Low Carbon Ferro Manganese
Manganese is the twelfth most abundant metal found within the Earth’s crust and derives its name from the Latin word Magnes which means Magnet. It is the fourth most used metal in terms of quantity behind iron, aluminium and copper. It was first used in the steel industry in Ancient Greece, the presence of manganese in the iron ore is most likely the reason that the weapons made by the Spartans were superior to their enemies. It was first isolated and recognised as an element in 1771 by a Swedish chemist called Scheele.
Approximately 90% of all manganese consumed worldwide goes into the steel industry as an alloying element, and because of its relatively low price and technical benefits it has no real substitute. Apart from its uses in industry, trace amounts of manganese are very important to good health. It makes bones strong but flexible and it aids the body in absorbing Vitamin B12. It also acts as an important activator for the body to use enzymes.
Manganese also has important uses in aluminium as an alloying element. It is a versatile addition to copper alloys and its largest non-metal application is in the form of portable dry batteries. It also has chemical applications and is used as a ceramic and brick colourant.
Widespread use of manganese in steel making began in the UK and France at the beginning of the 19th Century. At the time it was noted that manganese increased the hardness of iron without a reduction in its malleability or toughness. In modern steelmaking manganese is added in the form of manganese alloys because of its sulphur fixing, deoxidising and alloying properties. Nearly all steels contain some manganese, in proportions that vary from 0.05% to as high as 12%. There are numerous grades of steel each requiring a different amount of manganese. The average consumption of manganese is approximately 7-10kgs of manganese per ton of steel.
Ferro Manganese is produced by reduction of Manganese Oxide in blast furnaces or electric furnaces. It is a very flexible process in that the slags can be reprocessed into Ferro Silico Manganese which in turn can be further refined into Medium and Low Carbon Ferro Manganese.
Ferro Manganese was invented in 1860 by Sir Henry Bessemer as a way to add Manganese during steel making with the advantage that a combination of Iron and Manganese Oxide results in a lower melting point for the alloy Ferro Manganese compared to pure Manganese Oxide.
Standard Ferro Manganese (or High Carbon Ferro Manganese) is a commonly used alloy produced by the reduction of manganese ore in the presence of carbon. Typically it contains 75% manganese and 7% carbon. Worldwide production of Ferro Manganese in 2008 was approximately 4.5 million tons, with China being the worlds largest producer.
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Ferromanganese, a ferroalloy with high content of manganese, is made by heating a mixture of the oxides MnO2 and Fe2O3, with carbon, usually as coal and coke, in either a blast furnace or an electric arc furnace-type system, called a submerged arc furnace. The oxides undergo carbothermal reduction in the furnaces, producing the ferromanganese. Ferromanganese is used as a deoxidizer for steel.