Sunday, January 11, 2015

Aluminum, Aliens (7): They Found It Where??

The Wedge of Aiud

In an attempt to narrow down where the "Wedge of Aiud" was found, I've been searching for other Romanian sources. There are reports of the "Object of Aiud" that either fill-in (or just make up) a few details that had been lacking. Google Translate is an amazing thing! Start your search with "calcaiul de la Aiud" or "Obiectul din Aiud" and translate the page from Google.

To review; the "Object of Aiud" (more recently referred to as the "Heel" [Calcauil]) was found at the bottom of an excavation "wrapped" in sand, along with 2 mastodon bones. It was sent for metallurgical tests, which came back (*) with a designation of earthly 2000 series Aluminum. (Al-Cu-Si).

*The 'magic' changing alloy will be covered in the next blog.

Clamshell Excavator Bucket

The reason they say Aliens (or Time Travellors) must be the source of the object, is that "specialists" assessed the 1 millimetre aloxide layer at anywhere from 400 years to 1 million years old. Aluminum has only existed as a manufactured material for 150 years. The Wedge's alloy (as it stood before recent tests) was said to not be a standard earth alloy (even though it is) and a further metallurgical test came back with a different alloy - also called impossible by Romanian "experts". Other "experts" that the original author showed the object to identified it as a piece of landing gear, whether the foot itself or a flange. Unfortunately they didn't ask anyone in the construction industry, or they might have been told that it looks very much like a non-sparking excavator bucket tooth - most likely a clamshell bucket.

Wedge - Side View

Previously, I've pointed out in this blog that the 2000 series aluminum alloy has a poor resistance to corrosion, because the grain structure essentially creates a galvanic reaction (a battery, more or less) within the metal that promotes anodic corrosion, so estimates of age are fraught with errors. (Look up "Galvanic Table" for a quick lesson in not joining dissimilar metals.)

Further, the analysis would need to take into account the pH of the soil, the abrasion that the object was subject to, the amount of water and oxygen it was exposed to and its temperature. I could very quickly give a piece of Aluminum a similar patina just by dropping it in some TSP - (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) - no "hairy rhinoceros" bones necessary.

Where Was It Found?

More detailed publications say that the aluminum object was found in a "sand quarry" 2 kilometres east of Aiud. Most reports are still saying 10 meters down in the sand. One cites 10 feet under water. But really, why were they digging that deep? Was it a quarry, a bridge footings project, a coal mine or was it linked to the salt mine in Ocra Mures, 20 miles to the east that later flooded, subsided and then swallowed the town in 1978? Regardless, some specialized equipment would be needed to dig ten meters down, unless it was an open pit.

Metalurgica Aiud, with the Mures River in the background. Notice the large excavation site in the background.

Looking on Google earth, I see a number of old industrial sites on the banks of the Mures river. Not the least of which is the Melaturgica Auid foundry and metal works. It's hard not to speculate that the Aluminum casting was made there for local use in digging equipment, or as a spare part for triple-A spacecraft repairs.

Metalurgica Aiud has stood more or less on the soil it was founded on in the 19th century, where they started making parts for locks and graduated to military equipment and spare parts for locomotives, mining, and engineering projects. It is also 2 kilometres east of Aiud.

It seems a strange coincidence that an item of questionable alloy and "aging" was found at or near the location of the Alba Lulia region's major metal foundry. What is stranger is that a region with a history of metalwork had such a poor understanding of materials science

For example, the original article backs up the age of the object in many flawed ways.

"This aluminum body must therefore have been in the river deposits - probably thousands of years... Even the segregation of the alloy's constituents had begun, and they had partially regained their own original crystal structure."

I can only guess they are talking about the grain structure formed by doping agents. But this also occurs during heat treatment. Heat treatment would be necessary to produce a durable aluminum part - whether it was for an excavator or a spacecraft. (Or possibly a space excavator.)

Heat treatment in a nutshell: We've all seen a blacksmith "quench" red hot steel in water (or more likely brine) to increase the hardness of the metal, locking it in the harder form of martensite. Aluminum, on the other hand, is strengthened by "annealing". This process is simply the reverse of hardening steel. Heat up the Aluminum to a preset temperature lower than melting, and keep it there for a prescribed period of time, then allow it to cool gradually (in air, ash, or a kiln) rather than suddenly as with steel. This will force the "crystal structure" to precipitate, or form quickly, rather than over days or years - and strengthening the Aluminum immensely. This is part of the process is actually called "aging" and has so many variables that the chronological age will not be determined just by looking at the grain structure, as the engineers ("Ing", in Romanian) claim to with the wedge of Aiud.

Grain structure in Aluminum Alloy.

In reality, what would have supported the veracity of the "Alien Artifact" claims would be the original documentation of the find, pictures of the wedge "in situ", geologic records of the age of the sediments and the glacial record in the area, and hey, how about the mastodon bones? All of these records have been lost as the Museum is "closed indefinitely" due to construction. All that remains is the aluminum object itself in a display case in Clujean-Napoca. And without academic backup, the wedge is worth no more than its value as scrap.


Here is a jumping off point for further reseach - the sand where the wedge was said to be found is river sediments, most probably linked to the last glacial maximum. If the wedge is 250,000 years old, where did it start out before the wandering Mures river and bulldozing glaciers rearranged the landscape 10 to 15 thousand years ago? It certainly wouldn't have anything but luck in common with the mammoth bones that were 235,000 years younger. So much for a close encounter of the hairy kind. If the authors of articles that support the "Ancient Aliens" hypothesis could just be consistent in themselves, their story might be more believable.











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