National Museum of Transylvanian History, Cluj-Napoca
Wikipedia page : http://ro.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzeul_Național_de_Istorie_a_Transilvaniei
From their wiki page: (A Translation from Romanian)
"One of the most outstanding exhibits is a metallic object discovered in 1973 near Aiud in the same soil strata as mastodon bones. It closely resembled a landing gear leg and analysis found it enclosed in a yellowish-white oxide layer over a millimeter thick. It concluded that the wedge has existed for 250,000 years. After scientific analysis, in addition to the main metal, aluminum, the wedge contains small amounts of copper, zinc, cobalt, zirconium, these metals were discovered and used relatively recently (1735-1825). This tin in the alloy makes this piece metallurgically impossible even for today."
Well, the wedge has gotten older again. Apparently there are no material scientists or engineers in Romania. They also missed the fact that the third most abundant metal in the alloy is Silicon; while Cobalt is at so low a level (1 part in 45,000) that it most likely a contaminant. For example, where Cobalt is used, (in aluminum-iron-silicon alloy) it is typically between 0.2 and 1.9% of the alloy - that's far more than 0.0023%!
Tin "makes this piece metallurgically impossible"? Just because they say it, doesn't make it so. This is the second link I've found that says this alloy is not found on modern day earth - and they're wrong both times - as I've previously pointed out. Tin makes up 0.33% of the Wedge, according to their own laboratory findings, and manufacturers have been using it in Aluminum Alloys for decades.
Check this quote:
"Tin is used as an alloying addition to aluminum - from concentrations of 0.03% to several percent in wrought alloys, to concentrations of about 25% in casting alloys. Small amounts of Tin (0.05%) greatly increase the response of aluminum-copper alloys to artificial aging following a solution heat treatment. The result is an increase in strength and an improvement in corrosion resistance. Higher concentrations of Tin cause hot cracking in aluminum copper alloys. If small amounts of magnesium are present, the artificial aging characteristics are markedly reduced, probably because magnesium and Tin form a noncoherent second phase." Pg 45, "Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys" editted by Joseph R. Davis. ASTM International, 1993.
Considering that this is from their own wiki page, I wonder what the scam is. Or has the joke been played on them as well?
The mystery of the Wedge of Aiud is quickly becoming less of a "What is it?" And more of a "Why is it?"