Carbon dating metal
Carbon dating metal - bbwdating site
Doing it in a lab and collecting all the exhaust gas would be tricky, although not impossible. A carbon atom is a carbon atom, no matter what its history is.
The carbon exists in the steel as an interstitial solid solution (carbon atoms in the gaps between iron atoms) and as iron carbide, Fe C.So a 5kg sword should give up at least 5g of carbon if you're careful, and they dated the Turin Shroud with a much smaller sample than that.) In practice this is quite difficult - you'd have to collect a lot of hot gas from your liquid steel and carefully separate out the carbon dioxide.Steel is made by smelting iron ore (haematite and/or magnetite, Fe) with coke (today) or charcoal (iron-age).The rate of this decay is known, so scientists can compute when something died from what percentage of its carbon-14 has decayed. In theory, you're friends are right, you could do it.Inorganic carbon never died, and didn't take up a constant rate of carbon-14 in life as all living organisms do, and thus can't be dated this way. You may have to melt the sword to a puddle and blow oxygen through it to extract all the carbon as carbon dioxide, but you should be able to get enough carbon to perform the measurement (sword steel will be around 0.1-0.8% carbon by weight.It wouldn't matter that the carbon was inorganic if it had a recent organic origin.
Not more than 10 min ago, I was reading in my brand new edition of the American Chemical Society's "Chemical and Engineering News.. A research group at Texas A&M are using low pressure, low temperature (1 torr, 150 degrees C)oxygen plasmas to NONDESTRUCTIVELY extract miniscule amounts of carbon (0.1 milligrams)from samples to carbon date them.
When you heat it, the carbide dissolves and the carbon all goes into solution.
Blowing oxygen into molten iron is the current most popular method of reducing the carbon content of blast-furnace iron, but is done on a massive scale.
The carbon-14 clock in that coal started a long, long time ago.
By now too much of the carbon-14 has decayed to be able to date the material. The dating process measures when the item stopped being exposed to atmospheric carbon.
Some think that you could at least tell when the wood was cut that was used for the smelting and forging. After some more thought I can see where you are gong with your question, but I think that the answer is still "No you can't date it". Charcoal, if you had some, could be dated to when the wood was burnt. This site is good for understanding the basics of smelting in the middle ages.