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820
IRON AND STEEL


difficulties he was greatly embarrassed by the brittleness or “ red shortness ” of his steel, which he did not know how to cure. But two remedies were quickly offered, one by the skilful Swede, Goransson, who ueieda pig iron initially rich in manganese and stopped his blow before much oxygen had been taken up; and the other by a. British steel maker, Robert Mushet, who proposed the use of the manganiferous cast iron called spiegeleisen, and thereby removed the only remaining serious obstacle to the rapid spread of the process.

From this many have claimed for Mushet a part almost or even quite equal to Besseme-f's in the development of the Bessemer process, even calling it tne “ Bessemer-Mushet process." But this seems most unjust. Mushet had no such exclusive knowledge of the effects of manganese that he alone could have helped Bessemer; and even if nobody had then proposed the use of spiegeleisen, the development of the Swedish Bessemer practice would have gone on, and, the process thus established and its value and great economy thus shown in Sweden, it would have been only a question of time how soon somebody would have proposed the addition of manganese. Mushet's aid was certainly valuable, but not more than G6ransson's, who, besides thus offering a preventive of red shortness, further helped the process on by raising its temperature by the simple expedient of further subdividing the blast, thus increasing the surface of contact between blast and metal, and thus in turn hastening the oxidation. The two great essential discoveries were first that the rapid passage of air through molten cast iron raised its temperature above the melting point of low-carbon steel, or as it was then called “ malleable iron, " and second that this low-carbon steel, which Bessemer was the first to make in important quantities, was in fact an extraordinarily valuable substance when made under proper conditions.

So. Source of H eat.-The carbon of the pig iron, burning as it does only to carbouic oxide within the converter, does not by itself generate a temperature high enough for the needs of the process. The oxidation of manganese is capable of generating a very high temperature, but it has the very serious disadvantage of causing such thick clouds of smoky oxide of manganese as to hide the flame from the blower, and prevent him from recognizing the moment when the blow should be ended. Thus it comes about that the temperature is regulated primarily by adjusting the quantity of silicon in the pig iron treated, ri% of this element usually sufficing. If any individual blow proves to be too hot, it may be cooled by throwing cold “ scrap ” steel such as the waste ends of rails and other pieces, into the converter, or by injecting with the blast a little steam, which is decomposed by the iron by the endothermic reaction H20-l-Fe=2H+FeO. If the temperature is not high enough, it is raised by managing the blast in such a way as to oxidize some of the iron itself permanently. and thus to generate much heat.

oo. The basic or dephosphorizing variety of the Bessemer process, called in Germany the “ Thomas ” process, differs from the acid process in four chief points: (1) that its slag is made very basic and hence dephosphorizing by adding much lime to it; (2) that the lining is basic, because an acid lining would quickly be destroyed by such a basic slag; (3) that the process is arrested not at the “ drop of the flame ” (§ 85) but at a predetermined length of time after it; and (4) that phosphorus instead of silicon is the chief source of heat. Let us consider these in turn.

or. The slag, in order that it may have such an excess of base that this will retain the phosphoric acid as fast as it is formed by the oxidation of the phosphorus of the pig iron, and prevent it from being re-deoxidized and re-absorbed by the iron, should, according to von Ehrenwerth's rule which is generally followed, contain enough lime to form approximately a tetra-calcic silicate, 4CaO, SiO¢ with the silica which results from the oxidation of the silicon of the pig iron and tri-calcic phosphate, 3CaO, P2O5, with the phosphoric acid which forms. The danger of this " rephosphorization ” is greatest at the end of the blow, when the recarburizing additions are made, This lime is charged in the form of common quicklime, CaO, resulting from the calcination of a pure limestone, CaCO3, which should be as free as possible from silica. The usual composition of this slag is iron oxide, ro to 16%; lime, 40 to 5o%; magnesia, 5%; silica, 6 to 9%; phosphoric acid, 16 to 20%. Its phosphoric acid makes it so valuable as a fertilizer that it is a most important -v

by-product. In order that the phosphoric acid may be the more fully liberated by the humic acid, &c., of the earth, a little siliceous sand is mixed with the still molten slag after it Has been poured off from the molten steel. The slag is used in agriculture with no further preparation, save very fine grinding. 92. The lining of the converter is made of 90% of the mixture of lime and magnesia which results from calcining dolomite, (Ca, Mg)CO3, at a very high temperature, and IOWA of coal tar freed from its water by heating. 'l' his mixture may be rammed in place, or baked blocks of it may be laid up like a masonry wall. In either case such a lining is expensive, and has but a short life, in few works more than zoo charges, and in some only 100, though the siliceous lining of the acid converter lasts thousands of charges. Hence, for the basic process, spare converters must be provided, so that there may always be some of them re-lining, either while standing in the same place as when in use, or, as in Holley's arrangement, in a separate repair house, to which these gigantic vessels are removed bodily.

93. Control of the Basic Bessemer Process.-The removal of the greater part of the phosphorus takes place after the carbon has been oxidized and the flame has consequently “ dropped, ” probably because the lime, which is charged in solid lumps, is taken up by the slag so slowly that not until late in the operation does the slag become so basic as to be retentive of phosphoric acid. Hence in making steel rich in carbon it is not possible, as in the acid Bessemer process, to end the operation as soon as the carbon in the metal has fallen to the point sought, but it is necessary to remove practically all of the carbon, then the phosphorus, and then “recarburize, ” i.e. add whatever carbon the steel is to contain. The quantity of phosphorus in the pig iron is usually known accurately, and the dephosphorization takes place so regularly that the quantity of air which it needs can be foretold closely. The blower therefore stops the process when he has blown a predetermined quantity of air through, counting from the drop of the flame; but as a Check on his forecast he usually tests the blown meta.l before recarburizing it. A 5

94. Source of H eat.-Silicon cannot here be used as the chief source of heat as it is in the acid Bessemer process, because most of the heat which its oxidation generates is consumed in heating the great quantities of lime needed for neutralizing the resultant silica. Fortunately the phosphorus, turned from a curse into a blessing, develops by its oxidation the needed temperature, though the fact that this requires at least I'80% of phosphorus limits the use of the process, because there are few ores which can be made to yield so phosphoric a pig iron. Further objections to the presence of silicon are that the resultant silica (I) corrodes the lining of the converter, (2) makes the slag froth so that it both throws much of the charge out and blocks up the nose of the converter, and (3) leads to rephosphorizatiori. These effects are so serious that until very lately it was thought that the silicon could not safely be much in excess of 1%. But Massenez and Richards, following the plan outlined by Pourcel in 1879, have found that even 3% of silicon is permissible if, by adding iron ore, the resultant silica is made into a fluid slag, and if this is removed in the early cool part of the process, when it attacks the lining of the converter but slightly. Manganese to the extent of 1-80% is desired as a means 'of preventing the resultant steel from being redshort, i.o. brittle at a red or forging heat. The pig iron should be as nearly free as possible-from sulphur, because the removal of any large quantity, of this injurious element in the process itself is both difficult and" expensive. .

95. The car casting system deserves description chiefly because it shows how, when the scale of operations is as enormous as it is in the Bessemer process, even a slight simplification and a. slight heat saving may be of great economic importance.

Whatever be the form into which the steel is to be rolled, it must in general first be poured from the Bessemer converter in which it is made into a large clay-lined ladle, and thence cast in vertical pyramidal ingots. To bring them to a temperature suitable for rolling, these ingots must be set in heating or soaking furnaces (§ 125), and this should be done as soon as possible after they are

cast, both to lessen the loss of their initial heat, and to make way