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A term introduced by Joseph Needham in 1958 to describe a Chinese steel-making process involving the carburisation of wrought iron with liquid cast iron wrought-iron bundles and small pieces of cast iron were packed together, covered in a mixture of clay and straw, and heated in a furnace. The technique was reported as early as the 6th century AD and described in the 17th century, and documentary sources refer to guan’gang or ‘irrigated steel’, although the use of liquid cast iron has yet to be identified in archaeological material.

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