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Right I have burn't of iron/steel in a coal forge and ruined work like everyone. But what happens when it burns?

Decarburising of steel makes sense. But mild steel at 0.03% carbon can be a huge sparkler. But is it any bigger then 1% C.?

Why can't I keep using the burnt metal as its only lower in carbon content? Isn't it?

I have had most problems burning metal in coal forges and can usually avoid it unless distracted or talking to someone. But can you burn steel in a gas forge? What does it look like?

Yours in confusion


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Iron is flammable, all by itself. In fact iron in 5 micron particles combust spontaneously in room air. At approximately 2800F iron begins to combust even in large cross sections. I believe that what you are seeing is particulate steel popping off the surface of the piece, not the carbon burning (though you may be seeing that as well). Once a piece of steel burns, it's pretty much good for nothing. It's like rust at high speed, it just eats the structure of the steel. You can see this by letting a piece burn for a while and examining it. It'll be full of holes and voids.


You can easily burn a piece of steel in a gas forge, as long a the temp gets high enough. It looks just like steel burning in a coal forge, like a sparkler.




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You can still use the non-burned metal, but it will have lots of holes and irregularities. If it's really badly burned, it's generally best to cut off the burned part though. If you keep it, it's probably best to normalize it first. If the metal is burning, I generally stick it back in the coals, as it doesn't burn in an reducing environment. It will in that case absorb carbon rapidly, which also lowers the melting point and can cause the metal to melt. I've had that once when I pulled a sax in two as the center was overheated.

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