Old Techniques and New Solutions
Steel — made from iron in basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, and turned into semifinished products by continuous casting — remained the dominant material of the 20th century. Completely new large-scale industries were developed to supply industrial gases (oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen) and to synthesize a multitude of plastics. The most far reaching technical advances of the century’s second half were based on silicon, the key building block of solid state electronics.
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