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In this class you have learnt about

Different methods of temperature control of resistance

On completion of this topic, you would be able to know
Arc furnace
Different types of Arc Furnaces

Electric Arc Furnace

Production of Electric Arc
The electric supply given to two electrodes is increased and are
separated in air from each other
The air gets ionized at high voltage gradient and becomes a
good conductor of electricity
Current passes through the air gap in the form of arc.
Once the arc is produced, small voltage is sufficient to maintain


Electric Arc Furnace

Production of Electric Arc
Without high voltage also Arc can be established by short
circuit the two electrodes and then withdrawing them apart
The electrodes are made of either carbon or graphite
The temperature of the Arc developed will be around 35000C


Types of electric Arc Furnaces

1. Direct Arc furnace

2. Indirect Arc furnace

Direct Arc Furnace



Two electrode arc furnace

When A.C. supply given to two electrodes.

Arc is established and current passes through the charges.
Heat is developed due to radiation from Arc.

Direct Arc Furnace

The stirring action is
inherent due to
electromagnetic force
setup by the current
Hence heating of charge
is uniform
3 supply is used for
large capacity furnace
The three electrodes are
placed at the three
vertices of an equilateral



Two electrode arc

Single Electrode Arc Furnace

1 AC


One electrode is used.

1 supply given between electrode and bottom of furnace.
Arc is developed in between electrode & charge.
It is called single-phase direct Arc furnace or baby Arc

Direct Arc Furnace

High temperatures can be produced
More uniform heating of the charge can be obtained

The most common application of direct arc furnace is to
produce steel
Used in R and D
It is used in pilot production plants

Indirect Arc Furnace


Indirect Arc Furnace

Fig 3 shows indirect arc
The Arc exists between
two electrodes.
Heat developed in the
charge is by the radiation
The temperature of the
charge is lower than
direct Arc furnace
Current does not flow
through charge. Hence
no inherent stirring


Indirect Arc Furnace

So, the furnace must be
rocked vibrating or tilting
by mechanically.
It is called as a rocking
Arc furnace also.
The furnace made of
cylindered or spherical
Rocking action is
operated by an Electric

Indirect Arc Furnace

High flexibility
High melting
High efficiency


Indirect Arc Furnace

Indirect arc furnace is used for melting of non-ferrous
It can be used in iron foundries where small quantities of
iron is required frequently
It is more suitable when the charge is to be varied
frequently or heating is intermittent


Chemical and physical

processes in an EAF

Melting process starts at low voltage (short arc)
between the electrodes and the scrap.
The arc during this period is unstable.
In order to improve the arc stability small pieces
of the scrap are placed in the upper layer of the
The electrodes descend melting the charge and
penetrating into the scrap forming bores.

The molten metal flows down to the

furnace bottom.
When the electrodes reach the liquid bath
the arc becomes stable and the voltage
may be increased (long arc).
The electrodes are lifting together with the
melt level. Most of scrap (85%) melt
during this period.
Temperature of the arc reaches 6300F

At this stage excessive carbon,
phosphorous, silicon and manganese
The process is similar to that in
Basic Oxygen Furnace.
Basic oxidizing slag composed of lime
(CaO) and ion ore (FeO) is used during the
oxidizing period.
Gaseous oxygen may be blown into the
melt for additional oxidizing.

New slag composed mainly of lime (CaO), CaF 2 (as slag
fluidizer) is added at this stage for formation of basic
reducing conditions.
The function of this slag is refining of the steel from sulfur and absorption of
oxides, formed as a result of deoxidation (killing).
The excessive oxygen dissolved in the melt during oxidizing period is removed
by metallic deoxidizersMn, Si, Al:
[Mn] + [O] = (MnO)
[Si] + 2[O] = (SiO2)
2[Al] + 3[O] = (Al2O3)
Basic reducing slag is favorable for desulfurization in accordance to the
[S] + (CaO) = (CaS) + [O]
Oxide and sulfide non-metallic inclusions are absorbed by the slag.
Alloying elements (Cr, Ni, Mo, V, etc.) are added after deoxidation.
In many cases the processes of killing (deoxidation), desulfurization, alloying
and final heating are performed outside of the furnace - Ladle refining

Iron oxide causes increase of Oxygen content in the molten steel according to
the reaction:
(square brackets [ ] - signify solution in steel, round brackets ( ) - in slag, curly
brackets {} - in gas)
(FeO) = [Fe] + [O]
Oxygen dissolved in the melt oxidizes carbon, phosphorous, silicon and
[C] + [O] = {CO}
[Si] + {O2} = (SiO2)
[Mn] + 1/2{O2} = (MnO)
2[P] + 5/2{O2} = (P2O5)
Carbon monoxide partially burns in the atmosphere:
{CO} + {O2} = {CO2}
The formed oxides are absorbed by the slag. CO bubbles floating up through
the melt result in refining of the steel from non-metallic inclusions and hydrogen
Gaseous products CO and CO2 are removed by the exhausting system.
Oxidizing potential of the atmosphere is characterized by the post-combustion
ratio: {CO2}/({CO2}+{CO}).
The oxidizing slag enriched with phosphorous and other oxides formed during
this period is removed from the furnace to a slag pot (de-slagging).

Advantages of electric arc

The use of EAFs allows steel to be made
from a 100% scrap metal feedstock.
This greatly reduces the energy required to
make steel when compared with primary
steelmaking from ores
. Another benefit is flexibility: while blast
furnaces cannot vary their production by
much and can remain in operation for years
at a time,

EAFs can be rapidly started and stopped,

allowing the steel mill to vary production
according to demand.
During the peak of global financial meltdown
in 2009, an estimated quantity of only 1
million tonne was produced in USA
employing EAF technique.
Although steelmaking arc furnaces generally
use scrap steel as their primary feedstock,

if hot metal from a blast furnace or direct-reduced

iron is available economically, these can also be
used as furnace feed.
A typical steelmaking arc furnace is the source of
steel for a mini-mill, which may make bars or strip
product. Mini-mills can be sited relatively near to
the markets for steel products, and the transport
requirements are less than for an integrated mill,
which would commonly be sited near a harbour for
access to shipping.

Environmental issues

Although the modern electric arc furnace is a highly efficient recycler

of steel scrap, operation of an arc furnace shop can have adverse
environmental effects. Much of the capital cost of a new installation
will be devoted to systems intended to reduce these effects, which
Enclosures to reduce high sound levels
Dust collector for furnace off-gas
Slag production
Cooling water demand
Heavy truck traffic for scrap, materials handling, and product
Environmental effects of electricity generation
Because of the very dynamic quality of the arc furnace load, power
systems may require technical measures to maintain the quality of
power for other customers; flicker and harmonic distortion are
common side-effects of arc furnace operation on a power system.

In this class we have discussed about
Arc heating
Different types of electric arc furnaces
Applications of arc furnaces


Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is arc heating?
2) Explain the construction and working of indirect arc furnace
with a sketch
3) Explain the construction and operation of direct arc furnace
with a net sketch