MSE 441 Students Attend Steel Mill Field Trip
In the spring 2018 semester, Professor Robert Maass took his MSE 441 (Metals Processing) students to steel plant ArcelorMittal in Riverdale, Illinois, so students could see how steel is processed in industry.
“Throughout this course, we go through down the value chain of bulk metal production, which starts at mining, goes through pure metal productions (like in a blast furnace, or aluminum smelting), then we discuss steel making, solidification (casting huge amounts of liquid metal) and finally bulk deformation processes. This is about how a 30 ton large steel slabs is further processed into what is your car door, through rolling, extrusion, forging, and other methods,” Maass said. “I knew around Lake Michigan there were great steel plants, because you can access them by boat, where they come in with large quantities of raw materials.”
At the ArcelorMittal plant in Riverdale, they put liquid pig iron into a basic oxygen furnace, and the students talked about this in class — the idea of refinement of iron into what we call steel.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to go to a production site that is not too far away for a day trip, where pig iron arrives and the students could see how this was processed in the real world into steel… it’s one thing to talk about it in class, but if you stand in front of this gigantic bucket that contains molten iron or steel, that’s something else,” Maass said. “It’s pretty impressive, big scale industry.”
“This field trip was a great way to end my senior year and college education as a whole,” MatSE student Jack O’Neal said. “It was a great experience to see real applications on what we had learned in our classes.”
“Thank you to the MatSE Department for sponsoring our trip and thank you to ArcelorMittal for hosting us!” Maass said.