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The deterioration of the quality of iron ore, scraps and other raw materials has had a profound effect on steel making practice and the properties of the finished steel. These in turn affect fabrication processes such as welding. This article is therefore timely.

It is unavoidable that steel specifications must be discussed against the background of the raw materials which are now available to steel producers. It is also unavoidable that conditions of the past are exerting an important influence on present conditions and that those, in turn, may have important effects in the future.

The steel industry of the United States now leads the world in production and technology. Until recent years, its growth was stimulated and nourished by the discovery and use of high-grade iron ores, excellent metallurgical coking coals and plentiful supply of good iron and steel scrap.

The unprecedented production of iron and steel in recent years has depleted our reserves of high-grade raw materials to such an extent that the known remaining materials are either inferior in quality or remote from established centers of steel production. The inferior quality of those raw materials imposes difficult technological problems, some of the consequences of which may have to be passed on to consumers of steel either temporarily or permanently, depending upon their successful solution and economic application.