How is Steel Made?
Steel is one of the most popular building materials in the world. At Ever-Roll, we use it in wire ring fabrication, tube bending, and more. Steel is affordable, durable, and dense. Thanks to its strength, you don’t need to use as much of it when as you would other materials, saving on material, space, and weight.
So how exactly does this wonderful material come about? To understand what makes steel so great, you need to know how it’s made.
Where Does Steel Come From?
Unlike iron or aluminum, steel is not a metal you will find on the periodic table. That’s because steel is an alloy, meaning it’s made up of multiple elements and metals. In this case, steel comes from a combination of iron and carbon, and occasionally, a few other elements.
Of course, mixing metals and elements together isn’t easy. To do so, you need a lot of heat and a controlled environment.
How is It Made?
It starts with iron. Raw iron ore is mined from one of 50 or so countries around the world. Then, coal is taken and converted to coke, which is almost pure carbon. Once it’s ready, the coke is fed into a blast furnace with iron ore and some other materials such as limestone.
The iron ore is smelted, removing impurities as it mixes with the carbon. Once the materials are melted together and freed of foreign particles, a tap hole is opened at the bottom of the furnace, draining out molten iron while filtering the floating impurities.
From there, the iron is typically placed in an oxygen furnace along with a small amount of steel scrap and flux (a substance that lowers the melting point of the material). Then, 99% pure oxygen is introduced as the temperatures is raised to roughly 1700°C.
Scrap and impurities are oxidized while the carbon content is reduced by 90%. The result is liquid steel.
From there, depending on needs and specifications, a few more elements made be introduced or additional processes might be applied.
But all in all, that’s how steel is made. Purified iron and nearly pure carbon are brought together in high-heat, mixed with oxygen, and you have steel.
If you’re in need of any of our fabricated steel products, make sure to contact us today. We use the highest quality steel and modern welding practices to ensure a superior end-product.
bent on perfection.
bent on perfection.