Essay by OnitHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2006

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In this essay I am going to explain the steps it takes to make steel, why Nicolas Appert's method of preserving cooked food was so important for Napoleon's troops and what the effects of this technology in the modern society and how different kinds of steel can be used.

How is steel made?

First, the raw materials either iron ore or scrap iron, depending on the process are changed into molten steel. A blast furnace is used with the ore-based process and an electric arc furnace is used with the scrap-based process.

Next, the molten steel is poured and set in a continuous caster (a small swiveling wheel on a leg of furniture). This produces what are known as semi-finished products. These can be either slabs which have a rectangular cross-section or blooms or billets which have a square cross-section. They are the blanks which are used to form the finished product.

Lastly, these semi-finished products are transformed or "rolled" into finished products. Some of these experience a heat treatment known as "hot rolling". More than half the hot rolled sheet is followed by being rolled again at cooler temperatures (known as "cold rolling"). After that it can then be coated with an anti-corrosion protective material.

Why was Nicolas Appert's method for preserving cooked food so important for Napoleon's troops?

In 1795 the French government offered a prize of 12,000 francs to the person who could develop an effective method of preserving food in order to provide the French troops with daily amounts in order to keep the armies well supplied while on a march. Nicolas Appert's solution was to put food in bottles, as it is done with wine. He experimented with various techniques before reaching a conclusion: food could be preserved if it were heated...