Do you know how iron is made? As iron is the underlying material composing many items we rely on every day, it's worth knowing how iron actually comes to be. Like many highly prized commodities, iron is developed through a specific process.
Beginning With Iron Ore
Iron is not found in the ground as a fully finished product ready for use. Rather, it is extracted from raw iron ore found in certain rocks and minerals. Although a small fraction of iron ore is gathered from channel deposits and streams, most iron ore is unearthed in large swaths, and customized machines dig out wide pits before mining.
Combining And Smelting
A large portion of iron ore is converted to iron used for steel, and it must be purified and strengthened first through a smelting process. Smelting involves mixing the ore with coke and limestone in a blast furnace and heating the ore until melts, allowing for unnecessary molecules and components to be extracted naturally. Within the heated environment of the furnace, the carbon in the coke combines with oxygen in the iron ore, which creates carbon dioxide and leaves iron behind. The limestone reacts with other impurities in the ore, producing slag.
Separation And Removal
After smelting, the slag rises to the top, which makes it easier to remove. The iron sinks below, which also makes it easier to gather. At this point, the iron becomes "pig iron," which can be formed into useable sheets of steel or other materials.
The majority of us use iron every day. Whenever you open your car door, you're interacting with iron. Many of us don't realize that iron isn't simply plucked from the earth and melted into the steel for automobiles and large structures. The reality is that iron is made through a complicated process, and understanding this process can help you appreciate the iron all around you.