How is Iron and Steel Made? Essay Sample

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Iron is made using a blast furnace see below:

1. The three raw materials needed to make iron are added into the top of the furnace.

These are:

i) Iron ore – found in rocks. This is a gross raw material as it looses weight on being manufactured.

ii) Coal – Dug from under the ground in from either “Adit” mines or “Deep shaft” mines. This is needed to heat the furnace.

iii) Limestone – Dug from pits similar to the iron ore, this is needed to separate the iron ore from the rocks.

2. Hot air is then added into the furnace

3. The waste material called slag is ejected from the sides of the furnace (this can be used later as a base for roads as it is very hard).

4. Molten iron pours out of the blast furnace into ingots of iron called pigs as they look like piglets suckling on their mother!

At this stage this “pig iron” is very brittle and would break if dropped

Some of the iron is now moulded into ingots and sold, but the majority is either cast into other things or turned into steel.

Molten iron is fed into a machine called a “converter” (pictured left). Then with a pipe called a lance oxygen is blown through the iron to create steel. Most of this operation is controlled in a control room.

This steel is then ready to be moulded in the rolling mill. (Pictured left)

Then the steel can be sold.

Stage 1

This is the first site looked at on the video it was one of the earliest iron forging centres in England. It originates from over 200 years ago. It would have properly looked similar to this mill pictured right. Here the raw materials were harvested nearby the trees were cut down to produce charcoal, and lime stone and iron ore were dug from nearby pits and mines.

The large metal hammer known as a forge was driven by the water wheel out side. The mill would be built near a river and water would be channelled away down a man made stream and into the mill to power the water wheel.

Stage 2

At the next location there is lack of wood for use as fuel so I new fuel had to be found. Coal was the answer. This more modern iron mill was situated near a valley that in its walls contained both coal and limestone. This diagram illustrates this. Miners would dig into the hill to harness the coal. This changed the shape of not only the landscape but the face of mining for ever. This led to an expansion in industry, because the raw materials could be mined on the spot. Areas such as Sheffield became very industrial very quickly because it had a constant supply of coal in the Yorkshire – Nottingham coalfield. It was also very accessible as it was surrounded by rivers that served as a form of transport.

Stage 3

This location looked at a modern iron and steel mill. Situated on the coast the reason for this being that most of the modern day iron ore is mined overseas and shipped to countries by ships. For example in places like Sweden many mountains have been mined for their iron ore content, also in many remote places like villages 150 miles north of the arctic circle. Because of these remote locations many settlements have been established to supply workers to these mines.

This is a picture of a mining town in Japan. In places like Western Australia whole mountain tops have been destroyed. 75 % of the worlds iron ore comes from Japan, Australia, and India alone. Japan is the 3rd largest producer of iron ore. Over 30 train loads of iron ore can leave 1 mine in a day. As soon as the iron ore arrives at the coast location it is immediately smelted. This is done to help keep costs low. These iron mills tend to be the biggest, most automated, and most hi-tech mills in Europe. Some can be over 1mile long!

The coast location is the most suited to this task as it offers an unlimited amount of transport and cuts down on costs by having most of the iron ore imported from other countries.

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