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823
IRON AND STEEL


enormous surface of brickwork the heat of the escaping products of combustion, and in the following phase restoring the heat to the entering air and gas. At any given moment one pair of re generators is storing heat, while the ot er is restoring it. The tilting working chamber is connected, with the stationary ports L and L', by means of the loose water-cooled joint W in Campbell's s stem, which is here shown. The furnace, resting on the rollers Rl, is tilted by the hydraulic cylinder N. The slag pockets P (fig. 22), below the uptakes, are provided to catch the dust carried out of the furnace proper by the escaping products of combustion, lest it enter and choke the re generators. Wellman's tilting furnace rolls on a fixed rack instead of on rollers. By his charging s stem a charge of as much as fifty tons is quickly introduced. The metal is packed by unskilled labourers in iron boxes, R (fig. 21), standing on cars in the stock-yard. A locomotive carries a train of these cars to the track running beside a long line of open-hearth furnaces. Here the charging machine lifts one box at a time from its car, pushes it through the momentarily opened furnace door, and empties the metal upon the hearth of the furnace by inverting the box, which it-then replaces on its car. 100. The proportion of pig to scrap used depends chiefly on the relative cost of these two materials, but sometimes in part also on the carbon-content which the resultant steel is to have. Thus part at least of the carbon which a high-carbon steel is to contain may be supplied by the pig iron from which it is made. The length of the process increases with the proportion of pig used. Thus in the Westphalian pig and scrap practice, scrap usually forms 75 or even 80% of the charge, and pig only from 20 to 25'}f, , indeed only enough to supply the carbon inevitably burnt out in melting .the charge and heating it up to a plroper casting temperature; and here the char e lasts only about 6 ours. In some British and Swedish “ pig and ore " practice (§ 98), on the other hand, little or no scrap is used, and here the removal of the large quantity of carbon, silicon and phosphorus prolongs the process to 17 hours. The common practice in the United States is to use about equal parts of pig and scrap, and here the usual length of a charge is a out 11% hours. The pig and ore process is he d back, first by the large quantity of carbon, and usually of silicon and phosphorus, to be removed, and second by the necessary slowness ofp their removal. The gangue of the ore increases the quantity of slag, which separates the metal from the source of its heat, the fiame, and thus delays the rise of temperature; and the purification by “ oreing, " i.e. by means of the oxygen of the large lumps of cold iron ore thrown in by hand, is extremely slow, because the ore must be fed in very slowly lest it chill the metal both directly and because the reaction by which it removes the carbon of the metal, Fe2O3+C=2FeO-l-CO, itself absorbs heat. Indeed, this local cooling aggravates the frothing. A cold lump of ore chills the slag immediately around it, just where its oxygen, reacting on the carbon of the met al, generates carbonic oxide; the slag becomes cool, viscous, and hence easily made to froth, just where the froth-causing gas is evolved. The length of these varieties of the process just given refers to the basic procedure. The acid process goes on much faster, because in it the heat insulating layer of slag is much thinner. For instance it lasts only about 8% hours when equal parts of pig and scrap are used, instead of the 11% hours of the basic process. hus the actual cost of conversion by the acid process is materially less than by the basic, but this difference is more than outweighed in most places by the greater cost of ig and scrap free enough from phosphorus to be used in the undephosphorizing acid process. 101. Three special varieties of the open-hearlh process, the Bertrand-Thiel, the Talbot and the Monell, 'deserve notice. Bertrand and Thiel oxidize the carbon of molten cast iron by pouring it into a bath of molten iron which has first been oxygenated, i.e. charged with oxy en, and superheated, in an open-hearth furnace. The two metaiflic masses coalesce, and the reaction between the oxygen of one and the carbon of the other is therefore extremely rapid because it occurs throughout their depth, whereas in common procedure oxidation occurs only at the upper surface of the bath of cast iron at its contact with the overlying slag. Moreover, since local cooling, with its consequent viscosity and tendency to froth, are avoided, the frothing is not excessive in spite of the rapidity of the reaction. The oxygenated metal is prepared by melting cast iron diluted with as much scrap steel as is available, and oxidizing it with the flame and with iron ore as it lies in a thin molten layer on the hearth of a large open-hearth furnace; the thinness of the layer hastensthg oxidation, and the large size of the furnace permits considerable frothing. But the oxygenated metal might be prepared easily in a Bessemer converter.

To enlarge the scale of operations makes strongly for economy in the open-hearth process as in other high temperature ones. Yet the use of an open-hearth furnace of very great capacity, say of 200 tons per charge, has the disadvantage that such very large lots of steel, delivered at relatively long intervals, are less readily managed in the subsequent operations of soaking and rolling down to the Snal shape, than smaller lots delivered at shorter intervals. To meet this difficulty Mr B. Talbot carries on the process as a quasi continuous instead of an intermittent one, operating on loo-ton or 200-ton lots of cast iron in such a way as to draw off his steel in 20~ton lots at relatively short intervals. charging a fresh 20-ton lot of cast iron to replace each lot of steel thus drawn off, and thus keeping the furnace full of metal from Monda morning till Saturday night. Besides minor advantages, this plan has the merit of avoiding an ineffective period which occurs in common open-hearth procedure just after the charge of cast iron has been melted down. At this time the slag is tem orarily rich in iron oxide and silica, resulting from the oxidation of) the iron and of its silicon as the charge slowly melts and trickles down. Such a slag not only corrodes the furnace lining, but also impedes dephosphorization, because it is irretentive of phosphorus. Further, the relatively low temperature impedes decarburization. Clearly, no such period can exist in the continuous process. .

At a relatively low temperature say 1300° C., the phosphorus of cast iron oxidizes and is removed much faster than its carbon, while at a higher temperature, say 1500° C., carbon oxidizes in preference to phosphorus. It is well to remove this latter element early, so that when the carbon shall have fallen to -the proportion which the steel is to contain, the steel shall already be free from phosphorus, and so ready to cast. In common open-hearth procedure, although the temperature is low early in the process, viz. at the end of the melting down, dephosphorization is then impeded by the temporary acidity of the slag, as just explained. Atthe Carnegie works Mr Monell gets the two dephosphorizing conditions, low temperature and basicity of slag, early in the process, by pouring his molten but relatively cool cast iron upon a layer of pre-heated lime and iron oxide on the bottom of the open-hearth furnace. The lime and iron oxide melt, and, in passing up through the overlying metal, the iron oxide very rapidly oxidizes its-phosphorus and thus drags it into the slag as phosphoric acid. The ebullition from the formation of carbonic oxide puffs up the resultant phosphoric slag enough to make most of it run out of the furnace, thus both removing the phosphorus permanently from danger of being later deoxidizcd and returned to the steel, and partly freeing the bath of metal from the .heat-insulating blanket of slag. Yet frothing is not excessive, because the slag is not, as in common practice, locally chilled and made viscous by cold lumps of ore. I 102. In the duplex process the conversion of the cast iron into steel is begun in the Bessemer converter and finished in the open hearth furnace. In the most promising form of this process an acid converter and a basic open-hearth furnace are used. In the former the silicon and part of the carbon are moved rapidly, in the latter the rest of the carbon and the phosphorus are removed slowly, and the metal is brought accurately to the proper temperature and composition. The advantage of this combination is that., by simplifying the conditions with which the composition of the pig iron has to comply, it makes the management of the blast furnace easier, and thus lessens the danger of making “ misht ” pig iron, i.e. that which, because it is not accurately suited to the process for which it is intended, offers us the dilemma of using it in that process at poor advantage or of putting it to some other use, a step which often implies serious loss.

For the acid Bessemer process the sulphur-content must be small and the, silicon-content should be constant; for the basic open hearth process the content of both silicon and sulphur should be small, a thing difficult to bring about, because in the blast furnace most of the conditions which make for small sulphur-content make also for large silicon-content. In the acid Bessemer process the reason why the sulphur-content must be small is that the process removes no sulphur; and the reason why the silicon-content should be constant is that, because silicon is here the chief source of heat, variations in its content cause corresponding variations in the temperature, a most harmful thing because it is essential to the good quality of the steel that it shall be finished and cast at the proper temperature. It is true that the use of the “ mixer ” (§ 77) lessens these variations, and that there are convenient ways of mitigating their effects. Nevertheless, their harm is 'not completely done away with. But if the conversion is only begun in the converter and finished on the open-hearth, then there is no need of regulating the temperature in the converter closely, and variations in the silicon-content of the pig iron thus become almost harmless in this respect. In the basic open-hearth process, on the other hand, silicon is harmful because the silica which results from its oxidation not only corrodes the lining of the furnace but interferes with the removal of the phosphorus, an essential part of the process. The sulphur-content should be small, because the removal of this element is both slow and difficult. But if the silicon of the pig iron is removed by a preliminary treatment in the Bessemer converter, then its presence in the pig iron is harmless as regards the open-hearth process. Hence the blast furnace process, thus freed from the hampering need of controlling accurately the silicon-content, can be much more effectively guided so as to prevent the sulphur from entering the pig iron.

Looking at the duplex process in another'way, the preliminary desilicidizing in the Bessemer converter should certainly be an advantage; but whether it is more profitable to give this treatment in the converter than in the mixer remains to be seen. 103. In the cemenlation process bars of wrought iron about i} in. thick are carburized and so converted into high carbon

“ blister steel, ” by heating them in contact with charcoal in