The entire process of steelmaking is a method that has survived over years of extracting and perfecting the craft. Steel is smelted on a large scale even these days using similar methods from since ages. Iron ore is propelled through two stages that are mainly involved in making steel. The most common process that’s widely used is the oxygen steelmaking method. In this, there’s an exothermic reaction including the iron ore along with a covering compound in the vessel which is for smelting steel. Pure steel is then extracted from the contents, along with slag which is an essential byproduct of the process.
In an exothermic reaction during the steel smelting process, maintaining the right temperature is of the utmost importance. The high temperature helps separate impurities from the steel, and prevents re-oxidization before extraction. Slag from previous smelting processes and artificial conditioners are used to maintain this thermal temperature. Essentially a covering compound, it helps in maintaining that temperature and certain other important needs.
What makes the use of a Covering Compound Necessary?
To process of steelmaking, especially in oxygen steelmaking, covering the steel with a compound is important to the method. It allows the person smelting the steel to be able to regulate the temperature inside the vessel. This is quite necessary for maintaining an optimal temperature for the steel getting extracted from the iron ore.
Slag, a byproduct of smelting steel, makes for a good covering compound. It essentially ‘conditions’ the iron ore by maintaining the temperature and through other important procedures. Naturally occurring or obtained slag is costly and hard to source. As a result, alternatives to natural slag called ‘Synthetic Slag’ have been discovered, and now in use.
Importance of Synthetic Slag in Steelmaking Processes:
- Synthetic slag is the byproduct made from rice hulls or husks. It is budget friendly yet quick and easy to use, making it an important alternative. It is essential in separating and holding all the impurities like sulphur and different substances from getting re-oxidised.
- Synthetic slag is able to withstand temperatures that are up to or higher than 1500 Celsius degrees without affecting the durability of the finished product.
- As a covering compound, synthetic slag collects or acts as a sponge for all the impurities that are expended from iron ore during smelting. This ensures that impurities don’t get mixed back with the steel after the process is over.
- During steelmaking, a lot of smoke is produced that blankets the factory. Using good quality of synthetic slag minimizes the smoke that’s produced, essentially making a healthy atmosphere for the workers in the factory.
- Synthetic slag as a covering compound insulates the iron ore thus, preventing heat from escaping the vessel and maintaining a stable temperature. Maintaining an optimal temperature is very important.
- Being reliable, synthetic slag effectively ensures that the steel’s quality extracted from the iron ore is consistent and uniform. It has to meet the standards of the manufacturer’s and be superior from all angles.
Because of how slag conditioners are quite expensive on the market, and with the demand for good quality slag being quite high, synthetic slag has flourished in the industry. Making steel with an exothermic reaction has become cheaper and more efficient ever since the use of synthetic slag began. This is why it’s become quite significant as a covering compound in steelmaking and other smelting processes.