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Word Count: 885
Steelmaking involves the removal of irons impurities and the addition of desirable alloying elements Steel was first made by cementation a process of heating bars of iron with charcoal so that the surface of the iron acquired a high carbon content The bars were then fused together yielding a metal harder and stronger than the individual bars but lacking uniformity in these properties The crucible method consisting of melting iron together with other substances in a crucible is one of the costlier steelmaking processes employed only for making special steels eg the famous blades of Damascus Steel is often classified by its carbon content a high-carbon steel is hard and brittle low- or medium-carbon steel can be welded and tooled Alloy steels now the most widely used contain one or more elements that give them special properties Aluminum steel is smooth and has a high tensile strength Chromium steel is used in automobile and airplane parts because of its hardness strength and elasticity Nickel steel is the most widely used of the alloys it is nonmagnetic and has the tensile properties of high-carbon steel without the brittleness Stainless steel has a high tensile strength and resists abrasion and corrosion because of its high chromium content It is used in kitchen utensils plumbing fixtures piping for industrial plants architectural decoration and other applications where durability is desired The exact date at which people discovered the technique of smelting iron ore to produce usable metal is not known The earliest iron tools found by archaeologists in Egypt date from about 3000 BC and iron ornaments were used even earlier the comparatively advanced technique of hardening iron weapons by heat treatment was known to the Greeks about 1000 BC The alloys produced by early iron workers and indeed all the iron alloys made until about the 14th century AD would be classified today as wrought iron They were made
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