Term Paper: Steel Industry

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¶ … steel industry from 1875-1920 in the Great Lakes region

Foundation Course

Steel Production

The Great Lakes Region

THE HISTORY and the DEVELOPMENT of the STEEL INDUSTRY FROM 1875-1920 in the GREAT LAKES REGION

The Steel Industry from 1875 to 1920

Expansion of Trade through Canals

Contribution of the Great Lakes Region to the Iron and Steel Industry of the United States of America

The history and the development of the steel industry from 1875-1920 in the Great Lakes region.

The Iron and Steel sector of the United States of America is associated with the manufacturing and molding of steel into basic shapes and forms. These forms and shapes of steel can further be used to create other products. The iron and steel sector of the United States of America is divided into two major production units. (Staff of Sector Policies and Programs Division Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 10-25)These units contribute equally to the domestic production of steel.

1.2. Problem Statement

For the past 200 years, steel has been the most essential element of an industrial society which greatly shaped the economic power of the world. Since the early 20th century, USA has become the world's strongest economic power in the world and the resources and geographical features of the Great Lake regions played a remarkable role. (Staff of Sector Policies and Programs Division Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 10-25)

The steel industry of the U.S.A. is so crucial that it can be strongly associated with the globalization of a superpower. I would like to know more about the environment and the geographical features of the Great Lakes region and its influence on the history and the development of the steel industry from 1850-1920. (Beeton and Stephen Schneider 495 -- 517) Therefore, it truly would be a great opportunity to delve deeper into a region that is so "close" to us and how an environment can change the world.

1.3. Research Question

This study aims at addressing the following question:

What is the history of the Iron and Steel industry of the Great Lakes region since 1875 to 1920?

How did Great Lakes region contributed to the development of the Iron and Steel industry of the United States of America?

1.4. Steel Production

Steel can be defined as an alloy of iron and carbon, usually, which is generally hard, strong, durable, and malleable. It consists of about 0.2 to 1.5% carbon. It generally has other constituents as well. These constituents may include manganese, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, copper, tungsten, cobalt, or silicon. The nature of these constituents depend on the properties of alloy, which are required by the producer. Steel is widely used as a structural material. Steel is generally produced in the following two units:

Integrated steel mills: These mills use a process, which consists of three steps, for the production of steel from coal. The three steps involved in this process including coke making, iron making, trough the deployment of a blast furnace, and Basic Oxygen Furnace technology. (Diamond 50-400)

Mini-mills: These production units are involved in the production of steel from metal scraps. For this purpose these units deploy Electric Arc Furnace technology. These production units are not involved in iron making and coke making. (Staff of Sector Policies and Programs Division Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 10-25)

Coke, which can be defined as a fuel and an important source of carbon at the integrated mills, is produced from coal. In order to produce coke, the integrated mills heat coal at high temperature, in the absence of oxygen, in the coke ovens. The mills then produced pig iron. The process for the production of pig iron involves the heating of coke, iron ore, and limestone in a blast furnace. (Staff of Environmental Protection Agency, United States of America 1-3)

The Basic Oxygen Furnace technology involves the combination of molten iron, which comes directly from the furnace, with flux and scrap steel. In addition to that, it also includes the injection of high purity oxygen into the above combination. The process of Basic Oxygen Furnace technology, with the processes of coke making, iron making, steelmaking, subsequent forming and finishing operations, is often referred to as fully integrated production. In an Electric Arc Furnace the basic input material is scrap steel. The scrap steel is melted and refined when an electric current from the electrodes is passed through the scrap. (Staff of Environmental Protection Agency, United States of America 1-3)

There has been a significant increase in the percentage of steel that is produced through process of Electric Arc Furnace. In the year 2001, about 47.5% of the total steel produced at domestic level was contributed by 125 mini mills. These mini mills consumed about 75 million tons of ferrous scrap to produce the above mentioned percentage of steel. (Staff of Environmental Protection Agency, United States of America 1-3)

Nearly 200 mini mills are included in the iron and steel sector. These mini mills employ more than 150,000 people. Most of these mills are geographically concentrated in the region in Great Lakes states. Even though South also has a large number of mini mills but most of them are present in the Great Lakes region. Auto manufacturers and the construction industry are the primary consumers of the steel that is produced by the mini mills. (Staff of Environmental Protection Agency, United States of America 1-3)

1.5. The Great Lakes Region

The largest system of fresh surface water is constituted by North American Great Lakes on the face of the earth. This system of fresh surface water is linked to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence River. Around 244,000 km2 of surface water is covered by North American Great Lakes. In addition to that, North American Great Lakes also cover around 520,000 km2 of drainage area. Furthermore the five great lakes of the North American region have a combined volume of around 23,000 km3. (Macdonagh-Dumler and Pebbles et al. 1-14)

When taken or considered individually, the five great lakes of North American region are placed among the fifteen largest fresh water lakes of the world. This ecosystem has a shoreline of more than 17,000 km. In addition to that, it includes thousands of islands as well. Furthermore, it has also been indicated by the professional that the ecosystem of North American Great Lakes extends about 3500 km to the Atlantic Ocean westernmost shores of Lake Superior. (Staff of Sector Policies and Programs Division Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 10-25)

The Great Lakes region is regarded as a vital source for drinking water. About 23 million depend on the Great Lake for the purpose of accessing drinking water. In addition to that, the Great Lakes has also been the industrial heart land for the United States of America and Canada, for the last century. (Staff of Environmental Protection Agency, United States of America 1-3)

In addition to that, the great lakes of the North American region provide around two thirds of the 40 million residents of the basins with sufficient drinking water. Around four trillion liters of water, from the great lakes, is consumed daily by the commercial and domestic users of water. (Macdonagh-Dumler and Pebbles et al. 1-14)

The industries that depend heavily on the water of the great lakes of the North American region, including the agricultural industry, recreation and tourism industry, heavy manufacturing industry and sport and commercial ?shing industry, generate multi-billion dollars of revenue each year and depend heavily of the great lakes water. (Macdonagh-Dumler and Pebbles et al. 1-14)

2. The HISTORY and the DEVELOPMENT of the STEEL INDUSTRY FROM 1875-1920 in the GREAT LAKES REGION

2.1. The Steel Industry from 1875 to 1920

The American steel industry grew evidently from 1875 -- 1920. The steel production of the industry grew from 380,000 tons of steel production to 60 million tons annually. This growth in steel production made the Unite States of America a dominant world leader. (Macdonagh-Dumler and Pebbles et al. 1-14)

The growth rates in the steel production at an annual level for1870-1913 were 7.0% for the United States of America; 1.0% for Great Britain; 6.0% for Germany; and 4.3% for France, Belgium and Russia, who were the other major producers of steel during that era. (Macdonagh-Dumler and Pebbles et al. 1-14)

This explosive growth of the steel industry of the United States of America was based on strong technological infrastructure, protective tariffs, enhanced infrastructure, urbanization and development of office buildings that led towards an increase in the demand of steel. The deployment of steel in the development of automobiles and household appliances was initiated in the 20th century. (Macdonagh-Dumler and Pebbles et al. 1-14)

A key element that led towards the massive development of the steel industry was the fact that iron ore, coal, and manpower were easily available. The eastern states had abundance of fair quality… [END OF PREVIEW]

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