Technology Behind Steelmaking

The secret of steel, as Conan would put it, is sacred and revered. It might not seem too difficult in modern times, but a lot of knowledge and history is behind steel making processes. The methods of processing iron to create steel have played a crucial role to forge modern technological societies.


We have known for iron since ancient times, but we needed a lot of time to develop and create steel from iron. It is very important because simple cast iron is a difficult material to work with little purpose. On the other hand, steel is easily malleable and versatile material and has built our tools, cars, and homes.

The beginnings of steel implementation in technology

The first process which can be labeled as inexpensive and good for mass production is the Bessemer process. It is based on oxidation procedures so impurities from the iron can be removed.

The process of decarburization through oxidation has been known to the Old world, but never on a massive, industrial scale. Thanks to Henry Bessemer and Robert Durrer, industrial age saw the rise of the steel industry.

Steel as the cornerstone for technology advancement

Smal image furnaceModern steel making is usually divided into primary and secondary steel making. First is a way to turn liquid iron into steel under high temperatures in blast furnaces. Secondary steel making involves the refinement processes before casting, which is done in significantly smaller temperature. The story of steel begins with iron ore which has to be cleaned and refined. Once the initial process transforms iron ore into pig iron, the process of blowing oxygen over molten pig iron can begin.

This way, the impurities like carbon especially, can be removed. It is usually done in modern basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces. Secondary steel making starts when steel is refined more precisely and then cast into molds to create wanted shapes. Creation of steel is an advanced discipline in modern metallurgy. It involves a lot of science and technology, but it led to our world being as it is today. We could not have the standard of life as we do have now  if steel did not exist.