Steel industry made of sponge!
One of the most popular culinary art techniques used to whip up gastronomic delights is the art of reduction. This basic technique involves simmering or boiling a liquid mixture like soup, sauce, wine, or juice to thicken it. Reduction is an excellent way to infuse bolder and more intense flavor to a culinary creation.
This same principle is being used in industrial applications to create a raw material calledsponge iron or DirectReduced Iron (DRI). It is elementary for the generation of steel or iron-based items. Sponge iron is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore to iron by a reducing gas or elemental carbon produced from natural gas or coal. When the iron ore is reduced, oxygen content in the ore is eliminated. This leaves void spaces in the ore that give it a porous or spongy look. Hence the sobriquet ‘sponge iron’.
Sponge iron scores over alternatives. It is an ideal substitute in terms of chemical composition like balanced carbon content, very low sulphur and phosphorous content. It is necessary for assembling steel by induction furnaces and electric arc furnaces. It is also an excellent substitute for steel scrap. Steel-melting scrap is essential and acts as a feed material in all mini steel plants for dissolving in electric arc furnace/induction furnace to fabricate steel.
Steel manufacturers are the major consumers of sponge iron with a growing number of secondary steel manufacturers. In the years to come, India's expanding steel production will be largely driven by sponge iron. Experts believe that to sustain this growth, the Indian sponge industry should concentrate on installing and running pollution control equipment meeting the ecological norms.
Air compressors play an important role in the process of making sponge iron. They are extensively used in the kiln and in the pollution control process. Air compressors are used for operating pneumatic cylinders and solenoid valves in the kiln. They are also used in bag filters used to control pollution. Air compressors also supply air to the furnaces in the process of manufacturing steel. Another principal application is in operating pneumatic hammers used to remove sponge iron from smelting furnaces.
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