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However, wüstite could also react with any sand to produce iron olivine, (fayalite), which is the major component of the slag produced.
This fayalite was a dead end as far as the smelting process was concerned because it could not be reduced to elemental iron under the furnace conditions. 1,540 deg C, whereas the slag melting point was at around 1,100 deg C.
The Iron Age began with the discovery of smelting of iron.
Beginning of iron smelting As with the reduction of copper sulfide ores, the first reduction of iron oxide was probably accidental.
When their empire collapsed around 1200 BCE, the various tribes took the knowledge of iron making with them, spreading it across Europe and Asia.
For about 2000 years, until about the end of the first millennium CE (Common Era), the iron was produced in small local hearths by the ‘bloomery’ process.The origin of many prehistoric iron implements was probably meteoric iron.Meteoric iron contains 5 % to 26 % nickel (Ni) while smelted iron contains only traces of Ni and hence iron artifacts made from meteors can be differentiated from objects of smelted iron.The hot spongy iron was beaten by hammer to produce an iron billet or iron products.The reactions taking place during the smelting in the bloomery process are described here.