Primitive Technology: Iron prills

Assembling blower A bark fiber string is simply used to drive the impeller in a reciprocating manner Tuyere is put in place 25 cm wide, 25 cm deep pit is dug Lined with mud Mud and grass Building a stack to a height of 25 cm above ground Fire to help dry it Finished furnace Stacking charcoal mound with Eucalyptus wood Sealing top with mud Lighting mound Fire burns back down into the mound against the draft Volatiles exit the top while the wood converts to charcoal When fire reaches the air entries, it’s time to seal them with mud to prevent the newly made charcoal from burning After a 2 hours and 30 minutes the top is sealed and the mound left to cool overnight The next day the mound is opened and the charcoal is collected Partially burnt timber is tossed aside to be reused in the mound next time Dry mud is returned to the pit to be used next time Useable charcoal is put into the basket Charcoal is stored in the smelters hut out of the weather Ordinary creek on land with normal iron levels Ordinary iron bacteria (found on all continents) concentrate iron from the water table Collecting iron bacteria Add to storage pot Crushing some charcoal to powder 1:1 ratio by volume of ore to charcoal Mix with water Form into 2.5 cm diameter pellets Dry on furnace Wood preheat for 30 minutes Fill with charcoal Add 10 pellets Begin blowing furnace 3 hand fulls of charcoal every 7 minutes or so 10 more pellets More blowing Final charge added Whole process took about 3 hours of blowing Extraction procedure Hammering slag flat to hopefully flatten iron Mostly slag But quite a few prills (small spheres) of iron These are larger and more abundant than the yields of previous attempts I’ve made See how the prills form on the surface of the slag. Microscopic pieces of solid/liquid iron must join together as the molten slag flows. More prills Separating iron prills from slag These prills are mainly cast iron or steel due to the high carbon content of the initial ore pellets. Less char powder should be added in future Iron prills and slag

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