The iron resources in the earth's crust are relatively abundant, accounting for about 5%. In iron ore, iron mainly exists in the form of oxides and carbonates. Because the affinity of iron and oxygen is not strong, it is easier to be reduced. Due to the low production cost and the formation of various alloys of iron, carbon and other elements, it has properties that can meet the requirements of industrial sectors such as machinery, construction, and transportation. Therefore, steel has always been an important raw material for various industries in the national economy, and the iron and steel industry is also one of the basic industries of the national economy.
Among all the raw materials for electric arc furnace steelmaking, iron and steel materials are the most important, accounting for 70% of the total, so iron and steel materials are the basis of electric arc furnace steelmaking. Steel material not only determines the output of EAF steel, but also has a direct impact on the quality and technical and economic indicators of EAF steel. The emergence of scrap iron and steel substitutes, on the one hand, makes up for the shortage of scrap iron and steel in developing countries, and on the other hand meets the needs of producing high-quality clean steel.
Electric arc furnace steelmaking not only saves iron ore and coking coal resources, but also reduces environmental pollution. At the same time, the accumulation of scrap iron and steel in the world is increasing, and if it is not used, it will become a new source of pollution. Since the establishment of the iron and steel industry, especially after the Second World War, with the rapid development of modern industry, the accumulation of iron and steel in the world has expanded rapidly, forming extremely rich scrap steel resources. According to incomplete statistics, since 1870, the total accumulated steel storage in the world's major steel-producing countries has exceeded 10,000Mt. In the United States (as of 1990), the steel storage capacity is 680Mt, and the sum of the steel storage capacity on the earth is still increasing.
From a metallurgical point of view. Scrap steel is also an excellent raw material for steelmaking. The process of using scrap steel to make steel is simple, and many process links such as mining, beneficiation, sintering, coking, blast furnace ironmaking, etc. are reduced compared with iron ore steelmaking. And it can reduce air pollution by 86%, water pollution by 76%, water consumption by 40%, and mining waste by 97%.
Generally speaking, scrap iron and steel refers to iron and steel materials and their products that have lost their original use value due to changes in shape and performance under specific environmental conditions.
So far, the main raw material for electric arc furnace steelmaking is scrap iron and steel, but the supply of scrap iron and steel is very uneven. It is manifested that the supply of most developing countries cannot meet the needs of the growth of electric arc furnace steelmaking, and it is economically unaffordable to use a large amount of imported scrap steel. In addition, the development of the electric arc furnace thin slab continuous casting process requires the use of clean raw materials for steelmaking. In this way, scrap iron and steel substitutes that can not only make up for the insufficient quantity of scrap iron and steel, but also meet the requirements of improving cleanliness have attracted the attention of electric arc furnace steelmaking manufacturers. Even this scrap steel substitute with very low impurity elements has become a necessity for the production of pure steel.
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