Sponge Iron vs Pig Iron
Sponge iron and pig iron are different forms of iron that are produced from the iron ore that is found naturally under the surface of the earth. Both pig iron and sponge iron have various uses because of difference in properties. Though there are similarities, there are many differences between pig and sponge iron that will be discussed in this article.
Pig iron is a form of iron that is produced by melting iron ore along with charcoal and limestone under very high pressure. After cooling, the resultant product, called pig iron is an iron form that has very high carbon content. Thus it becomes brittle and unstable that can’t be used in this form. However, it is pig iron that is refined through further melting and blending to produce wrought iron, cast iron and steel that are very useful as construction materials. Pig iron is believed to have been discovered by Chinese smiths in the 11th century.
Pig iron in its true form is not used but further processing and refining leads to wrought iron and steel which are together most widely used materials on earth.
Sponge iron is another form of iron that is produced directly from iron ore through a reduction process. This is why it is also called direct reduced iron. The ore is subjected to various reducing agents such as natural gas or gas that emits from coal. Sponge iron can even be produced from many types of furnaces such as blast furnace, charcoal ovens and oxygen furnaces.
Sponge iron has many advantages over other similarly smelted iron forms. Sponge iron is superior to pig iron as it is richer in iron content. Because of this property, it is widely used in electric furnaces. Sponge iron, in its powdered form can be mixed with many other metals to manufacture a variety of iron based products.
Wrought iron is produced from sponge iron. It is one type of iron that is used to make ornamental items such as grills and patio furniture. Wrought iron furniture is in high demand and lasts for years if taken proper care of. Latest methods of making sponge iron have done away with the use of reducing gases and there is no need to melt the ore even.
Sponge Iron vs Pig Iron
• Pig iron and sponge iron are two different iron forms that are a result of different production processes.
• Sponge iron can be produced by direct reduction of iron ore through reducing agents whereas pig iron is produced by melting iron ore with charcoal and limestone at very high pressures.
• Pig iron is soft and brittle because of high carbon content but is used to make wrought iron and steel that are extremely useful.