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[IBT阅读] 托福阅读【TPO1-34】最全116篇

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发表于 2016-5-12 14:37:52 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
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The Development of Steam Power
By the eighteenth century, Britain was experiencing a severe shortage of energy. Because of the growth of population, most of the great forests of medieval Britain had long ago been replaced by fields of grain and hay. Wood was in ever-shorter supply, yet it remained tremendously important. It served as the primary source of heat for all homes and industries and as a basic raw material. Processed wood (charcoal) was the fuel that was mixed with iron ore in the blast furnace to produce pig iron (raw iron). The iron industry’s appetite for wood was enormous, and by 1740 the British iron industry was stagnating. Vast forests enabled Russia to become the world’s leading producer of iron, much of which was exported to Britain. But Russia’s potential for growth was limited too, and in a few decades Russia would reach the barrier of inadequate energy that was already holding England back.
As this early energy crisis grew worse, Britain looked toward its abundant and widely scattered reserves of coal as an alternative to its vanishing wood. Coal was first used in Britain in the late Middle Ages as a source of heat. By 1640 most homes in London were heated with it, and it also provided heat for making beer, glass, soap, and other products. Coal was not used, however, to produce mechanical energy or to power machinery. It was there that coal’s potential wad enormous.
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