Industrial processes

Steelworks of Italy in 1958, photo by Paolo Monti

Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical, physical, electrical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacturing of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy industry.

General processes

These may be applied on their own, or as part of a larger process.

Chemical processes

  • Haber process – chemically binding gaseous nitrogen from the atmosphere to make ammonia
  • Smelting – chemically enhancing metals
  • Disinfection – chemical treatment to kill bacteria and viruses
  • Pyroprocessing – using heat to chemically combine materials, such as in cement.

Heat processes

  • Flash smelting – a refinement on smelting, for sulfur-containing ores (produces copper, nickel and lead)


The availability of electricity and its effect on materials gave rise to several processes for plating or separating metals.


Physical processes

There are several physical processes for reshaping a material by cutting, folding, joining or polishing, developed on a large scale from workshop techniques.


The physical shaping of materials by forming their liquid form using a mould.


Many materials exist in an impure form, purification, or separation provides a usable product.



Iron and steel

Early production of iron was from meteorites, or as a by-product of copper refining.

Petroleum and organic compounds

The nature of an organic molecule means it can be transformed at the molecular level to create a range of products.


Organized by product:

A list by process:

See also