the required scientific process and enough empirical evidence demonstrates that it’s not possible. The search for Knowledge is continuous and as such, if we base our expectations only on what we know then we would blind our minds to the possibility of a new reality. 

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