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Historic Steelmaking

  • 1.  Historic Steelmaking

    Posted 8 days ago

    A friend of mine asked an archeometallurgy question, and I knew just where to turn...

    "If there is a large gear in a piece of machinery made in the 1860's that is failing from use, what would be the most common cause?

    This is hypothetical - it is a fictive element in a book I'm writing, but I would like to have the science right .. . The gear was originally made in England for one of the ironclad blockade running boats, and forge they will be making the gear is in Richmond where they did have a cupola furnace at the time - Is it enough to suggest that the cupola furnace will make stronger steel than the original forge in England because of the superior process? Or is there an additive I could mention that might have been missing in the original mix that made the metal weaker?"

    I am thinking different chemistries due to different ore sources, or inclusions/impurities fewer in cupola furnace process, but I don't know anything about steel making in that era.



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    Janine Borofka
    Senior Chief Engineer - Materials
    JLG Hagerstown MD
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  • 2.  RE: Historic Steelmaking

    Posted 7 days ago
    The steel of the 1800s was a very good quality steel, so if it had inclusions of silicates, manganese that contributes to its ductility, it is really a very noble material, the chemical composition achieved is very good. Clarifying that at that time it classified as steel, today it does not qualify as steel because much progress was made in the chemical composition and in the proccesses.

    I have analyzed wrought iron from a bridge still in use from 1890, the material came from England, I tell you almost no corrosion, in its microstructure silicate inclusions are observed in the direction of the forging, which was done to give the material hardness , they placed Mn also for ductility, they thought it over quite well !!

    I hope this short and simple serves!

    ------------------------------
    [Patricia Silvana] [Carrizo]
    [Ms.]
    [Chemical Engineer]
    [Archaeometallurgy Area - UTN FRM]
    [Mendoza] [Argentina]
    [+542615577229]
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Historic Steelmaking

    Posted 7 days ago
    In the late 1800's, large gears were made by casting steel into a large sand mold. About 50 years ago, I did a failure analysis on such a large gear. The gear teeth failed by fatigue which happens when the repetitive applied loads exceed the fatigue strength. Cracks formed at the base of the gear teeth from the applied loads and the fatigue cracks grew until they were large enough that the teeth simply fell off. Investigation showed that all of the gear teeth were cracked and many were cracked more than 50% across the width of the gear teeth.
    This gear was part of a railroad car dumper in which the cars were simply turned over to dump out the iron ore being used for steel making. When several of the teeth failed at the same time, and the railroad car came crashing down causing a lot of damage to the structure. It took several days to repair the damage.
    The gear was made of 0.18 wt pct carbon steel. During casting, much of the carbon was lost (decarburized) at the surface due to reaction with the sand mold material, thus causing low fatigue strength at the surface of the gear teeth where the maximum stress was applied.
    The design of the large gear was probably adequate for the operations at the time. However, over time, the size and capacity of the railroad cars were increased by more than a factor of two causing much higher stresses to be applied to the gear teeth. The engineers had simply failed to upgrade the design of the steel gears.
    Today, the steel chemical composition could have been upgraded, and special heat treatments could be utilized to provide much higher fatigue strengths. For the initial design at the time, the strength was likely adequate given the early limitations on manufacturing methods.

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    Robert Cryderman
    Research Associate Professor
    Colorado School Of Mines
    Erie MI
    (734) 735-3093
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  • 4.  RE: Historic Steelmaking

    Posted 7 days ago

    Hi Janine,

     

    The timing is good for an early experiment with the Bessemer process (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessemer_process) early licensees were plagued with problems and this could be one of them? Without getting too far in the weeds, cupola furnaces typically produce high carbon liquid iron which can be directly cast into a net shape or poured into an open mold to make pig iron. The pig iron can then be re-melted and cast but it must be refined into a lower carbon alloy to approach "steel". Wrought iron, which I believe Ms. Carrizo is referring to, is a historic material with a composition similar to steel, but which was processed in a (mostly) solid state. If I remember correctly the earliest industrial process (a "bloomery" came earlier) was a puddling furnace where an air blast would burn out excess carbon, raising the melt temperature, until a semi-solid "bloom" of iron and slag would form in the melt. This bloom was manipulated until of sufficient size and was then drawn out of the furnace and wrought (hammered) until the majority of the slag was forced out. The final product was an ingot of iron with a steel-like metal composition and fibrous silicate (slag) inclusions called "wrought iron", which was indeed an excellent material, I wish it was still available commercially.

     

    Depending on the size it might be more accurate for the gear to be founded (cast in a foundry) than forged (hammed into shape in a forge). Sounds like a book I'd love to read, good luck!

     

    Best Regards,

    GIW Industries, Inc. (A KSB Company)
    Manufacturing Engineering – Advanced Manufacturing Engineer – Metallurgy & Foundry Systems


    Paul Taylor

    5000 Wrightsboro Road
    Grovetown, Ga 30813
    Tel.: +1 706-863-1011 ext 2559
    Fax: +1 706-868-8025
    Email: paul.taylor@ksb.com

    http://www.giwindustries.com

     






  • 5.  RE: Historic Steelmaking

    Posted 5 days ago
    Yes Paul !

    Exactly I have referred to the bloomery process and the puddled iron, it is precisely the iron material that for the date is what I can contribute to this talk, it was really a very noble material and of excellent quality, for that reason I think that teachings can still be rescued from the past.

    Kind Regards,

    ------------------------------
    [Patricia Silvana] [Carrizo]
    [Ms.]
    [Chemical Engineer]
    [Archaeometallurgy Area - UTN FRM]
    [Mendoza] [Argentina]
    [+542615577229]
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Historic Steelmaking

    Posted 5 days ago

    You might check the following. Both Bessemer and Open Hearth Steelmaking were available in the 1860's. These methods produced liquid steel that was suitable for casting into large parts. At that time, steel plants commonly cast many steel parts in sand molds that were made using beautiful wooden patterns – entire buildings were full of these wooden patterns for many parts.

     

    1.       K. Barraclough, Steelmaking 1850-1900 (Institute of Metals, London 1990), 137-203.

    2.      Jump up to:a b Philippe Mioche, « Et l'acier créa l'Europe », Matériaux pour l'histoire de notre temps, vol. 47, 1997, p. 29-36

    3.      ^ Avery, Donald; Schmidt, Peter (1978). "Complex Iron Smelting and Prehistoric Culture in Tanzania". Science. 201 (4361): 1085–1089. ISSN 0036-8075JSTOR 1746308.

    4.      Jump up to:a b c d A Study of the Open Hearth: A Treatise on the Open Hearth Furnace and the Manufacture of Open Hearth Steel. Harbison-Walker Refractories Company. (2015), 102 pag, ISBN 1341212122ISBN 978-1341212123

    5.      Jump up to:a b c Basic Open Hearth Steelmaking, with Supplement on Oxygen in Steelmaking, third edition (The Seely W. Mudd Series) The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (1964). Gerhard, Derge. ASIN B00IJLRL40.

    6.      ^ "В России закрывается последняя крупная мартеновская печь".

     

     

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