We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Speiss?

By Jean Marie Asta
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A speiss is a byproduct of extracting pure copper, lead or another metal from its impure form. It is generally made up mostly of iron and arsenic with trace amounts of other minerals. The mixture of impure source metals used is called ore, and the science behind this extraction process is called metallurgy. The oldest form of metallurgy involves "smelting" ores for extraction. This technique has been practiced for thousands of years and is still common today.

To smelt metal, a worker combines raw metal ores with additives and heats them up to very high temperatures in a blast furnace. The temperature is very carefully controlled and is based on the melting point of the unwanted material in the furnace. When the mixture is hot enough, the additives bond with the impurities found naturally in the ore. Since these bonded chemicals all have different weights and boiling temperatures, they separate naturally in different layers inside the blast furnace. They can then be removed and the remaining material is a very pure metal.

When the metal and its impurities are in the form of this layered hot liquid it is called the molten phase. Speiss, generally made up of iron arsenide, rises near the top during the molten phase and can be removed along with other unwanted layers. The material in some of these layers will be used in another process to extract any remaining useful metals. Some layers will be discarded. Until the last century speiss was commonly discarded, since people did not think it had any useful industrial purposes.

That belief changed when speiss was discovered to be very useful in making semiconductors. Today, many household electronics such as computers, phones, and televisions use semiconductors. They are also an important component of solar cells because they can convert light energy to electrical energy.

The addition of speiss to the transistors of a semiconductor allows the semiconductor to be much more conductive. This process is called doping transistors. The increased conductivity greatly improves the usefulness of the semiconductors and allows them to be much smaller.

In 2008 it was discovered that iron arsenide speiss can be used to make more efficient superconductors as well. Superconductors deliver a consistent current with almost no energy loss, but they can usually only do this at very cold temperatures. When a superconductor uses iron arsenide it can work at temperatures that are closer to regular room temperature. The process still isn’t fully understood by scientists, and is currently being researched. Superconductors do not have any home applications yet, but are used in laboratory settings.

Since speiss is such a common and useful industrial byproduct it will continue to be found on circuit boards. It is also likely to power more electronics as well since solar panels are increasing in popularity. Given the performance improvements it has shown in research settings, speiss may be used in the first commercially-available superconductor.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.