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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Iron is a lustrous, silvery soft metal. It is one of the few ferromagnetic elements.

  • Iron and iron alloys are also the most common source of ferromagnetic materials in everyday use.

  • Iron is believed to be the sixth most abundant element in the universe, formed as the final act of nucleosynthesis by carbon burning in massive stars.

  • Steel is an alloy consisting mostly of iron, with a carbon content between 0.2 and 2.04% by weight, depending on grade.

Process

  • The common ores of iron are both iron oxides, and these can be reduced to iron by heating them with carbon in the form of coke. Coke is produced by heating coal in the absence of air.

  • Steel is manufactured by the chemical reduction of iron ore, using an integrated steel manufacturing process or a direct reduction process.

  • In the conventional integrated steel manufacturing process, the iron from the blast furnace is converted to steel in a basic oxygen furnace (BOF).

  • Steel can also be made in an electric arc furnace (EAF) from scrap steel and, in some cases, from direct reduced iron.

  • BOF is typically used for high-tonnage production of carbon steels, while the EAF is used to produce carbon steels and lowtonnage specialty steels. An emerging technology, direct steel manufacturing, produces steel directly from iron ore.

  • The smelting and refining process for iron and steel in the BF-BOF process involves the carbon reduction of iron ore (Fe2O3) in the BF to make molten iron, and decarburization of molten iron in the BOF to make molten steel.

  • In addition to the BF-BOF process, there is another process which utilizes mainly scrap as an iron source, with some direct reduced iron whenever necessary. The direct reduced iron is produced by reducing iron ore with reformed natural gas, whose principal components are hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane.

Technology

  • Advanced iron and steel technologies have seen substantial development over the past decade and are regularly incorporated into new designs and redesigns by all automakers.

  • The steel industry and component suppliers are investing heavily in innovation.

  • Lightweight steel techniques have an ongoing potential to achieve multiple design objectives, including mass reduction for fuel economy improvement, safety improvements for both crashworthiness and compatibility, and otherenhancements in vehicle performance and functionality.

Market

  • India's ministry of mines has come out in support of iron ore producers who have criticised the ministry of finance's recent move to increase export duty on iron ore.

  • Iron ore production capacity and demand are expected to increase at high rates over the next couple of years, with a variety of factors likely to influence the demand/supply balance, UNCTAD said.

  • Turkey is one of the major players in the international steel market. It was Europe’s fifth largest and the world’s 11th biggest steel producer with an estimated total production of 26 million tons, commanding 2 percent of global output.

  • HIsmelt is a direct iron making technology developed with the support of the Australian Government by a Rio Tinto led joint venture. HIsmelt steel is made by injecting iron ore fines and noncoking coal directly into a molten metal bath to create high quality pig iron.

  • The technology is potentially of great benefit to India as quality iron can be made using low priced, low quality metallurgical coal. HIsmelt uses much of the same equipment as a blast furnace so existing facilities can be easily upgraded.

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