The science of metallurgy: How to convert iron into steel



The iron is formed into bars of a convenient size, and then placed in a cementing furnace with a sufficient quantity of cement, which is composed of coals of animal or vegetable substances, mixed with calcined bones, etc. The following are excellent cements: 1st, 1 part of powdered charcoal and 1/2 a part of wood-ashes well mixed together; or, 2nd, 2 parts of charcoal, moderately powdered, 1 part of borax, horn, hair, or skins of animals, burnt in close vessels to blackness, and powdered, and 1/2 a part of wood-ashes; mix them well together. The bars of iron converted into steel, are placed upon a stratum of cement, and covered all over with the same, and the vessel which contains them, closely luted, must be exposed to a red heat for 8 or 10 hours, when the iron will be converted into steel.

Steel is prepared from bar-iron by fusion; which consists of plunging a bar into melted iron, and keeping it there for some time, by which process it is converted into good steel.

All iron which becomes harder by suddenly quenching in cold water is called steel; and that steel which in quenching acquires the greatest degree of hardness in the lowest degree of heat, and retains the greatest strength in and after induration, ought to be considered as the best.





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