A knife is a handheld tool with a sharp blade used for cutting. Knives usually have a fixed or folding blade and the type of construction depends on the intended use of the tool. They have a number of important uses, but in modern society they are most commonly used for cutting food items. Knives are believed to be one of the first tools invented by humans and were probably made from a variety of hard rock. The construction of modern knives has come a long way from this point.
What are knives made of?
Modern knives are made from a number of different materials. In many cases the blade and handle are made of two separate materials, which are joined together.
The most common materials used for the blade are carbon steel, stainless steel, high carbon stainless steel, titanium and ceramics. These materials all have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, carbon metal is sharp, but is prone to rusting and staining. A combination knife blade, created by combining multiple metals, is popular because it allows the knife to have the benefits of two different materials. Disposable knives are made from plastic and are usually thrown away after a single use.
Knife handles are made out of a variety of different materials and each have their positives and negatives. Plastic and reinforced plastic handles are most commonly used today. These are easy to care for, but may be slippery in certain conditions. Wood handles are also used, but the wood may be susceptible to water damage and harbor bacteria. Rubber handles are also popular because they are durable and comfortable to use. Micarta, a composite of a number of materials, is also popular because it resists water while remaining easy to grip when wet. Metals such as stainless steel or aluminum are also widely used, but are slippery when wet.
Did you know?
Knife handles were once made from animal products such as bone, ivory, antler, horn, pearl. However, this practice is no longer common.