basic oxygen process, method of producing steel from a charge consisting mostly of pig iron. The charge is placed in a furnace similar to the one used in the Bessemer process of steelmaking except that pure oxygen instead of air is blown into the charge to oxidize the impurities present. One desirable feature of this process is that it takes less than an hour, and is thus much faster than the open-hearth process, another important method of steelmaking. A second advantage is that a major byproduct is carbon monoxide, which can be used as a fuel or in producing various chemicals, such as acetic acid. The basic oxygen process also produces less air pollution than methods using air.
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