Steel and industrial gas


Despite the potential demand generated by the rapid spread of steam powered railways after 1830, labour-intensive handmade steel was exorbitantly expensive and even steel rails were deemed unaffordable, being made instead of softer wrought iron.

The Basic Oxygen Process, first commercialised in Europe in the early 1950s and later across the world, rapidly replaced earlier methods to achieve 50% of total production by 1970. Electric arc furnaces have since been substituted in many operations, but oxygen remains a vital raw material and over 50% of the industrial oxygen produced globally is consumed in steelmaking.

The mass production of low-cost steel revolutionised the modern world by enabling the manufacture of a vast range of materials, machinery and equipment that were impossible without its strength and durability

Recovering demand
Steel consumption was sharply reduced after the third quarter of 2008, when banks around the world throttled the flow of credit finance, halting construction projects and putting a dampener on the demand for machinery and motor vehicles.

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