Melting stainless steel is a very important industrial process. Stainless steel is a popular metal worldwide. People have been using it in a wide range of industries. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron known for its corrosion and rusting-resistant capabilities. The metal contains chromium and carbon.
Stainless steel is melted to make various products. But do you know the methods for melting stainless steel?
There are several practices to melt stainless steel. We will discuss some popular ones. However, before that, let’s learn about its melting point.
What is the Melting Point of Stainless Steel?
The composition of stainless steel varies depending on its elements. Generally, it consists of iron, nickel, chromium, and more.
As a result, there is no single melting point for stainless steel metal. The melting point of stainless steel ranges between 2,550-2,790 °F. Common stainless steel grades are 301, 304, 309, 316, and 317.
Now let us get to know about methods for melting stainless steel.
5 Ways to Melt Stainless Steel
1. Induction Melting of Stainless Steel
Over the years, induction heating has become the primary method to melt various metals – stainless steel is no exception.
This induction melting process relies on the electric current to melt stainless steel.
The electromagnetic induction furnace brings the temperature to the point it melts the metal. The stainless steel is put inside the crucible and heated with induction heating.
There are plenty of benefits of using induction melting for stainless steel metal.
It saves energy and offers quick melting with high efficiency. Apart from this, it provides a uniform heating temperature.
2. Electric Arc Furnace
It is another popular method to melt stainless steel. The electric arc furnace features an electric arc to heat stainless steel.
First, the operator loads stainless steel into the furnace. After that, graphite electrodes get down into the charge of scrap via the roof.
A powerful electric current is given to the charge with the help of electrodes to melt stainless steel. The electric arc furnace supports the mass melting of stainless steel and allows 100% scrap input.
3. Foundry Furnace
It is a conventional method to melt stainless steel metal. In this process, the metal is put into a foundry furnace.
Normally, the furnace gets heated with propane. However, stainless steel might take hours to reach its melting point, making it unsuitable for high-production industries.
4. Electroslag Re-melting
ESR or Electroslag is a stainless steel refining and re-melting process. Stainless steel metal used in power generation, military, and aerospace is refined and re-melted using this process.
ESR helps to refine and re-melt stainless steel and produce high-grade ingots.
The electric current passes through a consumable electrode. The electrode tip melts into the molten engineering slag in the base of a copper baseplate.
5. Argon Oxygen Decarburization
Argon Oxygen Decarburization, or AOD process, produces stainless steel alloys. The decarburization process refines the carbon content in the melted metal.
Oxygen, nitrogen, and argon gases are blown into the metal in a particular ratio. It eliminates carbon monoxide from stainless steel. The process continues until you get the proposed carbon level.
So these are some of the most used methods for melting stainless steel.