Pig iron is basically the by-product obtained from the process of making pure iron. High carbon fuel coke is used to heat the iron ore which produces a by-product with high carbon content.
Pig iron was widely used during the Industrial revolution and now it is used to create wrought iron. Wrought iron is used for various purposes and it is ingrained with many useful benefits.
Pig iron contains 4.5% of carbon in addition to different amounts of manganese, phosphorous, silicon and sulphur. This by-product of iron is found in different forms which include basic, haematite and nodular. The chemical composition of one material varies from another in many ways.
One of the most significant features of this form of iron is that it is very brittle. As it includes a high content of carbon and many other impurities it is very brittle and can break easily. Pure iron is very solid due to its metallic properties and low carbon content.
In comparison to steel and iron, pig iron (pig iron plants) has a lower melting point due to the presence of high carbon. Due to its low melting point, it can be used to make Grey iron which is a low grade iron.
The impurities found in this by-product have led to the formation of various other materials during the process of cooling. Iron carbide is made with a combination of iron and carbon during the cooling process. The graphite, found in pencils, is made of the remaining carbon in the smelting process. Large amounts of graphite are formed if pig iron is allowed to cool slowly.
Pig iron is used as an intermediary step in creating various iron products and steel. Wrought iron is also created from this by-product through a process that involves melting and combining the metal oxides. This makes the alloy less brittle and usable.
Another type of metal that can be refined from this by-product is cast iron. It is stronger and less brittle than the initial metal as the refining process removes carbon and sulphur. Cast iron also includes steel and scrap metal so it includes many beneficial characteristics. In the earlier days, cast iron was used to build huge buildings and bridges. Today it is used to make pans and pots that can withstand heat.
Steel is derived from iron and there are many methods to derive steel from the initial product. Before the development of steel, iron was primarily used in most of the fields. It was used for most of the building purposes which include skyscrapers and steam engines.
With the development and use of steel, the features and advantages of this material became obvious. Steel is lighter and stronger than iron. Today steel is used for most of the construction purposes as it is flexible and strong. It has better compression and tension properties than iron. Moreover, stainless steel products are widely used in most of the fields as it anti-corrosive and durable. Nevertheless, both iron and steel are used for varied purposes.