Durable, strong and relatively inexpensive, steel is an essential metal of our modern society. It is made from iron ore, a resource plentiful in the earth's crust.
In its natural form, iron ore is not a useful metal, but for many years humans have been experimenting with how to transform it into practical materials such as wrought iron, cast iron and steel.
Other Raw Materials
Steel is an alloy of iron ore and carbon. Other elements, such as chromium, phosphorus and manganese, may also be included, depending on the type of steel desired.
For steel to be created, iron ore must be heated at high temperatures until molten iron is produced. Other heating elements can be used in steel-making furnaces. The addition of oxygen helps speed the transformation of iron ore into steel.
Molten steel is poured into various types of molds to create whatever shapes are needed. Sometimes intermediary shapes are created, and then the steel is formed again to create the final desired shape.
Once the steel pieces are shaped, their surfaces must be finished. The finishing process helps prevent corrosion.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jennifer Dickert
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