Professor John Verhoeven contacted me recently about a small study he did about how razor blades dull. Dr. Verhoeven is well known in the knife community for writing Steel Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, a now classic text introducing metallurgy to knifemakers and bladesmiths. And for his work on Wootz Damascus; I reviewed his book Damascus steel Swords: Solving the Mystery of How to Make Them. This recent study on razor blades was to look at the contribution of micro-chipping on the dulling of razor blades, as a popular journal article recently came out on this mechanism, published in Science. I found Professor Verhoeven’s findings very interesting and offered to publish them on this website. So enough of my commentary, on to his article.
Razor blades can dull by 4 mechanisms, corrosion of the steel, wear from contact with whiskers, formation of evaporites due to inadequate drying and the microchipping formation produced by contacts with whiskers. The last mechanism was only recently discovered  and the purpose of this study was to determine if microchip formation plays a significant role in dulling razor blades during shaving. Experiments have been carried out with properly cleaned blades showing that after as many as 140 shaves the fraction of the blade length occupied by microchips was still not sufficient to give rise to a significant reduction in shaving smoothness.
Professor Verhoeven provided the scientific knowledge to go with Al Pendray’s decades of smithing experience when the pair first recreated Wootz.View Linked Article