Optical Basicity as a Control Parameter for Metallurgical Slags
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1990
The concept of optical basicity is now being widely applied to rationalize and predict the chemical properties of slags. It employs signals from a probe ion to indicate the "state" or relative "freeness" of the oxygen ions in the slag, and hence provides a fundamental measure of slag basicity. Values of the bulk optical basicity of a slag can either be measured spectroscopically in samples of transparent solid glassy slag, or calculated very simply and accurately from the chemical composition of the slag. The way in which these values vary in different systems are illustrated as isoptical basicity lines on ternary diagrams, and the patterns obtained are discussed. The difficulties associated with assigning optical basicities to the oxides of transition elements are also reviewed briefly. It has been demonstrated that these bulk values can be used as the basis of a flux control model for steelmaking to achieve end-point chemistries much more reliably. Furthermore, several correlations have been established which allow the prediction of the slag-metal distribution of various solute elements. This approach has been used to predict the phosphorus distribution at the end of steelmaking, and also to custom design fluxes for the ladle and tundish to aid in the control of residual elements in the steel such as suphur, hydrogen and nitrogen.