Pyrometallurgy: Roasting, Smelting, Refining & Electrowinning

Pyrometallurgy: Roasting, Smelting, Refining & Electrowinning2017-04-21T02:33:06-04:00
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Purely iron-copper structure (3 replies)

10 months ago
Eagle788 10 months ago

Hello guys,

I have absolutely no knowledge of the fascinating science of metallurgy. I do however am a student in history. Im more particularily trying to establish the authenticity of an ancient story in which there is mention of a large wall made of iron and copper. 

The building of that ancient wall, it is said, was done in sections by firstly building a giant mould in the desired location, inside which smaller moulds would be placed;

Firstly, molted iron is extracted from a blast furnace, then poured in the smaller sections, second and while iron is still hot (probably close to melting point), molted copper is poured on top after which the smaller mould is removed and the process repeated, until finally creating a wall, made of merged iron blocks, that were copper coated to provide better protection against corrosion.

The description might seem very primitive or incomplete, what i need to know is whether it is possible for a metal wall to be assembled using that method (or something technically close to it) and also another crucial point; is it possible or would it have been possible for ancient people to copper coat iron by pouring molten copper over very hot iron blocks?



Todd H
10 months ago
Todd H 10 months ago

Anything is possible!

Is this wall continuous or sections of iron blocks? I doubt that a continuous iron wall could be assembled given the rate at which the iron would solidify and not be able to join the existing structure. 

Continuous casting is a relatively new invention and used to cast billets not vertical walls.  Also there are other considerations - slump (creep) of semi-molten metal, shrinkage and oxide formation.  These features would make casting a vertical continuous wall made of joined sections very difficult.



Todd Harvey - Global Resource Engineering

Ron G
10 months ago
Ron G 10 months ago

" it possible or would it have been possible for ancient people to copper coat iron by pouring molten copper over very hot iron blocks?"

I don't know. But galvanic copper plating has been around since the iron age. Copper ions spontaneously plating to iron is how plating was discovered. 


10 months ago
BATALEUR 10 months ago
1 like by David

This seems very crude of course but I don't see too many metallurgical issues with it although the strength of the wall and it's stability might be an issue. Assuming they were making cast iron it would go solid at around 1100C then if the moulds can be removed and the blocks are held in place by the larger wall mould they could pour molten copper (about 1085C) over it.  This would fuse to the iron somewhat and provide a continuous wall.  Weak points would exist where each section that has been moulded joins to another but there would be some integrity due to the copper.  An expensive wall - even with slave labor!!


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