Metals

How does a blast furnace work?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. A blast furnace is used to extract iron by literally melting it out of iron ore. Hot enough to liquefy iron, a blast furnace combines iron ore with other materials such as charcoal, coal and limestone. Then waves of extremely hot air are blasted into the furnace. This heat causes calcium in the limestone to combine with silicates from the other materials, creating slag. As these materials combine, liquid iron collects at the bottom of the furnace underneath the slag. Once enough liquid iron collects, it is let out of the blast furnace and mixed with sand. As it cools and hardens, the result is an intermediate material known as pig iron, which can be transformed into a number of useful forms of iron.

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