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821
IRON AND STEEL


for the next succeeding lot of ingots, a matter of great importance, because the charges of steel follow each other at such very brief intervals. A pair of working converters has made 4958 charges of IO tons each, or a total of 50,547 tons, in one month, or at an average rate of a charge every seven minutes and twenty-four seconds throughout every working day. It is this extraordinary rapidity that makes the process so economical and determines the, way in which its details must be carried out. Moreover, since the mould acts as a covering to retard the loss of heat, it should not be removed from the ingot until just before the latter is to be placed in its soaking furnace. These conditions are fulfilled by the car casting system of F. W. Wood, of Sparrows Point, Md., in which the moulds, while receiving the steel, stand on a train of cars, which are immediately run to the side of the soaking furnace. Here, as soon as the ingots have so far solidified that they can be lifted without breaking, their moulds are removed and set on an adjoining train of cars, and the ingots are charged directly into the soaking furnace. The mould-train now carries its empty moulds to a cooling yard, and, as soon as they are cool enough to be used again, carfies them back to the neighbourhood of the converters to receive a new lot of steel. In this system there is for each ingot and each mould only one handling in which it is moved as a separate unit, the mould from one train to the other, the ingot from its train into the furnace. In the other movements, all the moulds and in ots of a given charge of steel are grouped as a train, which is moved as a unit by a locomotive. The difficulty in the way of this system was that, in pouring the steel from ladle to mould, more or less of itioccasionally spatters, and these spattering, if they strike the rails or the running gear of the cars, obstruct and foul them, preventing the movement of the train, because the solidified steel is extremely tenacious. But this cannot be tolerated, because the economy of the process requires extreme promptness in each of its steps. On account of this difficulty the moulds formerly stood, not on cars, but directly on the floor of a casting pit while receiving the molten steel. When the ingots had so far solidified that they could be handled, the moulds were removed and set on the floor to cool, the ingots were set on a car and carried to the soaking furnace, and the moulds were then replaced in the casting pit. Here each mould and each ingot was handled as a separate nit twice, instead of only once as in the car casting system; the ingots radiated away great quantities of heat in passing naked from the converting mill to the soaking furnaces, and the heat which they and the moulds radiated while in the converting mill was not only wasted, but made this mill, open-doored as it was, so intolerably hot, that the cost of labour there was materially increased. Mr Wood met this difficulty by the simple device of so shaping the cars that they completely# protect both their own running gear and the track from all possible spattering, a device which, simple as it is, has materially lessened the cost of the steel and greatly increased the production. How great the increase has been, from this and many other causes, is shown in Table III. TABLE lll.-fllaximi/.m Production of Ingots by a Pair of A mericon Converters.

Gross Tons per Week.

1870 . » ..... 254

1880 ..... 3,433

1889 ..... 8,549,

1899 (average for a month) . . II,233

1903 ...., .. 15,704

Thus in thirty-three years the rate of production per pair of vessels increased more than sixty-fold. The production of European Bessemer works is very much less than that of American. Indeed, the whole German production of acid Bessemer steel in 1899 was at a rate but slightly greater than that here given for one pair of American converters; and three pairs, if this rate were continued, would make almost exactly as much steel as all the sixty-five active British Bessemer converters, acid and basic together, made in 1899. 96. Range in Size of Converters.-In the Bessemer process, and indeed in most high-temperature processes, to o erate on a large scale has, in addition to the usual economies which) it offers in other industries, a special one, arising from the fact that from a large hot furnace or hot mass in general a very much smaller proportion of its heat dissipates through radiation and like causes than from a smaller body, just as a thin red-hot wire cools in the air much faster ihan a thick bar equally hot. Hence the progressive increase which has occurred in the size of converters, until now some of them can treat a 20-ton charge, is not surprising. But, on the other hand, when only a relatively small quantity of a special kind of steel is needed, very much smaller charges, in some cases weighing even less than half a ton, have been treated with technical success. 97. The Bessemer Process for making .Steel Castings.-This has been particularly true in the manufacture of steel castings, i.e. objects usually of more or less intricate shape, which are cast initially in the form in which they are to be used, instead of being forged or rolled to that form from steel cast originally in ingots. For making castings, especially those which are so thin and intricate that, in order that the molten steel may remain molten long enough to run into the thin parts of the mould, it must be heated initially very far above its melting-point, the Bessemer process has a very great l

advantage in that it can develop a much higher temperature than is attainable in either of its competitors, the crucible and the open hearth processes. Indeed, no limit has yet been found to the temperature which can be reached, if matters are so arranged that not only the carbon and silicon of the pig iron, but also a considerable part of the metallic iron which is the iron itself, are oxidized by the blast; or if, as in the Walrand-Legenisel modification, after the combustion of the initial carbon and silicon of the pig iron has already raised the charge to a very hi h temperature, a still further rise of temperature is brought about by adding more silicon in the form'of ferro-silicon, and oxidizing it by further blowing. But in the crucible and the open-hearth processes the temperature attainable is limited by the danger of melting the furnace itself, both because some essential parts of it, which, unfortunately, are of adestructiblc shape, are placed most unfavourably in that they are surrounded by the heat on all sides, and because the furnace is necessarily hotter than the steel made within it. But no part of the Bessemer converter is of a shape easily affected by the heat, no part of it ls exposed to the heat on more than one side, and the converter itself is necessarily cooler than the metal within it, because the heat is generated within the metal itself by the combustion of its silicon and other calorific elements. In it the steel heats the converter, whereas in the open-hearth and crucible processes the furnace heats the steel. 98. The open-hearth process consists in making molten steel out of pig or cast iron and “ scrap, ” i.e. waste pieces of steel and iron melted together on the “open hearth, ” i.e. the uncovered basin-like bottom of a reverberatory furnace, under conditions of which fig. 18 may give a general idea. The conlillfl Tyvwir I

4, ,.'...t'ff(t2'x/M;/..., ,, .., ,, ,, , filws'i'!*!, 'la| i.. .éU!°!ll'l!i!.'!' ., ,, ,, f, ,., ...., , W/ A FIG. 18.-Open-Hearth Pro tes . A

Half Section showing condition Half Secitioii showing condition of charge when boiling very of charge when boiling violently gently. during oreing.

version of cast iron into steel, of course, consists in lessening its content of the several foreign elements, carbon, silicon, phosphorus, &c. The open-hearth process does this by two distinct steps: (1) by oxidizing and removing these elements by means of the flame of the furnace, usually aided by the oxygen of light charges of iron ore, and (2) by diluting them with scrap steel or its equivalent. The "' pig and ore ” or “ Siemens” variety of the process works chiefly by oxidation, the “ pig and scrap ” or “ Siemens-Martin ” variety chiefly by dilution, sometimes indeed by extreme dilution, as when ro parts of cast iron are diluted with go parts of scrap. Both varieties may be carried out in the basic and dephosphorizing way, i.e. in presence of a basic slag and in a basic- or neutral-lined furnace; or in the acid and undephosphorizing way, in presence of an acid, 1;.6. siliceous slag, and in a furnace with a siliceous lining.

The charge may 'bc melted down on the “open hearth” itself, or, as in the more advanced practice, the pig iron may be brought in the molten state from the blast furnace in which it is made. Then the furnace man, controlling the decarburization and purification of the molten charge by his examination of test ingots taken from time to time, gradually oxidizes and so removes the foreign elements, and thus brings the metal simultaneously to approximately the composition needed and to a temperature far enough above its present melting> point to permit of its being cast into ingots or other castings. He then pours or taps the molten charge from the furnace into a large clay-lined casting ladle, giving it the final additions of manganese, usually with carbon and often with silicon, needed to give it exactly the desired composition. He then casts it into its final form through a nozzle in the bottom of the casting ladle, as in the Bessemer process.

The oxidation of the foreign elements must be very slow, lest the effervescence due to the escape of carbonic oxide from

the carbon of the metal throw the charge out of the doors and