Thursday, May 17, 2012

Volklingen Steel Factory

The Volklingen Steel Factory is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Volklingen, Germany next to Saarbrucken, Germany. The Steel Factory closed its doors in 1986 when its equipment and manufacturing processes became obsolete. It is the only preserved plant of its kind.

Visitors are permitted to walk all around the plant for a fascinating self-guided tour. We had a great time walking all over the plant with Grandma and Papa.

The large canisters are blast furnaces.

These are the lids on the top of the blast furnaces. This plant was built in the late 1800's.

These devices were used for carring raw materials all over the plant. They run on a track and to me seem very similar to a chair lift used on a ski slope.

In the 1960's during peak operation the plant employed 18,000 works. The conditions for many of the workers were horrible. They had to work outside exposed to the heat from the steel making process in all types of weather. The air quality was awful. Walking around the plant I could taste dust and it has been closed for over 25 years.

Because steel creation requires such high temperatures coal alone is not sufficient to produce the heat. Before steel can be made the coal has to be transformed into another material called coke which produces higher temperatures.  A large portion of the plant was dedicated to the transformation of coal into coke.

Both coal and iron ore were brought to the plant via the rail system and steel was brought out. The plant was built on the river and close to the railroad. These two elements were essential for success. River water was used throughout the plant and especially employed to cool the newly created coke.

A tour of the plant takes around 3 hours, is a bit technical and very interesting.

Science Sunday


  1. Oh how cool was that to see this place. Looks wonderful. thanks for sharing on the Field trip hop

  2. Okay try two. the first time my computer froze up and I had to restart a bunch of stuff.

    That would be a cool field trip, I know all of the boys in my family would LOVE it!

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!


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