There are several essential elements that caused the evolution of the electric arc furnace:
1) The increasing quantity of scrap steel;
2) The rapid development of the entire steel industry. The supply and the price of electricity become stable, which makes it possible to generalize the arc furnace;
3) The arc furnace tends to be larger and more powerful;
4) Less investment, quick to construct and fast cost recovery;
5) The temperature and the component of the molten steel can be controlled with accuracy. The arc furnace can also smelt various kinds of different steels.
Compared with others, the electric arc furnace also has several obvious advantages:
1) The arc furnace can heat the furnace and the steel up to 4000-6000℃ directly and smelt special steels that contain refractory elements like W and Mo.
2) The arc furnace could remove the toxic gases and the inclusions while deoxidizing and desulfurating.
3) High flexibility. The arc furnace is capable of engaging production continuously or intermittently.
Currently, owing to the development of related technologies, the electric arc furnace could be well -integrated with traditional steel-making processes. But there are also several deficiencies need to be improved:
(1) The arc can only generate point-like heating sources, which will cause uneven heat distribution in the furnace.
(2) The arc will react with the furnace gases and vapor and release large quantities of H2 and N2.
With further improvement of the electric arc furnace, new smelting techniques will embrace a brighter prospect.