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Published: Kem. Ind. 51 (7-8) (2002) 317–328
Paper reference number: KUI-50/2001
Paper type: Review

Production of Steels in 20th Century

M. Gojić, J. Črnko and S. Kožuh


The role of iron alloys, especialy of steels, is a very important in the national economy because every industryis using iron alloys. In this work, the steel production during 20th century is reviewed including a short historical review of steelmaking processes (Bessemer, Thomas and Siemens-Martin). The accent is put on current processes of steels production (BOF-Basic Oxygen Furnace and EAF-Electric Arc Furnace processes) which dominate in the industrially developed countries. Production of iron and steels has been during centuries,the synonym of the economic as well as of the political power of every country. This is the same today.Thus, the geographically small countries have to develop the steel production (Table 1). Analysis showed that between 1950 and 1975, the highest increase of steels production is observed (from 240 mil. tons up to 700 mil. tons). In the last 25 years the fraction of steels produced by means ofelectric arc furnace was increased from 19 % to 33 % (Figure 2). It is realised on account of the decreasingof the steel production by Siemens-Martin process. It was expected that at the end of the 20th century the steels production grow up to 1000 mil. tons. However,due to the saturated market of industrial countries, the oil crisis, the changes in the former communistcountries, as well as the improvement of quality of steels, that was not realised. During the year2000, the total crude steel production was 847.2 mil. tons (which is for 7.4 % higher than in 1999). Today,forecasts show that up to the year 2010, the steels production will grow about 3 % per year. In thiscontext, it is expected that the need for the iron ore will increase (Figure 8). In addition to the illustration of the highest production countries and companies, the comparison of geographicalareas concerning the steels production is given here (Figure 10). It can be observed that the increaseof the production of steel occurs in Asia, Africa and South America. For the last 20 years China increasedthe steel production three times and today China is the highest world steel production country(127.2 mil. tons in year 2000). Also, high increase of the steel production is observed in the Republic ofKorea (sixth place of highest steel production countries). With the aspects of the future development of steelmaking, we can expect the continuation of investmentsin un-coke metallurgy by increases of steel production by means of EAF of about 2 % per year (to2010), as well as an increase of the fraction of the electro steel from the current 33 % to 41 %. Special attentionwill be directed to the ecology. Steel is the "green material" because 45 % of the total steel productsis recycled. For obtaining the forecast of the crude steel production (Figure 11-13) we need the permanent educationof personnel for dealing with the advanced technology. The development and automatization ofsteel production resulted in the decreasing the total number of people employed in the steel shop industry.Important attention will be directed to the quality assurance, using the directly reduced iron, the decreasingcontents of tramp elements, to secondary metallurgy etc. In spite of all the changes, steel will be main construction material i. e. steel is the material of the future.

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production of steel, secondary metallurgy, scrap steel, recycling