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Old December 10th, 2016, 07:28 PM   #11
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 5,940

Originally Posted by Matthew Amt View Post
Almost. *Melting* iron to cast it requires 2800 degrees F. But that was very rarely done, or needed, in the ancient world. For SMELTING the iron from its ore, 2300 degrees is enough. Copper melts at about 2000 degrees, so not all that much lower than the smelting point of iron.

It is true that smelting iron has to be done in a closed furnace or bloomery, but I believe that is true for copper as well, but that's probably a carry-over technology from firing pottery, which was happening millennia before metalurgy.

As I understand it, there are still people smelting iron in ancient-style bloomeries using charcoal as fuel. Not *certain* about that, probably an easy Google search!

Carbon lowers the melting point of iron, cast iron with 2 to 4% carbon has a melting point of around 2200 F. The Chinese did peoduce cast iron, but nobody in the ancient western world did. Cast iron is too brittle for most applications, so a the carbon has to be reduced in a finery forge or puddling furnace.
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