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To get the iron from hematite it is usually smelted with carbon. The iron-oxygen bond is strong in hematite so a stronger bond must be presented to remove the oxygen. The trick is to mix the ore with powdered coke, then smelt them while keeping the oxygen infusion low enough that you have a 1 to 1 mol ratio of carbon and oxygen. This produces CO, which then strips an additional oxygen atom from any iron ores present. The result is CO2 and reduced ore. Continue reducing until you have iron and CO2. It's the tried and true method of ancient iron production. Nowadays we call it fancy names like "carbothermal reduction." - Jarogers2001 00:55, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

A bloomery is about as low tech as you can get. - Jarogers2001 01:16, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Where would one get coke on Mars? T.Neo 07:54, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

From the atmosphere? I really have no idea for carbon black (coke substitute). If it were me, I would skip the carbon/coke step entirely and go straight to CO. This can can be accomplished by burning methane in an oxygen starved environment. Methane can be obtained from the martian atmosphere via a sebatier reaction. It is much less low tech, but you'd have to use high tech to get back to low tech anyways so I see little point unless coke/carbon can be obtained as a byproduct of some other activity. It would be easier to just circulate heated CO/CO2 upwards through a column while poring ore into the top (as in a blast furnace), but you'll need a lot of power for that. - Jarogers2001 07:00, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't CO2 partially decompose to CO at high temperatures? T.Neo 22:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

For that, we need a chemist. - Jarogers2001 23:12, 2 December 2008 (UTC)


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