A blast furnace is used to create pig iron from iron ore. It is a large vertical chamber lined with refactory (heat resistant) material into which iron ore, lime and charcoal is dropped. The charcoal is burned, with the help of compressed air blowin into the bottom of the chamber via ducts called tuyere's. This generates enough heat for the charcoal to react with the iron ore, effectively stripping out the excess oxygen and leaving the iron behind. After the process has run for some time, the impure pig iron is drained from the bottom of the chamber. The pig iron gets its name from the grid of ducts the iron was drained into, because it resembed piglets suckling alongside the mother.
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