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A reverberatory furnace is a metallurgical or process furnace that isolates the material being processed from contact with the fuel, but not from contact with combustion gases. The term reverberation is used here in a generic sense of rebounding or reflecting , not in the acoustic sense of echoing.
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. Metallurgy is used to separate metals from their ore. Metallurgy is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to the production of metals, and the engineering of metal components for usage in products for consumers and manufacturers. The production of metals involves the processing of ores to extract the metal they contain, and the mixture of metals, sometimes with other elements, to produce alloys. Metallurgy is distinguished from the craft of metalworking, although metalworking relies on metallurgy, as medicine relies on medical science, for technical advancement. The science of metallurgy is subdivided into chemical metallurgy and physical metallurgy.
A furnace is a device used for high-temperature heating. The name derives from Latin word fornax, which means oven. The heat energy to fuel a furnace may be supplied directly by fuel combustion, by electricity such as the electric arc furnace, or through induction heating in induction furnaces.
A fuel is any material that can be made to react with other substances so that it releases energy as heat energy or to be used for work. The concept was originally applied solely to those materials capable of releasing chemical energy but has since also been applied to other sources of heat energy such as nuclear energy.
Chemistry determines the optimum relationship between the fuel and the material, among other variables. The reverberatory furnace can be contrasted on the one hand with the blast furnace, in which fuel and material are mixed in a single chamber, and, on the other hand, with crucible, muffling, or retort furnaces, in which the subject material is isolated from the fuel and all of the products of combustion including gases and flying ash. There are, however, a great many furnace designs, and the terminology of metallurgy has not been very consistently defined, so it is difficult to categorically contradict the other view.
A blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for smelting to produce industrial metals, generally pig iron, but also others such as lead or copper. Blast refers to the combustion air being "forced" or supplied above atmospheric pressure.
A crucible is a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures. While crucibles historically were usually made from clay, they can be made from any material that withstands temperatures high enough to melt or otherwise alter its contents.
A muffle furnace is a furnace in which the subject material is isolated from the fuel and all of the products of combustion, including gases and flying ash. After the development of high-temperature heating elements and widespread electrification in developed countries, new muffle furnaces quickly moved to electric designs.
The applications of these devices fall into two general categories, metallurgical melting furnaces, and lower temperature processing furnaces typically used for metallic ores and other minerals.
A reverberatory furnace is at a disadvantage from the standpoint of efficiency compared to a blast furnace due to the spatial separation of the burning fuel and the subject material, and it is necessary to effectively utilize both reflected radiant heat and direct contact with the exhaust gases (convection) to maximize heat transfer. Historically these furnaces have used solid fuel, and bituminous coal has proven to be the best choice. The brightly visible flames (due to the substantial volatile component) give more radiant heat transfer than anthracite coal or charcoal. Contact with the products of combustion, which may add undesirable elements to the subject material, is used to advantage in some processes. Control of the fuel/air balance can alter the exhaust gas chemistry toward either an oxidizing or a reducing mixture, and thus alter the chemistry of the material being processed. For example, cast iron can be puddled in an oxidizing atmosphere to convert it to the lower-carbon mild steel or bar iron. The Siemens-Martin oven in open hearth steelmaking is also a reverberatory furnace.
Exhaust gas or flue gas is emitted as a result of the combustion of fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, petrol, biodiesel blends, diesel fuel, fuel oil, or coal. According to the type of engine, it is discharged into the atmosphere through an exhaust pipe, flue gas stack, or propelling nozzle. It often disperses downwind in a pattern called an exhaust plume.
Convection is the heat transfer due to the bulk movement of molecules within fluids such as gases and liquids, including molten rock (rheid). Convection includes sub-mechanisms of advection, and diffusion.
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the generation, use, conversion, and exchange of thermal energy (heat) between physical systems. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as thermal conduction, thermal convection, thermal radiation, and transfer of energy by phase changes. Engineers also consider the transfer of mass of differing chemical species, either cold or hot, to achieve heat transfer. While these mechanisms have distinct characteristics, they often occur simultaneously in the same system.
Reverberatory furnaces (in this context, usually called air furnaces) were formerly also used for melting brass, bronze, and pig iron for foundry work. They were also, for the first 75 years of the 20th century, the dominant smelting furnace used in copper production, treating either roasted calcine or raw copper sulfide concentrate.While they have been supplanted in this role, first by flash furnaces and more recently also by the Ausmelt and ISASMELT furnaces, as they are very effective at producing slags with low copper losses.
Bronze is a 80+% copper alloy and 90+% copper&tin alloy with often the addition of other metals, such as aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc, and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.
Pig iron is an intermediate product of the iron industry, also known as crude iron, which is first obtained from a smelting furnace in the form of oblong blocks. Pig iron has a very high carbon content, typically 3.8–4.7%, along with silica and other constituents of dross, which makes it very brittle and not useful directly as a material except for limited applications. Pig iron is made by smelting iron ore into a transportable ingot of impure high carbon-content iron in a blast furnace as an ingredient for further processing steps. The traditional shape of the molds used for pig iron ingots was a branching structure formed in sand, with many individual ingots at right angles to a central channel or runner, resembling a litter of piglets being suckled by a sow. When the metal had cooled and hardened, the smaller ingots were simply broken from the runner, hence the name pig iron. As pig iron is intended for remelting, the uneven size of the ingots and the inclusion of small amounts of sand caused only insignificant problems considering the ease of casting and handling them.
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal into a mold, and removing the mold material after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminium and cast iron. However, other metals, such as bronze, brass, steel, magnesium, and zinc, are also used to produce castings in foundries. In this process, parts of desired shapes and sizes can be formed.
The first reverberatory furnaces were perhaps in the medieval period, and were used for melting bronze for casting bells. They were first applied to smelting metals in the late 17th century. Sir Clement Clerke and his son Talbot built cupolas or reverberatory furnaces in the Avon Gorge below Bristol in about 1678. In 1687, while obstructed from smelting lead (by litigation), they moved on to copper. In the following decades, reverberatory furnaces were widely adopted for smelting these metals and also tin. They had the advantage over older methods that the fuel was mineral coal, not charcoal or 'white coal' (chopped dried wood).
Sir Clement Clerke, 1st Baronet was an important English entrepreneur, whose greatest achievement was the application of the reverberatory furnace (cupola) to smelting lead and copper, and to remelting pig iron for foundry purposes.
The River Avon is an English river in the south west of the country. To distinguish it from a number of other rivers of the same name, this river is often also known as the Bristol Avon. The name "Avon" is a cognate of the Welsh word afon, "river".
Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.
In the 1690s, they (or associates) applied the reverberatory furnace (in this case known as an air furnace) to melting pig iron for foundry purposes. This was used at Coalbrookdale and various other places, but became obsolete at the end of the 18th century with the introduction of the foundry cupola, which was a kind of small blast furnace, and a quite different species from the reverberatory furnace.[ citation needed ]
Coalbrookdale is a village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, containing a settlement of great significance in the history of iron ore smelting. It lies within the civil parish called the Gorge.
The puddling furnace, introduced by Henry Cort in the 1780s to replace the older finery process, was also a variety of reverberatory furnace.[ citation needed ]
Today, reverberatory furnaces are widely used to melt secondary aluminium scrap for eventual use by die-casting industries.[ citation needed ]
The simplest reverberatory is nothing more than a steel box lined with alumina refractory brick with a flue at one end and a vertically lifting door at the other. Conventional oil or gas burners are placed usually on either side of the furnace to heat the brick and the eventual bath of molten metal is then poured into a casting machine to produce ingots.[ citation needed ]
Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore in order to extract a base metal. It is a form of extractive metallurgy. It is used to extract many metals from their ores, including silver, iron, copper, and other base metals. Smelting uses heat and a chemical reducing agent to decompose the ore, driving off other elements as gases or slag and leaving the metal base behind. The reducing agent is commonly a source of carbon, such as coke—or, in earlier times, charcoal.
Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content in contrast to cast iron. It is a semi-fused mass of iron with fibrous slag inclusions, which gives it a "grain" resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant and easily welded. Before the development of effective methods of steelmaking and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron. It was given the name wrought because it was hammered, rolled or otherwise worked while hot enough to expel molten slag. The modern functional equivalent of wrought iron is mild or low carbon steel. Neither wrought iron nor mild steel contain enough carbon to be hardenable by heating and quenching.
Steelmaking is the process for producing steel from iron ore and scrap. In steelmaking, impurities such as nitrogen, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and excess carbon are removed from the sourced iron, and alloying elements such as manganese, nickel, chromium and vanadium are added to produce different grades of steel. Limiting dissolved gases such as nitrogen and oxygen, and entrained impurities in the steel is also important to ensure the quality of the products cast from the liquid steel.
Copper extraction refers to the methods used to obtaining copper from its ores. The conversion of copper consists of a series of physical and electrochemical processes. Methods have evolved and vary with country depending on the ore source, local environmental regulations, and other factors.
Open hearth furnaces are one of a number of kinds of furnace where excess carbon and other impurities are burnt out of pig iron to produce steel. Since steel is difficult to manufacture due to its high melting point, normal fuels and furnaces were insufficient and the open hearth furnace was developed to overcome this difficulty. Compared to Bessemer steel, which it displaced, its main advantages were that it did not expose the steel to excessive nitrogen, was easier to control, and it permitted the melting and refining of large amounts of scrap iron and steel.
Pyrometallurgy is a branch of extractive metallurgy. It consists of the thermal treatment of minerals and metallurgical ores and concentrates to bring about physical and chemical transformations in the materials to enable recovery of valuable metals. Pyrometallurgical treatment may produce products able to be sold such as pure metals, or intermediate compounds or alloys, suitable as feed for further processing. Examples of elements extracted by pyrometallurgical processes include the oxides of less reactive elements like iron, copper, zinc, chromium, tin, and manganese.
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e. the singular of ironworks is ironworks.
Puddling was one step in one of the most important processes of making the first appreciable volumes of high-grade bar iron during the Industrial Revolution. In the original puddling technique, molten iron in a reverberatory furnace was stirred with rods, which were consumed in the process. It was one of the first processes for making bar iron without charcoal in Europe, although much earlier coal-based processes had existed in China. Eventually, the furnace would be used to make small quantities of specialty steels.
An induction furnace is an electrical furnace in which the heat is applied by induction heating of metal. Induction furnace capacities range from less than one kilogram to one hundred tonnes, and are used to melt iron and steel, copper, aluminium, and precious metals.
In metallurgy, refining consists of purifying an impure metal. It is to be distinguished from other processes such as smelting and calcining in that those two involve a chemical change to the raw material, whereas in refining, the final material is usually identical chemically to the original one, only it is purer. The processes used are of many types, including pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical techniques.
Mount Isa Mines Limited ("MIM") operates the Mount Isa copper, lead, zinc and silver mines near Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia as part of the Glencore group of companies. For a brief period in 1980, MIM was Australia's largest company. It has pioneered several significant mining industry innovations, including the Isa Process copper refining technology, the Isasmelt smelting technology, and the IsaMill fine grinding technology, and it also commercialized the Jameson Cell column flotation technology.
A cupola or cupola furnace is a melting device used in foundries that can be used to melt cast iron, Ni-resist iron and some bronzes. The cupola can be made almost any practical size. The size of a cupola is expressed in diameters and can range from 1.5 to 13 feet. The overall shape is cylindrical and the equipment is arranged vertically, usually supported by four legs. The overall look is similar to a large smokestack.
Zinc smelting is the process of converting zinc concentrates into pure zinc. Zinc smelting has historically been more difficult than the smelting of other metals, e.g. iron, because in contrast, zinc has a low boiling point. At temperatures typically used for smelting metals, zinc is a gas that will escape from a furnace with the flue gas and be lost, unless specific measures are taken to prevent it.
Flash smelting is a smelting process for sulfur-containing ores including chalcopyrite. The process was developed by Outokumpu in Finland and first applied at the Harjavalta plant in 1949 for smelting copper ore. It has also been adapted for nickel and lead production.
The ISASMELT process is an energy-efficient smelting process that was jointly developed from the 1970s to the 1990s by Mount Isa Mines Limited and the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation ("CSIRO"). It has relatively low capital and operating costs for a smelting process.
The Bottom-blown Oxygen Converter or BBOC is a smelting furnace developed by the staff at Britannia Refined Metals Limited (“BRM”), a British subsidiary of MIM Holdings Limited. The furnace is currently marketed by Glencore Technology. It is a sealed, flat-bottomed furnace mounted on a tilting frame that is used in the recovery of precious metals. A key feature is the use of a shrouded lance to inject oxygen through the bottom of the furnace, directly into the precious metals contained in the furnace, to oxidize base metals or other impurities as part of their removal as slag.