by Alexander Babich, Dieter Senk, Heinrich Wilhelm Gudenau and Konstantinos Mavrommatis

Steel is commonly used in modern society and is probably the most important construction material of today. Our present as well as the foundations for our future are built upon that backbone of iron and steel.

The historical development of the use of iron is influenced by the fact that metallic iron is not stable under thermodynamical conditions on earth. Without particular processing techniques iron was only available in form of meteor-iron.

Ironmaking studies the processes and technology of iron production. Knowledge of the properties of raw materials and their preparation for smelting, of blast furnace technology and other methods for primary metal production - from the technical, economic and environmental points of view - is necessary for iron manufacture.

The authors have undertaken the attempt to present the past, present and future of the iron-processing technique from the viewpoint of shift of interest of the steel market and the research from "better" (better coke, better sinter, better steel and better aggregates) through "better and cheaper" (coke saving etc.) to "better and cheaper and environment friendly" - in order to ensure a sustainable development in a highly industrialized society.

The course is designed as a Virtual Lab which is built up of multiple components which are complementary and to some extent interchangeable.

Various learning techniques and tools are used in the components to enable either asynchronous or synchronous use. Asynchronous or packaged material makes learning more flexible and independent from time and place. Synchronous or live material on the other hand makes learning really interactive.