Linz-Donawitz converter

© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Energy & Mining
Heavy Industry
1950 - 1959
A witness to the ‘Wirtschaftswunder’! The Linz-Donawitz converter in the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) is witness to technical progress in Austria.

Images of steelmakers in a shower of sparks are iconic of Austrian reconstruction and have been ingrained in the consciousness of the post-war generation.
Free from the pathos of speeches on national holidays or on 1st May, the LD process (LD stands for Linz-Donawitz) constitutes one of the greatest inventions originating in Austria.
It superseded the older established process of steel generation. In the LD process, pure oxygen is blown for approx. 20 minutes onto the charge in the converter. This mainly consists of liquid pig iron. In addition, scrap and lime (as a flux for the formation of slag) are added. In this process, which is also called oxidization, the iron can be recycled without additional energy input.

The heat combusts the carbon dissolved in the pig iron, as well as unwanted companion elements such as manganese, phosphorus, sulphur and silicon. The blast duration determines the degree to which companion elements are reduced. Steel produced using this process is characterised by a high degree of purity.

The first LD steel works were launched in Linz (Upper Austria) in 1952 and in Donawitz (Styria) in the following year. In order to demonstrate the quality of the new steel, VÖEST (the United Austrian Iron and Steel Works) had its own ships built. After initial caution, the process gained acceptance around the world. Two thirds of global steel production is now produced using the LD process. Income from license fees improved not only the steel but also the balance sheets of VÖEST. Only in the USA has the validity of VÖEST patents not been recognised for technical reasons. The Americans thus saved millions.

Inv.Nr. 35225

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