How The Bessemer Process Works

English: Bessemer Converter, outside entrance ...

Image via Wikipedia

Schematic drawing of a Bessemer converter

Image via Wikipedia

Henry Bessemer

Image via Wikipedia

The Bessemer Process is a process invented in 1855 to take the carbon out of Iron to make steel. Carbon, as I have said in many other posts, makes steel brittle and liable to break. Iron fresh from the smelter is high in carbon content, and so not good for buildings and other large projects. In the years previous 1855 it was possible to beat the carbon out with a hammer, and the carbon flew out as flaming sparks.

This took forever, however, and in the early 1850’s a man named Henry Bessemer invented a way to take the carbon out in large quantities. He found out that if Oxygen (which basically latches onto everything) is blown through molten Iron, the oxygen bubbles latch onto the impurities, which are carried up with the oxygen to the top, and the nearly pure Iron is poured out the bottom.

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