Today iron is melted in either gas fired cupulas or in electric
induction furnaces. Some melting is still done in arc furnaces,
but this is losing favor.
Steel for continuous casters is generally melted in arc furnaces.
For the production of billets for hot rolling, blast furnaces are
Aluminum is generally melted in reverbatory furnaces. These furnaces
are large refractory lined vessels to hold the metal and are heated
by gas burners or electric resistance heaters (SiC) in the roof
of the vessel. Aluminum is also melted in induction furnaces. Metallic
resistance elements (iron-chrome-aluminum) are also used in smaller
For holding of molten aluminum, gas or electric resistance (SiC
or Metallic) heating is typically used.
Copper can be melted in gas or electric resistance heated vessels.
Induction can also be used.
Specialty metals are melted in vacuum induction furnaces. These
furnaces can heat to very high temperatures, while preventing the
oxidation of the metal by the use of the vacuum chamber.
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