Steel

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Wheelzpin
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Steel

Post by Wheelzpin » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:19 pm

I've been playing Factorio for a few weeks now and I'm loving it. One little thing keeps bugging me, though. It's making steel. 5 iron plates makes one steel plate, according to the recipe, but you can't get steel from iron alone. You need to add carbon (coal or wood). So a better recipe would be 5 iron plates + xx coal or xx wood). I know that means changing furnaces to allow two inputs, but it would add the necessity of maintaining a good coal supply to your furnaces throughout the game.

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Re: Steel

Post by ficolas » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:27 pm

Arent you using carbon in the fuel slot?

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Re: Steel

Post by Gammro » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:37 pm

Technically not with electric furnaces. There might be a future tech where carbon isn't needed in the form of coal or wood(I don't know from where else then, but maybe the air on the planet is high in CO2?). But it's at least a bit weird, though I don't mind a bit of gamification.
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Re: Steel

Post by Nirahiel » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:39 pm

Given the fact that even electric furnaces generate pollution, one could say that the air is full of carbon dust, and furnaces burn up that carbon, that makes pollution (same apply with miners making a lot of dust)
And 5 iron is enough to get all the required carbon from the air to make steel ? :P

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Re: Steel

Post by ssilk » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:44 pm

He means, that you cannot make steel with wood. You really need some carbon for that.
It's normally not possible to produce steel in an electric furnace. Well maybe, when furnaces can have more inputs... But you can't tell them the recipe yet... Complicated...

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Re: Steel

Post by Nova » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:52 pm

You need carbon for steel? I though you have to remove the carbon from the iron to make steel. o_O
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Re: Steel

Post by kovarex » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:03 pm

Sooner or later we are planning quite big rework of the whole recipe structure.
Having the need to use some carbon that could also have to be preprocessed somehow could be another/better way to make steel more complicated to create.

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Re: Steel

Post by Gammro » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:35 pm

Nova wrote:You need carbon for steel? I though you have to remove the carbon from the iron to make steel. o_O
Well, maybe there's other methods in the future. But in modern steel production, the carbon from the cokes is burnt:
2 C + O2= 2 CO.
Then because of the heat and the CO, the Iron oxide reacts: Fe2O3 + 3 CO = 3 CO2 + 2 Fe, producing low-carbon containing iron, also called steel.

nb: It's primarily CO2 when burning the coal, then something happens. The immediate step to CO is to keep it simple. I'm also not really an expert and I don't fully understand the (expanded version of the) chemistry, but I've been around a steel factory a few times where they explained how it works.
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Re: Steel

Post by BurnHard » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:29 pm

Your formula explained the redox-process of iron-oxides (in this case our iron ore) where the oxygen from the ironoxide is removed to get metal iron. If we would like factorio to be correctely we would need the coal in the first place as ingredient in the furnaces for creating the iron plates, not the steel.

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Re: Steel

Post by Gammro » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:35 pm

I think your chemistry may be more up to date. My high school chemistry is now 4 years ago, and I haven't done much with it since. I now see I'm missing a lot of stuff in my explanation. Disregard that :P
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Re: Steel

Post by BurnHard » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:40 pm

Well this topic is quite complicated, because in some languages/for some persons iron/steel basically means the same. If we speak of steel as some high quality iron metal, we basically have to remove the remaining carbon from the molten metal iron (besides a lot of other things), a very good method is the "Linz-Donawitz-Verfahren" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_oxygen_steelmaking where you press air into the molten metal to remove :) the carbon.

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Re: Steel

Post by ssilk » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:18 pm

Nova wrote:You need carbon for steel? I though you have to remove the carbon from the iron to make steel. o_O
Huh... Mixed up. Sorry, but its now about 25 years ago... (How fast the time goes by?)
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Re: Steel

Post by ficolas » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:45 pm

You need to remove carbon from pig iron to nake steel (pig iron is an alloy of iron and carbon wich haves more than 2% of carbon)

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Re: Steel

Post by Wheelzpin » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:40 pm

That's another thing about this game to love; the intelligence of the folks on the forum is considerably higher than most.

My original post was more than a bit confusing (shouldn't post while I'm working). I was indeed talking about the electric furnaces, and although I mentioned steel, it's more correct that the carbon input is needed when smelting the raw ore in those furnaces. The point of it all was to suggest a way to keep coal in the processing chain throughout the game, beyond feeding the boilers.

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Re: Steel

Post by n9103 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:08 pm

The devs could just throw a flag onto steel to make it stone/steel furnace smeltable only.
Would eliminate this particular logical error, without requiring development of a multiple fuel furnace. (I don't think it would be remotely in line with logical ratios if coal went in 1:1 with steel, hence, not good for an assembly machine stand-in.)
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Re: Steel

Post by BurnHard » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:17 pm

n9103 wrote:The devs could just throw a flag onto steel to make it stone/steel furnace smeltable only.
Would eliminate this particular logical error, without requiring development of a multiple fuel furnace. (I don't think it would be remotely in line with logical ratios if coal went in 1:1 with steel, hence, not good for an assembly machine stand-in.)
Nooooo. :D As we explained, the iron ore smelting to the iron plates needs the coal, not the steel :D

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Re: Steel

Post by Hazard » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:54 pm

Actually, it should be possible to make steel from pure, elemental iron and carbon. You'd probably need to crush both to a fine powder, mix them and then heat them up under an anoxic atmosphere to the point they melt together, after which it should be workable like any other form of molten steel. The most likely reason this isn't used in reality is because the first production step for iron and steel products involves the use of carbon as a reducing agent anyway, so it's easier to use an excess of it in the reaction and later treat the intermediate product to remove the excess carbon for the production of steel.

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Re: Steel

Post by Wheelzpin » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:48 pm

Hazard wrote:Actually, it should be possible to make steel from pure, elemental iron and carbon. You'd probably need to crush both to a fine powder, mix them and then heat them up under an anoxic atmosphere to the point they melt together, after which it should be workable like any other form of molten steel. The most likely reason this isn't used in reality is because the first production step for iron and steel products involves the use of carbon as a reducing agent anyway, so it's easier to use an excess of it in the reaction and later treat the intermediate product to remove the excess carbon for the production of steel.
It's more than possible. A number of early cultures made steel for swords, knives, etc. that way. They would shovel a layer of iron ore into a pit or built-up clay trough, then start a wood fire across the top of it. After a week or so of constantly feeding the fire, it was allowed to die out. The ropey slag dug up from beneath the ashes had absorbed a good portion of carbon, along with lots of impurities. It took some time at the forge to remove the impurities, but the result was some very fine steel.

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Re: Steel

Post by n9103 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:55 pm

BurnHard wrote:Nooooo. :D As we explained, the iron ore smelting to the iron plates needs the coal, not the steel :D
So vice versa then.
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Re: Steel

Post by Psycho0124 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:03 am

That would be awesome to have a line of Bessemer Converters (or the newer but similar Linz-Donawitz Converters) belching huge plumes of flame while producing steel. Glorious big industry. :twisted:
The original Bessemer version just pumped air up through the molten pig iron while the newer LD converter uses pure oxygen to speed up the processes (turning carbon into CO2 and oxidizing impurities which then rise as slag).
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Maybe we could pump water to an electrolyzer to produce oxygen, then pipe the oxygen into several converters to create steel?

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