Iron and steel are made from iron ore, which is a metal found in some kinds of rocks. The rock is dug from the earth and put into a blast furnace. Charcoal, made from coal, and limestone are put into the furnace with the rock and air is blasted into it. It gets very hot! The iron ore melts and the liquid iron runs out and cools.
It is now called 'pig iron'. Pig iron is used to make wrought iron for garden furniture, some tools and horseshoes.
Steel is made from pig iron.
In a different kind of furnace that works very fast, (modern ones run on electricity), the pig iron is melted and some kinds of stuff that are part of the pig iron, called silica, phosphorous (say foss-for-us) and sulphur (say sull-fer) are removed. If silica, phosphorous and sulphur are left in they make the steel weak.
The liquid steel cools as bars or rods which are later rolled and flattened into sheets for building ships, machinery and cans, or made into steel girders for building skyscrapers and bridges.
Go here for information about making steel cans http://www.cannedfood.org/files/library/pdfs/Manufacture-can.pdf
Go here for information about recycling steel cans
Go here for a video showing how iron ore is made into steel. See the blast furnace in action.
Go here for a video showing the recycling of steel scrap to make stainless steel http://science.howstuffworks.com/blast-furnace-videos-playlist.htm
Iron and steel through history
Iron and steel facts
If you use any part of this in your own work, acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Thomas, R. & Sydenham, S. Iron and steel [Online] www.kidcyber.com.au (2004)
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