Open hearth furnace

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Steel Plant Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Open-hearth furnaces are one of several kinds of furnaces in which excess carbon and other impurities are burnt out of pig iron to produce steel.[1] Since steel is difficult to manufacture owing to its high melting point, normal fuels and furnaces were insufficient and the open-hearth furnace was developed to overcome this difficulty. The furnace is heated using burning gas. Once the charge has melted, heavy scrap, such as building, construction or steel milling scrap is added, together with pig iron from blast furnaces. Once all the steel has melted, slag-forming agents such as limestone are added. The oxygen in iron oxide and other impurities decarburizes the pig iron by burning excess carbon away, forming steel. To increase the oxygen content of the heat, iron ore can be added.[2]


  1. K. Barraclough, Steelmaking 1850-1900 (Institute of Metals, London 1990), 137-203.
  2. A Study of the Open Hearth: A Treatise on the Open Hearth Furnace and the Manufacture of Open Hearth Steel. Harbison-Walker Refractories Company. (2015), 102 pag, ISBN 1341212122, ISBN 978-1341212123

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