Primitive Technology: Roasted Ore and Shell Flux Smelt
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About This Video:
I tested 2 ways of improving iron smelts by treating the ore, roasting the ore and using snail shells as a flux. Then finally I recycled old slag to see if it would produce any more iron.

The first way was to roast the ore before smelting. This drove off the moisture and volatiles in the ore as well as burning off any sulfur present. The resulting ore produced a higher yield of iron than normal (33g iron as opposed to about 15g iron as usual for the same volume of ore, charcoal and time).

Next lime was added to the smelt as a flux in the form of snail shells. The theory was that the lime would lower the melting point of any silica in the ore to make a runnier slag and help the iron come together more. The result was very bad, no iron was produced apart from 1 or 2 prills. I suspect the ore is already basic in chemistry and adding a basic flux in the form of lime made it so basic that the slag was too viscous. The ore probably won’t benefit from a basic flux but might benefit from an acid flux such as sand or slag from previous smelts.

Next I tried smelting slag from previous smelts to see if anymore iron would come out. It did surprisingly, less than fresh ore but still worth doing. For this reason it might be useful to add old slag as a flux to future smelts to help the slag form more easily, while contributing some more iron to the smelt.

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Primitive technology is a hobby where you build things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. These are the strict rules: If you want a fire, use a fire stick – An axe, pick up a stone and shape it – A hut, build one from trees, mud, rocks etc. The challenge is seeing how far you can go without utilizing modern technology. I do not live in the wild, but enjoy building shelter, tools, and more, only utilizing natural materials. To find specific videos, visit my playlist tab for building videos focused on pyrotechnology, shelter, weapons, food & agriculture, tools & machines, and weaving & fiber.

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