skip to content »

Chat free with slags

Although lead is a common metal, its discovery had relatively little impact in the ancient world.It is too soft to be used for structural elements or weapons, except for the fact that it is exceptionally dense, making it ideal for sling projectiles.

Plants for the electrolytic reduction of aluminium are also generally referred to as aluminium smelters.Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a base metal from its ore.This includes production of silver, iron, copper and other base metals from their ores.How the discovery came about is a matter of much debate.Campfires are about 200 °C short of the temperature needed for that, so it has been conjectured that the first smelting of copper may have been achieved in pottery kilns.The impact was so pervasive that scholars traditionally divide ancient history into Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.

In the Americas, pre-Inca civilizations of the central Andes in Peru had mastered the smelting of copper and silver at least six centuries before the first Europeans arrived in the 16th century, while never mastering the smelting of metals such as iron for use with weapon-craft.

However, being easy to cast and shape, it came to be extensively used in the classical world of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome for piping and storage of water. Tin was much less common than lead and is only marginally harder, and had even less impact by itself.

After tin and lead, the next metal to be smelted appears to have been copper.

To produce the metal, these compounds have to undergo a chemical reaction.

Smelting therefore consists of using suitable reducing substances that will combine with those oxidizing elements to free the metal.

Since the discovery happened several millennia before the invention of writing, there is no written record about how it was made.