Crude iron as first obtained from a smelting furnace, in the form of oblong blocks. Compare with pig (sense 4 of the noun).
- Energy-intensive blast furnaces, convert iron ore to pig iron, while coal is converted to coke.
- In the 1780s, Henry Cort developed the puddling furnace, which allowed pig iron to be refined in turn with coke.
- Steel manufactured in electric arc furnaces from scrap uses far less energy than traditional openhearth furnaces using pig iron.
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