Steel is one of the most ubiquitous materials in the modern world. Famed for its strength and versatility, it is one of the most common components in manufacturing and construction in every corner of the globe. But how is steel made? Steelmaking can be broken down into the three main categories: ironmaking, steelmaking and rolling. Let’s take a closer look at the process below.
How is steel made? We take a look at how you get from raw iron to one of the world’s most dependable building materials in three steps.
Ironmaking – Making Molten Iron
Iron is one of the main constituents of steel. Essentially, steel is made from a combination of iron ore and carbon (coal) which are sourced from around the world. These two raw materials are put into a blast furnace and melted down to create molten iron.
For efficient heat transfusion in the blast furnace, iron and coal must be solidified from their powder form. This process is called sintering (iron) and coking (coal). The treated iron and coal is then placed into a blast furnace.
Steelmaking – Iron Becomes Steel
Molten iron needs further treatment before it is ready to be rolled into structural steel. Treatment involves removing any impurities which may interfere with the steel’s integrity once hardened. These impurities include carbon, phosphorous and sulfur. The purification process involves exposing the molten iron to pure oxygen in a converter furnace which will burn off troublesome substances. Further reduction of carbon is achieved either by adding scrap steel or by feeding it through high power electric arcs, with temperatures reaching 1650˚C.
After this, steel undergoes further treatment to adhere to more specific requirements from buyers. This process involves adding or removing elements, or changing environmental determinants such as temperature. The molten steel is then set aside to cool. The semi-finished steel is then cut into different shapes to later be used for making steel products. ‘Slabs’ are wide and flat, ‘blooms’ are rectangular (for making beams) and ‘billets’ are thin square bars.
Rolling – Crude Steel Becomes a Finished Product
The final process is called ‘rolling’ and involves continuous casting (pouring liquid steel in moulds) where steel is forged into various steel products. Hot rolling helps to eliminate any imperfections defects and is called ‘primary forming’.
‘Secondary forming’ involves steel manufacturers and structural steel fabricators who use a variety of techniques to form the final steel product.
Need A Steel Supplier?
That’s where we come in. If you are in need of quality steel fabrication contact Steel Fabrication Services today. Our team of expert structural steel fabricators have the experience and knowledge to answer any of your questions and will ensure that you find the best solution to suit your needs. To contact us today, simply call, fax, email or drop by our Brookvale location.
While you’re here, learn some more about the world of steel: