Oils which contain sulphur-compounds are subjected to a special process of refining in which cupric oxide or litharge is employed as a desulphurizing agent.
The fuel has, in addition to its duties of deoxidizing and carburizing the iron and yielding the heat needed for melting both the iron and slag, the further task of desulphurizing the iron, probably by the reaction FeS+CaO+C=Fe+CaS+CO.
The desulphurizing effect of this transfer of the sulphur from union with iron to union with calcium is due to the fact that, whereas iron sulphide dissolves readily in the molten metallic iron, calcium;sulphide, in the presence of a slag rich in lime, does not, but by preference enters the slag, which may thus absorb even as much as 3% of sulphur.
In the former case there is no later chance to remove sulphur, a minute quantity of which does great harm by leading to the formation of cementite instead of graphite and ferrite, and thus making the cast-iron castings too hard to be cut to exact shape with steel tools; in the latter case the converting or purifying processes, which are essentially oxidizing ones, though they remove the other impurities, carbon, silicon, phosphorus and manganese, are not well adapted to desulphurizing, which needs rather deoxidizing conditions, so as to cause the formation of calcium sulphide, than oxidizing ones.
7, (2) that it will be fluid enough to run out through the cinder notch, and (3) that it will be rich enough in lime to supply that needed for the desulphurizing reaction FeS+ CaO+C = Fe+CaS+CO.