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Ronald Craig
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953 Posts
This is my first post to GTTalk about my day. I've posted lots of comments lol....
Its near 1 o'clock in the morning tonight, Last night I was @ work finishing up a string of midnights. The weather here in northern In. changes 1 minute to the next. So this week we had rain then freezing temperatures and then both @ the same time. I operate what is called a Charging Crane for a steel mill. To charge one of our furnaces you first charge steel scrap into the furnace, about 120 to 200,000 lbs then you pour near 300 tons of liquid iron over top the scrap.

Then the furnace turns upright and a lance (close to 100ft long) drops down the middle of it and blows pure oxygen @ a rate equaling the speed of a jet going mach 1 (about 700 mph)., turning the iron into steel in about 22 min.

Usually the nights and days go by uneventful, except during this kind of weather.. You can pour all the water you want on liquid steel, nothing will happen but cool the steel. But you cannot pour liquid steel on water or moisture of any kind... It turns into a hydrogen explosion.

So during these type of weather conditions what happens is rain fills all crevices and pipes of the scrap then freezes. (I must note all scrap is kept outside, there's no building big enough to cover all the scrap.) During the summer, the water stays in a liquid state. With me knowing that it is raining outside; I simply pour the iron slowly, evaporating the water as I pour, with maybe just a few small rumbles and booms.

Not the case when it freezes. If the frozen pipe (sealed at 1 end) falls into the furnace upside down, sealed end up open end on bottom, (in witch case the water would run out in the summer time), but because its frozen, it stays put. I then pour 300tons of liquid iron into the furnace on top of the scrap, The ice, inside the pipe is protected by the pipe for a short time, enough time to get completely covered by the iron at 2500 degrees. The pipe melts then exposes the ice to turn from a solid to steam instantly. At this point what happens is an instant expansion of area.

Any amount of liquid turned into steam will expand 250 times its size in a split second, causing a huge explosion. The only thing between me and the furnace is the ladle I'm pouring iron from. In my cab, my front windows contain 2 windows with 3 pains of glass each, all 3 of them weigh 100 lbs. and are bullet proof up to a 38 caliber bullet. After the explosion I needed new windows, cuz 2 pains in each window shattered, and 1 pair of underwear that was now stained...
Its now near 2am the next night, I slept 3 hrs B4 waking up reliving the explosion in my dreams lol. With nothing else to do I thought Id share my previous day with you all.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1041065520694&l=2308562644320078839
I hope this works! This is a link to my Video file of a 12 second video, of the furnace with a buddy of mine walking in front of the furnace while the oxygen is being blown into the furnace, to give you a mental image of the size of the furnace. In this video your just seeing the top half of the furnace, the rest obviously goes down under the floor. I Love My Job :)
 

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Admirer of DEERE enjoyneering and design!
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4,461 Posts
yeb, as Will said the link doesn't work for fb non-members
 

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Collector of Rusty Junk
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3,186 Posts
There was a steel furnace blow up in Muskogee a few years ago, it took out quite an area.
 
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Collector of Rusty Junk
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3,186 Posts
The link still doesn't work.
 
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Premium Member
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2,972 Posts
thanks for the link, it worked for me,and wow! That took me back a few years. I have seen something like that back when I was a apprentice electrician,a few decades ago. Had a gig at GST. a steel mill that is gone now, that used to be in kansas city MO.
 

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Collector of Rusty Junk
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I have seen a lance used before to burn a hole in a steel shaft. We used a piece of 1/2" pipe, hooked to an O2 bottle, the shaft was 8" in dia and probably 8' long. It was in a rotor from a rock crusher. We needed to burn a hole the shaft so we could have it pressed out and remade. Straight O2 makes steel run like water.
 
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Red Tractor Nut & Diesel Addict
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32,409 Posts
Hey Nephew Ron! (BaumBaum is my oldest sister's oldest son) That kinda tops anything I've got! Glad the windows held "just enough" !
 

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Tractorholic
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3,907 Posts
I grew up 3 blocks from the Newton Foundry, My dad worked part time as a moulder and my brother worked shakeout.
That was on a much smaller scale than your doing, but have heard enough stories to understand it can be very dangerous,,
Stay safe!A ND THANKS FOR SHARING
 

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Member
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1,333 Posts
That is educational. I never knew that was how it was done. I am glad you are safe.

Geno
 
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