Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

Shawn Buchok, McMaster University Continuing Education Metallurgy and Business Administration graduate Shawn Buchok, McMaster University Continuing Education Metallurgy and Business Administration graduate

Metallurgy of Iron & Steel

Iron ore steel?
Know your product.

Gain a comprehensive knowledge of steel.

MET 449 - Primary Production of Steel Spring 2019

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
John D’Alessio & Joydeep Sengupta
Course Dates:
05/13/2019 - 07/14/2019

Required Course Materials:
No Textbook Required
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:
In this course we will study the chemical reactions and thermodynamics related to the production of steel and how they impact the environment. We will explore the production of iron in the blast furnace, the key processes of iron making from the raw materials (iron ore pellet, sinter, coke and flux) through to the final product (hot metal and slag) and the advantages and limitations of the blast furnace iron making process and the new iron making process development. And we will examine the BOF and EAF routes of steelmaking along with secondary refining and continuous casting to understand the advantages and critical parameters of each process.
Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will:

Describe the current state of worldwide steel production
Explain early iron and steelmaking techniques
List the main developments in the history of the blast furnace
Explain the basic chemical reactions that underpin iron and steelmaking
Describe the various zones of the blast furnace and the reactions that take place in these
List the main features of blast furnace design
Describe alternative ironmaking techniques
Explain basic steel chemistry
List the main features of integrated steel plants and mini mills
Describe the functions of oxygen steelmaking converters
Explain the basic principles of slag making and the role of refractories in a steelmaking shop
List types of scrap and basic considerations of scrap mix in steelmaking
Describe how electric arc furnaces operate
Describe ladle metallurgy and vacuum degassing processes
Explain the solidification and casting process
List major steel defects and the causes of these
Course Evaluation
The final grade is calculated based on the following components:

Participation in Online Discussions:                          20%
4 Quizzes (5% each)                                                        20%
3 Assignments (20% each)                                           60%
Course Format:
This course is designed to present the fundamental concepts and theories in metallurgy and promote the application to the workplace and professional practice. Course activities will include instructor presentations, required readings and experiential learning activities (i.e. case studies, group discussions, projects, etc.).

This course emphasizes student participation through weekly online discussion boards.  It is expected that students will read the assigned chapters per the weekly requirements.

Each week there will be one optional live online session (see Live Online Tutorial section).
The course will include a blend of individual and group activities; therefore, it is important for students to log in to this course site daily to check for updates, discussion board postings, email, etc
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late penalties for assignments:  2% per day up to a maximum of 5 days.  If after 5 days an assignment has not been submitted, the student will receive a zero mark for that assignment.

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):
In accordance to McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or bythe date specified. Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled due date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy. Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48-hour day window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).
Academic Integrity
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
Improper collaboration in-group work.
Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Academic Accommodations:
Students with disabilities who require academic accommodations must contact the Student Accessibility Centre (SAS) to meet with an appropriate Disability Services Coordinator. To contact SAS, phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652, or email For further information, consult McMaster University’s Policy for Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities.
On-line Elements:
In this course, we will be using on-line elements, which may include email, Avenue to Learn, WebEX, and external web sites.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.
Course Changes:
The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly
Course Withdrawal Policy:
Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (
Grading Scale:
Grade Equivalent Grade Point Equivalent Percentages
  A+                                  12                        90-100
  A                                    11                        85-89
  A-                                   10                        80-84
  B+                                   9                         77-79
  B                                     8                         73-76
  B-                                    7                         70-72
  C+                                   6                         67-69
  C                                     5                         63-66
  C-                                    4                         60-62
  D+                                   3                         57-59
  D                                     2                         53-56
  D-                                    1                         50-52
  F                                      0                           0-49


Course Schedule:


Topic & Readings

Assignments/Graded Components

Week 1


Topic: Steel Overview and History of the Blast Furnace

  • World Crude Steel Production
  • Steelmaking Flowlines
  • Ironmaking Processes
  • Steelmaking Processes
  • Casting
  • Steel Forming Flowlines
  • Primary Forming
  • Secondary Forming
  • Iron
  • Early Ironmaking Smelting Hole
  • Early Shaft or Bowl Furnace
  • Beehive Furnace For Smelting Iron Ore
  • Catalan Forge with Air Aspiration
  • Stuckofen Furnace
  • First Known Blast Furnace
  • Early Charcoal Blast Furnace
  • 18th to 19th Century Blast Furnace Developments
  • Late 19th Century Blast Furnace
  • Early 20th Century Blast Furnace Developments
  • Modern Blast Furnace


Online Discussion


Week 2


Topic: Blast Furnace Design

Part I

  • Docks - Material Handling
  • Stock Shed
  • Furnace Top
  • Gas Cleaning System
  • Stoves
  • Pulverized Coal Injection (PCI)

Part II

  • Cast House
  • Refractories
  • Furnace Proper



Quiz 1

Week 3


Topic: Blast Furnace Raw Materials


  • Blast Furnace Coke
  • Iron Ore / Sinter
  • Miscellaneous (limestone, slag, scrap)


Online Discussion


Week 4


Topic: Blast Furnace Fundamentals I



  • Five Zones – description, role, activities
  • Counter Current Flow
  • Cohesive Zone Formation – partially reduced iron
  • The Role of Coke



i) Primary Reactions:

  • Iron Oxide Reduction – how & where
  • Combustion Reactions
  • Tuyere Practice and Bosh Gas Properties

ii) Secondary Reactions:

  • Reactions in Active Coke Zone
  • The role of silicon and sulfur reactions
  • Alkali cycling
  • Slag/Metal Reaction in Deadman and Hearth




Quiz 2

Week 5


Topic: Alternative Ironmaking


  • Why Alternative Ironmaking?
  • Direct Reduction (DR) Processes
  • Smelting Reduction (SR) Processes
  • World Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) Production

Alternative Ironmaking Summary



Assignment 1

Week 6


Topic: Introduction to Steels and Steelmaking

  • Definition of steel
  • Importance of carbon and other alloying elements
  • Impact of alloying elements on steel properties
  • Types of steels and their applications
  • Quick review of pig iron or hot metal production
  • Conversion of hot metal to steel
  • Bessemer steelmaking process
  • Open hearth steelmaking process
  • Basic oxygen steelmaking
  • Electric arc furnace based steelmaking
  • Integrated steel sills vs. mini mills
  • Price and production data from industry


Online Discussion


Week 7


Topic: Basic Oxygen Steelmaking / Slags

  • Nomenclatures and raw materials
  • Operational steps and sequences
  • Types of Basic Oxygen Furnaces
  • Furnace design and operation
  • Tapping procedures
  • Data from typical BOFs
  • Oxidation reactions inside a Basic Oxygen Furnace
  • Pre-treatment of hot metal
  • Comparison between LD and OBM Furnaces
  • Role of steelmaking business unit
  • Process control methods
  • Environmental solutions



Quiz 3

Week 8


Topic: Slag, Refractories and Scrap



  • Role of slagmaking
  • Components of BOS slag and their characteristics
  • Foamy slag
  • Typical BOS slag composition
  • Slag recycling


  • Refractories and their classifications and forms
  • Characteristics of refractories and their wear
  • Refractories for basic oxygen steelmaking
  • Refractories for electric arc steelmaking
  • Refractories for ladles and stirring plugs


  • Sources and types of ferrous scrap

Scrap quality aspects


Assignment 2

Week 9


Topic: Scrap and Electric Arc Furnace Steelmaking


  • Comparison of EAF and BOF steelmaking routes
  • Electrical power to EAF
  • Features of a modern EAF
  • EAF operating cycle and energy balance
  • Furnace data from Canadian industry
  • Oxy-fuel burners
  • Oxygen lancing
  • Foamy slag
  • Postcombustion
  • Bottom Stirring
  • AC and DC furnaces
  • New scrap melting processes


Online Discussion


Week 10


Topic: Secondary Steelmaking

  • Tapping of steel and addition of synslag
  • Stirring in ladles
  • Reheating of bath in a ladle
  • Ladle refining
  • Alloy additions
  • Inclusion modification
  • Vacuum degassing



Quiz 4

Week 11


Topic: Solidification and Casting


  • Continuously cast products
  • Continuous casting machine
  • Transport of liquid steel from ladle to mould
  • Design features of continuous casting equipment
  • Solidification of steel
  • Fluid flow in the mould
  • Mould powder melting
  • Mould oscillation
  • SEN clogging
  • Caster breakout
  • Primary and secondary cooling
  • Metallurgical length
  • Tensile strain formation


Online Discussion


Week 12


Topic: Steelmaking Defects

  • Meniscus phenomena affecting solidification
  • Microsegregation and macrosegregation defects
  • Defects related to peritectic solidification
  • Oscillation mark and hook formation
  • Types of inclusions and sliver/stringer formation
  • Types of surface cracks on slabs
  • Types of internal cracks on slabs



Week 13



Assignment 3