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Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is the purest iron which contains 99.5% iron but may contain upto 99.9% iron.
The carbon content is about 0.02%. It is a tough, malleable and ductile material. It can not stand
sudden and excessive shocks. It can be easily forged or welded.

Steel | Types and Manufacturing


Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, with carbon content upto a maximum of 1.5%. Most of
the steel produced now-a-days is plain carbon steel or simply carbon steel. It is divided into
the following types depending upon the carbon content:
1. Dead mild steel upto 0.15% Carbon
2. Low carbon or mild steel 0.15% to 0.45% Carbon
3. Medium carbon steel 0.45% to 0.8% Carbon
4. High carbon steel 0.8% to 1.5% Carbon
According to Indian standards, the carbon steels are designated in the following order:
(a) Figure indicating 100 times the average percentage of carbon content,
(b) Letter 'C', and
(c) Figure indicating 10 times the average percentage of manganese content. The figure after
multiplying shall be rounded off to the nearest integer.
For example 20C8 means carbon steel containing 0.15 to 0.25% (0.2% on an average) carbon
and 0.60 to 0.90% (0.75% rounded off to 0.8% on an average) manganese.
The principal methods of manufacturing steel are as follows:
1. Cementation process. The steel made by this process is cement steel because ferrite in the
wrought iron is converted into cementite (i.e. iron carbide). Since carbon combines with
wrought iron and has its surface covered with blisters, therefore, the steel produced by this
process is known as blister steel.
2. Crucible process. The steel produced by this method is very homogeneous, free from slag
and dirt and much superior to cement steel. The steel so produced is known as crucible steel.
3. Bessemer process. In a bessemer process, following are the three distinctive stages used to
convert molten pig iron to steel:
(a) In the first stage (known as charging position), the molten pig iron is poured into the
converter.
(b) In the second stage (known as blowing position), the converter is tilted to the vertical
position and the air blast turned on. In this stage, the silicon and manganese burns out which
is indicated by the brown smoke rising up through the mouth of the converter. After this, the
carbon is next to oxidise which is indicated by a white flame.
(c) In the third stage (known as pouring position), the white flame of the burning carbon
drops and the contents of the converter are poured in a ladle. Now a small quantity of some
alloy rich in carbon and manganese (i.e. spiegeleisen or ferro-manganese) is added to produce
steel of quite good strength and ductility.

Note : The bessemer process may be acidic or basic depending upon the lining of furnace. In
the acidic bessemer process, the furnace is lined with silica ricks. The slag produced in this
process contains large amount of silica. Since phosphorus in a pig iron cannot be removed by
this process, therefore acidic bessemer process is unsuitable for producing steel from pig iron
containing large quantities of phosphorus.
In basic bessemer process, also known as Thomas process, the furnace is lined with a mixture
of tar and burned dolomite. This process is applicable for making steel from pig iron which
contains more than 1.5% phosphorus.
4. Open hearth process. The open hearth process of steel making is sometimes called
`Siemens-Martin Process'. This process is more suitable than Bessemer process when a large
quantity of mild steel, with definite quality and composition, is required.
5. Duplex process. The duplex process of steel making is a combination of acidic bessemer
process and basic open hearth process. This process is in operation at Tata Iron and Steel
works, Jamshedpur (Bihar).
6. L-D process (Linz-Donawitz process). It is the latest development in steel making
processes and is now adopted at Rourkela steel plant where three converters of 40 tonnes
capacity are working.
7. Electric process. This process is mainly used for the preparation of high quality and
special alloy steels of high melting point, The electric process may be acidic or basic, but
basic process is mostly used because it permits extensive elimination of impurities. The basic
lined furnace of the Heroult type is especially adopted to the production of best quality
carbon and alloy steels.
Note: The steel contains small amounts of impurities like silicon, sulphur, manganese and
phosphorus. The effect of these impurities are as follows:
Silicon in the finished steel usually ranges from 0.05 to 0.30%. It is added in low carbon
steels to prevent them from becoming porous. It removes the gases and oxides, prevents blow
holes and thereby makes the steel tougher and harder.
Sulphur occurs in steel either as iron sulphide or manganese sulphide. Iron sulphide because
of its low melting point produces red shortness whereas manganese sulphide does not effect
so much.
Manganese serves as a valuable deoxidising and purifying agent, in steel. When used in
ordinary low carbon steels, manganese makes the metal ductile and of good bending
qualities. In high speed steels, it is used to tougher the metal and to increase its critical
temperature.
Phosphorus makes the steel brittle, It also produces cold shortness in steel. In low carbon
steels, it raises the yield point and improves the resistance to atmospheric corrosion. The sum
of carbon and phosphorus usually does not exceed 0.25%.