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  • Fabian Rodriguez Felusch

The production of steel

Steel is a highly versatile and essential material in today's modern society. It is used in construction, transportation, manufacturing, and many other industries. Steel is becoming increasingly important; in 2021, 1951 million tons of steel were produced, compared to 189 million tons in 1950.

The production of steel is a complex process that involves several steps, from mining the raw materials to refining and casting the final product.

The first step in steel production is mining. The primary materials used in steel production are iron oreand coal. These materials are extracted from the earth through mining processes. Iron ore is typically excavated in open-pit mines, while coal is extracted from underground mines.

Once the raw materials have been mined, they undergo processing and refining to remove impurities and create a more concentrated form of iron. The iron ore is first crushed and then heated a blast furnace which runs at extremely high temperatures, typically around 1500°C, to create pig iron, which is a brittle and crude form of iron.

Then it is put into a converter. The most common type of converter is the basic oxygen furnace (BOF), which uses oxygen blown into the vessel to react with the impurities in the pig iron and remove them as slag. Oxygen is blown into the converter at high velocity, which causes a rapid oxidation reaction that removes impurities such as carbon, silicon, and manganese from the molten metal. The reaction produces a large amount of heat, which is used to keep the metal liquid.

The molten steel is then poured into molds to create various shapes and forms, depending on the intended use. After the steel is cast, it may undergo further processing, such as heat treatment, rolling, or coating, to improve its strength and appearance.Heat treatment involves subjecting the steel to elevated temperatures and then cooling it down rapidly to alter its properties. Rolling involves passing the steel through a series of rollers to shape it into various forms, such as sheets or bars. Coating involves applying a protective layer to the steel to prevent corrosion and improve its appearance.

In conclusion, the production of steel is a complex and energy-intensive process requiring many resources and complex infrastructure. However, steel is a highly valuable and important material that plays a crucial role in modern society and helps drive innovation and progress.

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