Chapter

New Materials and New Syntheses

Vaclav Smil

in Creating the Twentieth Century

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195168747
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835522 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195168747.003.0004
 New Materials and New Syntheses

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Steel became a ubiquitous and inexpensive material thanks to the introduction of basic Siemens-Martin open-hearth furnaces and high-performance specialty alloys. Invention of the Hall-Héroult process of aluminum production introduced a new lightweight metal whose massive use subsequently revolutionized transportation and many areas of manufacturing. Powerful new explosives, starting with Nobel’s dynamite, and Haber-Bosch synthesis of ammonia from its elements (without which it would be impossible to feed the 20th-century population) were the key revolutionary advances in chemical syntheses.

Keywords: steel; open-hearth furnaces; alloys; aluminum production; new explosives; dynamite; synthesis of ammonia

Chapter.  17807 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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