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825
IRON AND STEEL


slag and purihed metal through the spout I at the end of the process. This spout and the charging doors A, A are kept closed except when in actual use for pouring or charging. The Kjellin furnace consists essentially of an annular trough, AA (fig. 24), which contains the molten charge. This charge is heated, like the filaments of a common household electric lamp, by the resistance which it offers to the passage of a current of electricity induced in it by means of

the core C and the frame

E E EEE. The ends of this

core are connected above,

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wg/ 4 Z / 4 E of that frame, .o that the 0 / / trough and this core ind

frame stand to each ot er

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a common oval-linked

chain. A current of great

electromotive force (intensity

or voltage) passed

through the coil D, induces,

by means of the core and frame, a current of enormous quantity (volume or amperage), but very small electromotive force, in the metal in the trough. Thus the apparatus is analogous to the common transformers used for inducing from currents of great electromotive force and small quantity, which carry energy through long distances, currents of great quantity and small electromotive force for incandescent lights and for welding The molten metal in the Kjellin trough forms the “ secondary " circuit. Like the Heroult furnace, the Kjellin furnace may be lined with either magncsite or chromite, and it may be tilted for the purpose of pouring off slag and metal.

The shape which the molten metal under treatment has in the Kjellin furnace, a thin ring of large diameter, is evidently bad, inconvenient for manipulation and with excessive heat-radiating surface. In the Roechling-Rodenhauser induction furnace (fig. 25), FIG. 24.-Kjellin Induction Electric

Steel Melting Furnace.

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FiG.25.~Plan of Roechling-Rodenhauser Induction Electric Furnace.

the molten metal lies chiefly in a large compact mass A, heated at three places on its periphery by the current induced in it there by means of the three coils and cores CCC. The molten metal also extends round each of these three coils, in the narrow channels B. It is in the metal in these channels and in that part of the main mass of metal which immediately adjoins the coils that the current is induced by means of the coils and cores, as in the Kjellin furnace. When the Heroult furnace is used for completing the purification of molten steel begun in the Bessemer or open-hearth process, and this is its most appropriate use, the process carried out-in it may be divided into two stages, first dephosphorization, and second deoxidation and desulphurization.

In the first stage the phosphorus is removed from the molten steel by oxidizing it to phosphoric acid, PQOS, by means of iron oxide contained in a molten slag very rich in lime, and hence very basic and retentive of that phosphoric acid. This slag is formed by melting lime and iron oxide, with a little silica sand if need be. Floating on top of the molten metal, it rapidly oxidizes its phosphorus, and the resultant phosphoric acid combines with the lime in the overlying slag as phosphate of lime. When the removal of the phosphorus is sufficiently complete, this slag is withdrawn from the furnace.

Next comes the deoxidizing and desulphurizing stage, of which the first step is to threw some strongly de-oxidizing substance, such as coke or ferro-silicon, upon the molten metal, in order to remove thus the chief part of the oxygen which it has taken up during the oxidation of the phosphorus in the preceding stage. Next the metal is covered with a very basic slag, made by melting lime with a little silica and fluor spar. Coke now char ed into this slag first deoxidizes any iron oxide contained in either sllag or metal, and next deoxidizes part of the lime of the slag and thus forms calcium, which, uniting with the sulphur present in the molten metal, forms calcium sul Qhide, CaO+FeS+C=CaS-I-Fe-I-CO. This sulphide is nearly insoluble in the metal, but is readily soluble in the overlying basic slag, into which it therefore passes. The thorough removal of the sulphur is thus brought about by the deoxidation of the calcium. It is by forming calcium sulphide that sulphur is removed in the manufacture of pig iron in the iron blast furnace, in the crucible of which, as in the electric furnaces, the conditions are strongly deoxidlzing But in the Bessemer and open-hearth processes this means of..removing sulphur cannot be used, because in each of them there is always enough oxygen in the atmosphere to re-oxidize any calcium as fastas it is deoxidized. Here sulphur may indeed be removed to a very important degree in the form of manganese sulphide, which distributes itself between metal and slag in rough accord with the laws of equilibrium. But if we rely on this means we have difficulty in reducing the sulphur content of the metal to 0-03% and very great difficulty in reducing it to o-02 %, whereas with the calcium sulphide of the electric furnaces we can readily reduce it to less than 0-01 %. Wh.en the desulphurization is sufficiently complete, the sulphur bearing slag is removed, the final additions needed to give the metal exactly the composition aimed at are made, and the molten steel is tapped out of the furnace into its moulds. If the initial quantity of phosphorus or sulphur is large, or if the removal of these impurities is to be made very thorough, the dephosphorizing or the desulphurizing slagging off may be repeated. Vl/'hile the metal lies tranquilly on the bottom of the furnace, any slag mechanically suspended in it has a chance to rise to the surface and unite with the slag layer above.

In addition to this work of purification, the furnace may be used for melting down the initial charge of cold metal, and for beginning the purification-in short not only for finishing but also for roughing. But this is rarely expedient, because electricity is so expensive that it should be used for doing only those things which cannot be accomplished by any other and cheaper means. The melting can be done much more cheaply in a cupola or open-hearth furnace, and the Erst part of the purihcation much more cheaply in a Bessemer converter or open-hearth furnace.

The normal use of the Kjellin induction furnace is to do the work usually done in the crucible process, 'i.e. to melt down very pure iron for the manufacture of the best kinds of steel, such as fine tool and spring steel, and to bring the molten metal simultaneously to the exact composition and temperature at which it should be cast into its moulds. This furnace may be used also for purifying the molten metal, but it is not so well suited as the arc furnaces for dephosphorizing. The reason for this is that in it the slag, by means of which all the purification must needs be done, is not heated effectively; that hence it is not readily made thoroughly liquid; that hence the removal of the phosphoric slag made in the early dephosphorizing stage of the process is liable to be incomplete; and that hence, finally, the phosphorus of any of this slag which is left in the furnace becomes deoxidized during the second or deoxidizing stage, and is thereby returned to befoul the underlying steel. The reason why, the slag is not heated effectively is that the heat is developed only in the layer of metal itself, by its resistance to the induced current, 'and hence the only heat which the slag receives is that supplied to its lower surface by the metal, while its upper side is constantly radiating heat away towards the relatively cool roof above.

The Roechling-Rodenhauser furnace is unfitted, by the vulnerability of its interior walls, for receiving charges of cold metal to be melted down, but it is used to good advantage for purifying molten basic Bessemer steel sufficiently to fit it for use in the form of railway rails.

We are now in a position to understand why electricity should be used as a source of heat in making molten steel. Electric furnaces are at an advantage over others as regards the removal of sulphur and of iron oxide from the molten steel, because their atmosphere is free from the sulphur always present in the fiame of coal-fired furnaces, and almost free from oxygen, because this element is quickly absorbed by the carbon and silicon of the steel, and in the case of arc furnaces by the carbon of the electrodes themselves, and is replaced only very slowly by leakage, whereas through the Bessemer converter and the open-hearth furnace a torrent of air is always rushing. As We have seen, the removal of sulphur can be made complete only by deoxidizing calcium, and this cannot be done if much oxygen is present. Indeed, the freedom of the atmosphere

of the electric furnaces from oxygen is also the reason indirectly