New Materials and New Syntheses
Steel became a ubiquitous and inexpensive material thanks to the introduction of basic Siemens-Martin open-hearth furnaces and high-performance specialty alloys. Invention of the Hall-Héroult process of aluminum production introduced a new lightweight metal whose massive use subsequently revolutionized transportation and many areas of manufacturing. Powerful new explosives, starting with Nobel’s dynamite, and Haber-Bosch synthesis of ammonia from its elements (without which it would be impossible to feed the 20th-century population) were the key revolutionary advances in chemical syntheses.
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