A method of thermal and acid treatments was developed at the Archaeo-metallurgy Laboratory of Hongik University in Korea to extract carbon from cast iron, and carbon objects thus prepared from cast iron artifacts of ancient Korea were dated at the University of Arizona's AMS Facility. The thermal treatments consist of heating a specimen to ~1000 °C in a controlled environment with reduced oxygen potential, then cooling it rapidly to room temperature. The heating causes the cementite phase in white cast iron to be graphitized and the quenching suppresses pearlite formation. The specimen then consists of flakes of graphite embedded in a matrix of martensite. The next stage of the treatment is to dissolve the martensite matrix in a solution of nitric and hydrochloric acids to release the graphite as a powder. This material is then cleaned, dried, and pressed into target holders for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) analysis. The method was applied to a collection of artifacts from the Korean Three Kingdoms period (about AD 300-668) and the AMS results were compared with chronological estimates from other means.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)