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Middle Ages : Blast Furnace
Transcript of Middle Ages : Blast Furnace
By : Briana Outlaw
The blast furnace was designed to increase iron production. It used extra oxygen to make a fire hot enough to smelt the iron. The liquid iron was then poured into molds to make hundreds of identical objects like cannonballs or foundations of many buildings (Bunch, 2012).
The production of cast iron made by blast furnaces was very high. Cast iron was very useful for producing firearms and many other durable implements that helped build many buildings during the middle ages (Walton, 2011).
Charcoal and coke were used to fuel the blast furnaces. Coke was way more efficient than charcoal because it was a lot more calorific than charcoal was (Eggert, 2011).
Before metal could be used, it had to be separated from the ore. Some metals, such as copper and lead, were purified by the furnaces until they melted (France, 2012).
Until the middle ages, there was no way to make iron ore hot enough to melt. Instead, the iron ore was cleaned and crushed, then put into a furnace with either a lot of charcoal or coke (Groves, 2013).
The blast furnace was "charged" by emptying about twenty baskets of clean charcoal into the tunnelhead of the furnace. That was then followed by seven hundred pounds or so of iron ore, then enough limestone for the flux (Darby, 2013).
Some of the first furnaces were powered by a large overshot waterwheel under the charging bridge and then from the other side of the furnace. Some were even powered by hand (Bunch, 2012).
In appearance, the typical blast furnace is in the form of a tower. Secure doors are mounted onto the front of the device, making it possible to feed the raw materials either by hand or with the use of a conveyor belt. Some furnaces of this type were also equipped with a drawer at the base that makes the collection of materials and other finished products much simpler (Darby, 2013).
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