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Industrial process

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Industrial process

Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacture of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy industry.

General processes

These may be applied on their own, or as part of a larger process.

Chemical processes

Main article: Chemical process

Heat processes

  • Flash smelting - a refinement on smelting, for sulfur-containing ores (produces copper, nickel and lead)


Main article: Electrolysis

The availability of electricity and its effect on materials gave rise to several processes for plating or separating metals.

Physical processes

There are several physical processes for reshaping a material by cutting, folding, joining or polishing, developed on a large scale from workshop techniques.

  • Forging - the shaping of metal by use of heat and hammer
  • Casting - shaping of a liquid material by pouring it into moulds and letting it solidify
  • Machining - the mechanical cutting and shaping of metal which involves the loss of the material.
  • Progressive stamping - the production of components from a strip or roll
  • Hydroforming - a tube of metal is expanded into a mould under pressure
  • Sandblasting - cleaning of a surface using sand or other particles
  • Soldering, Brazing, Welding - a process for joining metals
  • Tumble polishing - for polishing
  • Precipitation hardening - heat treatment used to strengthen malleable materials
  • Work hardening - adding strength to metals, alloys, etc.
  • Case hardening, Differential hardening, Shot peening - creating a wear resistant surface
  • Die cutting - A "forme" or "die" is pressed onto a flat material in order to cut, score, punch and otherwise shape the material


The physical shaping of materials by forming their liquid form using a mould.


Many materials exist in an impure form, purification, or separation provides a usable product.


Iron and steel

Early production of iron was from meteorites, or as a by-product of copper refining. Heating iron ore and carbon in a crucible at 1000 K produces wrought iron. This process gained popularity during the Iron Age. Temperatures of 1300 K were produced around the 8th century by blowing air through the heated mixture in a bloomery or blast furnace (12th century); producing a strong but brittle cast iron. Furnaces were growing bigger, producing greater quantities; a factor contributing to the Industrial Revolution. In 1740 the temperature and carbon content could be controlled sufficiently to consistently produce steel; very strong and very workable. The 19th century saw the development of electric arc furnaces that produced steel in very large quantities, and are more easily controlled.

Petroleum and organic compounds

The nature of an organic molecule means it can be transformed at the molecular level to create a range of products.


Organized by product:

A list by process:

See also

industrial processes

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