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TITLE: Application of Oxygen O2 (Metal/Steel Industry)

Oxygen
It was the efficient use of oxygen in the metal/steel industry which triggered the
development of air separation. Even now the metal/steel industry is the main consumer of
oxygen and it is oxygen which has made it possible to develop a crucial line in steel melting
known as the converter melting processes.
Oxygen has many important uses within the metal/steel industry, each of them involves
the heating and melting of metals. Oxygen is a popular gas used in steel-making, in part due to
the continued use of the basic oxygen furnace. Oxygen has a number of common uses in the
industry, depending on the furnace under consideration.
Metals/Steel Manufacturing Industry Uses for Oxygen
The largest user of oxygen is the metal/steel industry. Modern steel making relies heavily
on the use of oxygen to enrich air and increase combustion temperatures in blast furnaces and
open hearth furnaces as well as to replace coke with other combustible materials.
During the metal/steel making process, unwanted carbon combines with oxygen to form
carbon oxides, which leave as gases. Oxygen is fed into the metal/steel bath through a special
lance. Oxygen is used to allow greater use of scrap metal in electric arc furnaces. Large
quantities of oxygen are also used to make other metals, such as copper, lead, and zinc.
Oxygen is important for its reactivity. Oxygens reactivity is used in steel processing and
in welding and cutting of steel. The largest user of oxygen is the steel industry. Steelmaking by
basic oxygen furnace relies heavily on the use of oxygen. It is also used to enrich air and increase
combustion temperatures in blast furnaces and open hearth furnaces as well as to replace coke
with other combustible materials. During the steel making process, unwanted carbon combines

with oxygen to form carbon oxides, which leave as gases. Oxygen is fed into the steel bath
through a special lance. Oxygen is used to increase the productivity in electric arc furnaces.
Oxygen enrichment of air in industrial processes increases reaction rates, which permits
greater throughput in existing equipment or the ability to reduce the physical size of equivalent
capacity new equipment. Another benefit of oxygen enrichment versus use of plain air is energy
savings and due to a reduction in the amount of nitrogen and other gases passing through a
furnace or through a chemical process.
Reducing inert gases which would otherwise have to be compressed or heated can reduce
energy consumption due to a decrease in gas compression requirements or a reduction in the
amount of fuel required to make a given amount of product. Reducing the amount of hot gases
vented to the atmosphere from combustion processes may also decrease the size and cleanup
costs associated with stack gas cleanup systems.
Oxygen is used with fuel gases in gas welding, gas cutting, oxygen scarfing, flame
cleaning, flame hardening, and flame straightening. In gas cutting, the oxygen must be of high
quality to ensure a high cutting speed and a clean cut. Oxygen is also used in breathing
apparatus. These apparatus are used in steel industry in those places where blast furnace gas
contents are higher than the safe values.
Smelting times and energy consumption can also be reduced by special oxy-oil or oxygas burners in electro-steel furnaces and induction smelters for aluminum. A high thermal
efficiency is achieved by these oxy-fuel burners, which mix fuel and oxygen at the tip of the
burner. As a result, rapid combustion occurs at approximately 2800o C (5072oF).

Oxygen is used in:

Cast iron and steel production (to remove excessive carbon)

Converter steel production

Electric furnace steel production

Blast furnaces (with oxygen injection)

Ferrous alloy production

Melting of nickel, zinc, lead, zirconium, and other non-ferrous metals

Intensification of raw material burning in non-ferrous metallurgy

Direct reduction of iron