The Process of How Iron Is Made

Here's How

Iron is Made


How Iron Is Made
By: The Working Man

In order to create iron you have to mine it from the earth. Then
it must be smelted down and all impurities removed. From there
you have to remove the oxygen that is part of iron to create pure
iron. People used to use charcoal forges that cause the release
of carbon while the iron is melting.

A bloomery is the most primitive of iron refineries that is still
in operation today. In a bloomery they burn charcoal that
releases carbon which binds to the oxygen in the iron creating
carbon monoxide gas that is then carried away from the iron. This
creates a lot of heat and burns fast and hot. The end result is
pure iron without any oxygen.

The bloomery heats iron up so that it is spongy and workable.
Silicates are left within the iron and once the iron is spongy it
is then hammered to create wrought iron. Wrought iron is
extremely workable and Blacksmiths can do just about any type of
iron work they want with wrought iron.

Today Blast Furnaces are used to smelt iron into pig iron. They
charge the blast furnace with iron ore, charcoal coke and
limestone. It is then heated and huge quantities of air blasts
into the bottom of the furnace. Blast furnaces can reach three
thousand degrees Fahrenheit (five hundred thirty-eight degrees
Celsius) at the center of the furnace.

In the furnace the calcium and limestone inherent in the iron
combine with silicates to create slag which floats on top of the
liquid iron that collects in the bottom of the furnace. When
enough of the impurities have been burned out of the iron, it is
allowed to flow out through a special channel and cool.

The flow of liquid iron is usually channeled into indentations in
a bed of sand. Once cool it is called pig iron. Pig iron is
useless by itself, being too hard and brittle. If it is heated up
again and then hammered to get out most of the carbon it becomes
wrought iron. Or they can remove most of the impurities out of
iron and create steel.

This process of creating pig iron is used to create vast amounts
of iron that can eventually be worked quickly and efficiently by
the blacksmith or iron worker without first having to get out all
the impurities of the iron.

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