Slag Properties And Design Issues Pertinent To Matte Smelting Electric Furnaces

Eric, R. H.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
The effect of composition on electrical conductivity (resistivity), viscosity and liquidus temperature of the slags encountered in electric smelting of PGM-containing suphide concentrates is reviewed along with the relationsip between slag composition, slag-matte separation and metal losses to slag. Optimization of slag composition at furnace temperature is attempted on the basis of opposite and parabolic trends of the viscosity-conductivity relationships of the slags. The importance of surface tension of slags is emphasized using available and estimated information, which are grouped into a useful correlation. These values are coupled with or incorporated into slag viscosity plots to illustrate the correlation between the two factors which influence slag-matte separation as well as refractory attack. The electrode in the slag-resistance furnace is the central factor in the design and operation of the furnace by its role of conveying the smelting power. The obvious parameters are the size and positioning in the slag bath, which are defined by slag resistivity, furnace resistance, cell constant and power input. The flow of heat generated by the electrode current determines the energy distribution and furnace dimensions creating viscosity profiles, which in turn affect flow conditions. Thus the flow of slag and matte isdiscussed in conjunction with the furnace geometry, stirring action of the electrodes, buoyancy and electromagnetic effects. The action of the electric furnace as a settler is discussed. The rectangular furnace is considered as a channel reactor in this analysis and the action of the electrodes is described to indicate a balanced settling rate in the area of electrode action. Discussion of the design and production capacity of the electric furnace with reference to operating current, power input, furnace dimensions and electrode size are based on considerations derived mainly from slag properties such as its resistivity, viscosity and liquidus temperature.
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