Vaclav Smil

in Transforming the Twentieth Century: Volume 2: Technical Innovations and Their Consequences

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195168754
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783601 | DOI:

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Steel — made from iron in basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, and turned into semifinished products by continuous casting — remained the dominant material of the 20th century. Completely new large-scale industries were developed to supply industrial gases (oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen) and to synthesize a multitude of plastics. The most far reaching technical advances of the century’s second half were based on silicon, the key building block of solid state electronics.

Keywords: steel; basic oxygen furnaces; electric arc furnaces; continuous casting; industrial gases; oxygen; nitrogen; hydrogen; plastics; silicon

Chapter.  20499 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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