The steel industry is an industry that focuses on the transformation of a mineral, iron. This mineral is normally transformed in a blast furnace, an industrial facility where iron is melted in a cylindrical capsule in which the solid fuel from the coke undergoes chemical reactions that turn it into iron.
Obtaining iron in the steel industry is destined to another metal, steel. However, there are steel mills that obtain steel directly from ferrous scrap.
Hierra, the piece of the puzzle with which the process begins
All the products obtained from iron make up the steel industry, a heavy industry that produces a whole series of metals with great strategic value (tungsten, nickel, chromium or manganese). From these metals it is possible to manufacture very diverse utensils related to all kinds of economic activities (house construction, automobile industry, naval industry, heavy machinery).
The history of the steel industry
Until the eighteenth century, iron was obtained by heating layers of charcoal ore in furnaces several meters high. The resulting product was a mass of iron that had to be worked red-hot in the forge and subsequently subjected to intense hammering. This is how wrought iron was achieved. The ovens consumed so much coal that wood became scarce. Due to this, the need arose to look for another type of fuel. In Great Britain there were deposits of coal mineral coal, but it burned with difficulty.
Finding an answer
At the beginning of the eighteenth century a solution was found: to use a derivative of mineral coal, coke, in blast furnaces, which was obtained by distilling coal. To activate combustion in coke ovens it was necessary to inject an intense air current, which was achieved from the steam engine. Since then the steel industry began to manufacture tubes, beams and barrels, basic elements in the various heavy industries. This industrial process was the basis of a new era, known as the Industrial Revolution.
In the 19th century, industrial development spread from Great Britain to the rest of the Western European countries. The procedures for converting iron to steel were quite expensive, but around 1850 a converter was invented that transformed iron into steel. This change in the steel industry had consequences in the metallurgical industries, in the textile industry, in agricultural machinery and in the manufacture of all kinds of tools.