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Virginia Power Field Trip

Nucor Field Trip Photos

On November 10, 2001, TCC students and faculty went on a field trip to the Nucor Steel Mill in Winton, NC.
Nucor is the largest steel manufacturer in the country and also the largest recycler of steel.  The Nucor plant
that we visited uses only recycled steel to produce huge plates of steel.  The plant outputs about 1.2 million tons
of steel annually.  The tour was given by engineers at Nucor (one mechanical, one electrical, and two metallurgists)
and they spent lots of time explaining technical details of the operation.  This was a fascinating trip!!.

The monstrous steel plates produces are about 6 inches thick,
50 feet long, and 8 feet wide.  The temperature of the steel is about 2900 degrees Farenheit leaving the furnace.

Students were issued flame-retardant jackets for the tour.
Here they stop and watch an operator take a steel sample from the furnace.  A mass spectometer is used to analyze the amount of trace metals in the steel (such as copper, aluminum, zirconium, etc).

We walked on a walkway over the rollers that were moving the steel and the heat was intense!

The Nucor plant that we visited is the newest, most modern steel plant in the country.  Control rooms like this are used to control every aspect of the production.

Here we watched a "tap" -  steel being poured from the furnace into a ladle.  They pour about 150 tons of steel into a ladle every 40 minutes or so!  The ladles are lined with a refractory (brick, basically) so that they don't melt.  Even so, the ladles have to be relined perhaps every two days.

A ladle of steel.  The steel was melted in the furnace using essentially a huge welder with a 30 inch diameter tip!  The plant has an electric bill of about $2 million per month!

A ladle is dumped using a huge crane.  An awesome sight!

There seems to be miles of rollers moving the steel along.

Steel in the reheat furnace.  It is reheated to about 2700 degrees using natural gas before going to the mill.

A huge mill (everything is HUGE in this place) flattens the steel to the desired thickness.  It starts out 6 inches thick and about 50 feet long.  It ends up from 3/8" to 2" (accurate to a couple of thousandths) and is then hundreds of feet long.  This incredibly long piece of steel moves at a very fast rate back and forth through the mill until it reaches the desired thickness.

Huge motors (10,000 horsepower, I think) move the army of rollers which move the steel.  Shown here are the shafts from the motors.

The steel is chopped off using huge shears and then the plates are moved into this cooling area.  Everything is done automatically, of course!

A huge room full of cooling steel plates.

CSC railcars carry out most of the steel from the plant (about 70%).  On the other hand, most of the scrap comes into the plant by barge.