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Iron is a metal, and by mass, it is the most common element on earth. This metal forms much of Earth’s outer and inner cone.Iron is a chemical element and pure iron is relatively soft but is unobtainable by smelting. Iron chemical compounds have many uses, for example:Iron oxide mixed with aluminum powder can be ignited to create a thermite reaction, which is used in welding and purifying ores.

The Production Of Iron:

There are two main stages in the production of iron unless the desired product is cast iron.Blast Furnace Processing:

• Industrial iron production starts with iron ores which is reduced to metal by treatment with carbon

• Conversion is conducted in a blast furnace at temperatures of about 2000 c.

• Carbon is provided in the form of coke and a flux such as limestone which is used to remove siliceous minerals in the ore

• Both coke and limestone are fed into the top of the furnace while a massive blast of heated air about 4 tons per ton of iron is forced into the furnace at the bottom.

• In the furnace, the coke reacts with oxygen in the air blast to produce carbon monoxide

• The carbon monoxide reduces the iron ore to molten becoming carbon dioxide in the process.

• Some iron in the high temperature lower region of the furnace reacts directly to the coke

• The flux present to melt the impurities in the ore is principally limestone and delomite which decomposes to calcium oxide

• Calcium oxide combines with silicon dioxide to form a liquid slag

• The slag melts in the heat of the furnace and at the bottom, the molten slag floats on top of the denser molten iron

• Apertures on the side of the furnace are opened to run off the iron and slag separately.

Slag can be used as a material in road construction or improve mineral poor soil. Due to environmental concerns, alternative methods of processing iron have been developed.

Direct Iron Reduction:

Direct iron reduction reduces iron ore to a powder called “sponge” ironor “dried” iron that is suitable for steelmaking.

• Natural gas is partially oxidized with heat and a catalyst
• These gases are then treated with iron ore in a furnace, producing solid sponge iron
• Silica is removed by adding a limestone flux

Types Of Industrial Iron:

Wrought Iron-is an iron alloy that is very low in carbon and has a fibrous inclusion as slag. Wrought iron is a semi-fused mass of iron with slag.Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant and easily welded.

Cast Iron – is a hard relatively brittle allow of iron and carbon and can be easily cast in a mold and contains a higher proportion of carbon than steel and is either grey or white in color.Cast iron has a relatively low melting point, good fluidity, castability, Excellent machinability, resistance to deformity and wear resistance.Cast iron has become an engineering material.

Steels – are alloys of iron and other elements, but primarily carbon.Because of its high tensile, strength and low cost, steels are widely used in construction and other applications.
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