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softer, and is liable to distortion in the ovens for that reason.

Now of the bodies solidified by cold which are made up both of earth

and water but in which the earth preponderates, those which solidify

by the departure of heat melt by heat when it enters into them

again; this is the case with frozen mud. But those which solidify by

refrigeration, where all the moisture has gone off in vapour with

the heat, like iron and horn, cannot be dissolved except by

excessive heat, but they can be softened-though manufactured iron does

melt, to the point of becoming fluid and then solidifying again.

This is how steel is made. The dross sinks to the bottom and is

purged away: when this has been done often and the metal is pure we

have steel. The process is not repeated often because the purification

of the metal involves great waste and loss of weight. But the iron

that has less dross is the better iron. The stone pyrimachus, too,

melts and forms into drops and becomes fluid; after having been in a

fluid state it solidifies and becomes hard again. Millstones, too,

melt and become fluid: when the fluid mass begins to solidify it is

black but its consistency comes to be like that of lime. and earth,


Of the bodies which are solidified by dry heat some are insoluble,

others are dissolved by liquid. Pottery and some kinds of stone that

are formed out of earth burnt up by fire, such as millstones, cannot

be dissolved. Natron and salt are soluble by liquid, but not all

liquid but only such as is cold. Hence water and any of its

varieties melt them, but oil does not. For the opposite of the dry-hot

is the cold-moist and what the one solidified the other will dissolve,

and so opposites will have opposite effects.


If a body contains more water than earth fire only thickens it: if

it contains more earth fire solidifies it. Hence natron and salt and

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