Steel Scrap Versus Iron Ore: What’s the Difference?

Alloy steel has one of the wide range of steels used in the industry. Manufacturers may produce alloy steel using iron ore as raw materials or using steel scrap.

So, what is the difference between alloy steel made from scrap and alloy steel made from iron ore? Here is a closer look.

What Are Alloy Steels?

Alloy steel is a variety of steel created by alloying iron with several elements, including iron, carbon, and other pure metals like Chromium, Molybdenum, Nickel, Manganese, Vanadium etc but Iron being the major metal. Based on the end use requirements from oil and gas to mining , the grades are manufactured with varying compositions of the elements. These grades are referred to in the international standards like ASTM, SAE, EN, JIS, BS, IS etc .

Steel Made From Iron Ore

Iron ore is a natural type of rock from which metallic iron can be extracted. Close to 98% of mined iron is used to produce steels. Iron ore is a compound of iron (Fe) , oxygen (O) and other minerals. It is a natural mineral that is mined from earth. These mines are auctioned by the government and then handed over to the manufacturers for extraction and use. Iron ore is mined and then converted into iron in the blast furnace , where it is mixed with coal. This results in Pig Iron which is then further used as raw material in Electric Arc Furnace to make steel. About 1.5 tons of iron ore is needed to produce 1 ton of steel. Electric Arc Furnace if only for melting of steel, later it goes for secondary refining and degassing where all the refinement is done and gases are brought within acceptable limits.

Steel Made From Steel scrap

Most steel products made today contain steel scrap melted in an Induction furnace, where 100% recycled scrap is used. Steel made from scrap has the same properties as steel made using iron ore, along with an important advantages:

  • Scrap is more eco-friendly
  • Scrap is recycled, hence reducing waste

Steel scrap also helps reduce industry emissions and the consumption of resources. It allows manufacturers to produce new alloy steel products with fewer resources, which is cheaper and safer for the environment.

Using steel scrap also helps reduce waste. Instead of sitting in a junkyard, items can be recycled and the steel can be separated to obtain scrap. Alloy steel made using steel scrap is also just as strong and durable as steel made from raw material using iron ore. Steel does not suffer from a loss of quality when recycled or made from steel scrap.

After melting in Induction furnace, the steel has to go through the same process of secondary ladle refining and degassing where the properties are brought within acceptable limits.

Therefore, whether steel is made through scrap or iron ore, secondary refining and degassing are the common processes which bring the steel to desired quality levels of the customer.

At KISCO, we have the expertise needed to produce high-quality alloy steel with maximum efficiency and value. Explore steel bar options in various alloy steels to suit your needs.