The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Electric Furnace Process
Electric Arc Furnace

An electric arc furnace is a steel cylinder lined with refractory and it has three electrodes (carbon rods) which are inserted through the furnace roof.  The charge is mostly scrap steel and alloy materials.

Steel is produced in an electric arc furnace by the following steps:

1. The charge is put into the furnace.

2. A powerful electric current arcs (jumps) between the electrodes, producing intense heat.

3. The charge melts and chemical reactions produce steel.

4. Alloying materials are added.

5. The furnace is tipped to pour out the molten steel.

Most steel in the United States today is manufactured in electric furnaces, which are less costly to build and are more flexible than the basic oxygen or open hearth furnaces. They are capable of producing a wide range of carbon and alloy steels.