A blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for smelting to produce industrial metals, generally iron.
In a blast furnace, fuel, ore, and flux (limestone) are continuously supplied through the top of the furnace, while air (sometimes with oxygen enrichment) is blown into the lower section of the furnace, so that the chemical reactions take place throughout the furnace as the material moves downward. The end products are usually molten metal and slag phases tapped from the bottom, and flue gases exiting from the top of the furnace. The downward flow of the ore and flux in contact with an upflow of hot, carbon monoxide-rich combustion gases is a countercurrent exchange process.
Blast furnaces are to be contrasted with air furnaces (such as reverberatory furnaces), which were naturally aspirated, usually by the convection of hot gases in a chimney flue. According to this broad definition, bloomeries for iron, blowing houses for tin, and smelt mills for lead would be classified as blast furnaces. However, the term has usually been limited to those used for smelting iron ore to produce pig iron, an intermediate material used in the production of commercial iron and steel.
Famous quotes containing the words blast and/or furnace:
“Another hand thy sword shall wield,
Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpets mouth is pealed
The blast of triumph oer thy grave.”
—William Cullen Bryant (17941878)
“A man may take care of a furnace for twenty-five years and still forget to duck his head when he starts going down the cellar stairs.”
—Robert Benchley (18891945)