Release that Witch - Chapter 658: Dreams and Steel
At a temperature of nearly 1,500 degrees, the carbon reacted with the oxygen in the air, producing carbon monoxide and a lot of heat which made the liquid boil in the furnace. The flames gushing out of the furnace mouth almost enveloped the blowing pipe and the grate. That was why Roland made them coated with heat resistance coating.
A large amount of hot carbon monoxide were forced outward. It mixed with the air outside and burnt violently, looking as if the furnace were set afire. The noises caused by gas expansion even downed the booming sounds of the steam engine. As this scene easily evoked an image of an erupting volcano, all the people moved backward simultaneously in fright, except Roland who still stood in the place, with both of his hands behind his back. He faced the strong hot winds, totally besotted with the awe-inspiring roars of the surging steel liquid.
He thought it was a pity that he could not use pure oxygen in this process at present due to technological limitations. Otherwise, the flames would shine even more brightly.
When oxides of phosphorus and sulfur, which were the last elements that were oxidized, reacted with limestone and became furnace slags, the flames began to dim and the liquid iron became molten steel. As the furnace slags were lighter, they were floating on it. The workers could pour the liquid steel out through the steel-tapping hole by tilting the furnace as easily as pouring a cup of tea.
To prevent the slags from entering into the steel ladle, a modern steel mill would use a slag-stopping ball, a slag-stopping spear or infrared detection, which was beyond Neverwinter’s technical capacity. Given that, Roland came up with a simple solution which was not pouring out all the liquid. He instructed the workers to erect the furnace when there were still some liquid steel in it, and then he asked them to dump all the left liquid steel together with the furnace slags. As he was not pursuing productivity efficiency, he did not care about such a little waste. Besides, when he collected enough wasted liquid steel, he could put them back into the furnace to make steel again.
To ensure the quality of the steel, the last step was to eliminate excess oxygen in the liquid steel.
The alumina poured in Neverwinter from Longsong Stronghold could make excellent deoxidizers. A bucket of pure aluminum extracted by Lucia was added to the liquid steel, and soon aluminum oxide furnace slags and excess liquid aluminum started to float to the surface. At this moment, the whole steelmaking process was accomplished.
Seeing the bright molten steel being poured into the mold and turning into steel ingots, all the officials of City Hall were too stunned to utter a word.
In this era, people usually relied on blacksmiths to hit on the hot iron repeatedly for a long time to produce steel, and a whole set of steel armors would be treasured as a family heirloom. No one had seen that steel could be made this way. “Star of Steel” had been able to produce lots of steel, but it was run by magic powers. They all knew that without Anna and Lucia, it could hardly produce anything.
However, this time was different, as converter steelmaking required no magic power but common workers. They realized something after witnessing this whole manual operation.
They were clear that they could not create another “Star of Steel”, but they could certainly build more converters and train countless workers.
Given that, steel was no longer a rare material. A huge amount of this solid metal would be produced at the foot of the North Slope Mountain to replace those soft and fragile materials, such as wood and bronze.
Roland was happy to see the surprise and excitement on the officials’ faces. He believed that they would not be excellent leaders if they were not thrilled by this brand new steelmaking process. Common workers might only be amazed by the steel ingots in front of them, but the officials should see the changes and the future brought by this new technology.
By now, Neverwinter’s coal & iron compound manufacturing industry had been formed. Mining, ironmaking, steelmaking and steel-casting processes could all be completed by common people. With a fast-growing population and a rapidly expanding education, Roland now felt that he could hear the steel wheels rolling over the ground, ushering in a new era.
As to the quality of this first batch of rolled steel, he decided to let Lucia check it. After that, he could base on her results to adjust the air blowing time and to improve the slags removing methods. He felt good seeing this achievement.
However, he did not want to have a rest after that, as he still had lots of work to do with the memories he retrieved in the Dream World.
As he had completed all the primary textbooks, he planned to search for some professional books on machinery. He needed high-performance processing equipment as Neverwinter would soon be able to produce a large amount of steel. Those simple machine tools he had made previously could hardly process some high-end products, such as Longsong Cannons, heavy machine guns, and grenade fuze.
Where could he find those books?
He believed that the library of the school was the place he should go. It had been said to be a place full of romantic encounters, but he had had none during all his visits to that place when he had been a student. Despite that, he had really read lots of books there, including many on mechanical design.
After dinner, he went to bed early.
As traveling in the Dream World could not count as a rest, he would be very tired for the first day in that world. Besides, it was impossible for him to take an afternoon nap in his apartment there without an air conditioner in hot weather. Under such circumstances, he had to sleep early and save energy for his activities in the Dream World.
Waking up in that world, it was still a clear sunny morning in the midsummer.
He looked at his mobile phone at the bedside and saw a dozen missed calls. He touched the screen and found that all of them were from secondhand goods dealers. They had also sent him many text messages.
“Hey, bro, do you have any more armors? One of my friends wants to buy some to shoot a film. If you do, call me.”
“I can offer you a higher price this time, 700 yuan. How’s it?”
“The price for the swords will also be increased by 200 yuan. I’m a true pal, right? But don’t sharpen the blades. Otherwise, that’s way too scary.”
“If you’re unsatisfied with the prices, we can talk about it.”
“Come on, bro. Could you give me an answer?”
Roland slid to the last message. It was from his bank, telling him that the remaining balance of his account was 3,600 yuan and 1,500 yuan of it was remitted by Zero’s parents as her living expenses.
The money could support him for quite a long time.
He tapped with his finger to delete all the messages and put on his T-shirt and shorts before going into the living room.
At this moment, Zero was still in bed.
Not wanting to wait for the little girl to wake up and make breakfast, he directly walked downstairs and found a small rice noodle restaurant in the lane.
He sat in it and said, “a big bowl of rice noodle with shredded meat, please.”
He thought that as he had money now, he must give himself a treat which was not available even in the king’s city of Graycastle. After all, the kingdom had no rice at all.
Soon, a steaming bowl of rice noodles fresh from the pot was served for him. While eating the breakfast, he looked at the apartment building.
By now, he had only visited the secondhand bookstore and the small Internet Cafe two blocks away, busy with making money and memorizing books. This was the first time for him to have leisure to sit down and observe the residents of the Apartment of Souls.