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Patent Issued for Process for Slag Foaming a Non-Stainless Steel Melt in an Electric Arc Furnace

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, NewsRx journalists report that a patent by the inventors Reichel, Johann (Dusseldorf, DE); Rose, Lutz

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly — From Alexandria, Virginia, NewsRx journalists report that a patent by the inventors Reichel, Johann (Dusseldorf, DE); Rose, Lutz (Duisburg, DE), filed on May 7, 2010, was published online on July 1, 2014 (see also SMS Siemag Aktiengesellschaft).
The patent’s assignee for patent number 8764879 is SMS Siemag Aktiengesellschaft (Dusseldorf, DE).
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “The invention relates to a method of slag foaming a molten slag which in the production of non-stainless steel in an electric arc furnace is present on the steel melt, wherein shaped pieces, such as pellets or briquettes are added to the slag, and wherein the contents of the shaped pieces react with the Fe-oxides in a reducing manner by splitting off gas, and wherein the reaction gases that are produced lead to slag foaming.
“When operating electric arc furnaces, solid materials which have been filled in, primarily scrap and alloys, are melted using the light arcs of the electrodes which project from above into the furnace vessel. In this case, in addition to its primary function which is to remove undesired components from the melt, the slag has a protective function because it partially fills out the space between the electrode ends and the metal surface and the refractory lining of the furnace protects against the radiation energy of the electric arc. This protective function of the slag can be improved by causing foaming of the slag by suitable methods.
“During melting of the solid material in an electric arc furnace for manufacturing non-stainless steel, a slag is formed which contains a high proportion of metal oxides, primarily of Fe-oxide. The concentration of the iron oxide frequently reaches values greater than 20\%.
“The metallurgy of the process of such slags produces the following partial reactions which take place successively: {O.sub.2}=2{O}Thermal dissociation of the oxygen [Fe]+[O].dbd.(FeO)Iron oxidation in the melt [C]+(FeO).dbd.[Fe]+{CO}Iron oxide reduction at the phase border slag/metal
“The last reaction is of fundamental importance for the manufacture of carbon steel because iron oxide is the most important component in the foamed slag formation. If the slag viscosity is suitable for maintaining the foam, the simple blowing in of carbon and oxygen into the slag causes foaming, wherein the gaseous CO with its bubbles additionally intensifies the slag foaming, the gaseous CO being formed by the reduction process of the metal oxide with the carbon.
“Decisive for the foam slag formation are the components of the added foam material as well as the slag viscosity which, in turn, depends on the composition and the temperature of the molten slag. Primarily, the viscosity defines a range of the state of the molten slag in which a foam formation is possible. Therefore, the control of the slag basicity responsible for the viscosity is important, whereby the produced gas bubbles are forced to temporarily remain in the slag layer. The limestone added in the foaming material constitutes another gas source because the thermal dissociation releases this material in accordance with the following equation CO: (CaCO.sub.3).dbd.(CaO)+{CO}
“The phenomenon of the bubble formation constitutes a process which utilizes the mechanical force of the reacting gas bubbles for producing a new surface area in the slag. The buoyancy forces acting on the gas bubbles split the slag surface temporarily and saturate the complete slag layer for producing the foam. In the case of a protracted gas flow from the reacting materials, the number of the accumulating bubbles increases with the increasing foam. As a consequence, the height of the foam layer increases with a growing quantity of gas; the quantity is directly proportional to the quantity of the foam material.
“Important in such a mechanism is the optimum placement of the reaction substances in order to obtain a maximum foaming effect in this manner. The optimum placement takes place in the border area between the slag layer and the liquid metal.
“In the manufacture of non-stainless steel, the slag foaming has in the past conventionally been started by means of blown-in carbon (coke, graphite, coal) and oxygen. This technology requires a complicated maintenance of blow-in systems and the use of oxygen and carbon carriers. This technology is not only complicated, but is also not very efficient in relation to the introduced components, because dusts which have been blown in (including Fe.sub.2O.sub.3) are in the case of an incorrect blow-in angle for the most part removed from the reduction process by the furnace suctioning system.
“EP 0829 545 B1 describes a method for manufacturing a foam slag on molten stainless steel in an electric furnace, wherein into the slag is introduced a powder by an injection medium, for example, nitrogen, which is composed of a metal oxide, either zinc oxide or lead oxide, and carbon. The oxide contained in the powder is reduced by reacting with the carbon. This causes the formation of bubbles in the slag which are composed essentially of carbon monoxide and cause the slag to foam. Because the added powder has a relatively large surface area, a short vigorous reaction with the slag occurs which additionally takes place locally limited in the vicinity of the injection or blow-in device in the melt bath.
“In order to avoid the disadvantages of introducing pulverous substances, it is proposed, in WO 2004/104232, for manufacturing a foamed slag on a high chromium containing steel melt, to add the materials used for foaming the slag, as a mixture of metal oxide and carbon, as shaped pieces which are compressed and/or provided with a binding agent into the electric furnace. The density of these shaped pieces is adjusted in such a way that they float and react in the metal and near the phase border melt/slag.
“In DE 10 2007 006 529 A1, in manufacturing a foamed slag on a high chromium-steel melt additionally the metal oxides present in the slag, primarily chromium oxide, are reduced by the briquettes or pellets floating near the phase border melt/slag, wherein the produced reaction gases intensify the slag foaming. For this purpose, the briquettes or pellets added to the electric arc furnace are composed of a defined mixture of an iron carrier as a ballast material of carbon or carbon and silicone as a reduction agent as well as a binder.”
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent: “In order to be able to reduce the complicated maintenance of blowing systems and the undesired valuable substance losses through the blowing in of the oxygen and carbon carriers, also in the production of non-stainless steel in an electric arc furnace, it is the object of the invention to provide a method of slag foaming of a non-stainless steel melt in which the positive findings which have been made in connection with slag foaming of chromium-containing slags by the addition of pressed shaped pieces into the electric arc furnace are also taken into consideration.
“This object is met by the present invention in that the pellets or briquettes added to the electric arc furnace are composed of a defined mixture of an iron oxide carrier, limestone, ballast material and a carbon carrier as reduction agents as well as a binder material, wherein the pellets or briquettes are manufactured with respect to their density in such a way that they float in the steel melt near the phase border melt/slag and react underneath the slag layer in a reducing manner with the iron oxide carriers of the pellets/briquettes, and wherein the duration of dissolution of the pellets or briquettes resulting from their size and density lead to an optimum reduction of the iron oxide in relation to the efficiency and duration.
“In order to achieve with the iron oxide reduction at the phase border slag/metal within the pellet/briquettes a sufficient foaming level and foaming quality, the composition of the pellets or briquettes varies, for example, within the following ranges:
“iron oxide carrier>20\%
“limestone 0-15\%
“ballast material>20\%
“In dependence on the steel grade to be manufactured, different quantities of pellets or briquettes having such a composition mentioned as an example are added, wherein the variable quantity is in the range of numbers 10 to 40 kg/t of liquid steel.
“In order to ensure that the pellets or briquettes according to the invention float in the melt near the phase border melt/slag, so that they can react chemically underneath the slag layer with the iron oxide carrier of the briquettes, their density is adjusted in such a controlled manner that it is with values of between 3 to 4 t/m.sup.3 between the density of the slag and the density of the metal melt (4 to 9 m.sup.3/t).
“This density is achieved by an appropriately adjusted mixing ratio of limestone, ballast material and reduction agent, as well as by compacting during the shaping of the mixture into pellets or briquettes. To ensure that the pellets or briquettes float near the phase border melt/slag and react uniformly slowly, in addition to their density also their size has an influence; therefore, its average dimensions are adjusted to preferably between about H 50.times.L 60.times.B 60 mm.
“Specifically, it has been found that pellets or briquettes containing fine steel scrap meet the density requirements, limestone improves the gas formation, and briquettes having a density of more than 3.2 t/m.sup.3 ensure a placement directly underneath the slag.
“Good slag foaming depends on the slag viscosity. Low temperatures (1, C. to 1, C.) correspond to a low basicity (lime not completely dissolved), higher temperatures (1, C. to 1, C.) correspond to a higher basicity (lime completely dissolved). Since both factors operate oppositely, the temperature and the basicity of the slag are continuously monitored and appropriately controlled.
“In order to achieve a high foaming effect, at the beginning of foaming a sufficient slag height must be present on the steel melt. Therefore, an appropriate slag level control is carried out before and during foaming. Prior to the control of the slag level, a minimum slag quantity of >60 kg/t should be ensured.
“For producing the pellets or briquettes, in accordance with the invention, dry or wet residual materials, which are by-products of the manufacture of various steel products, are used.
“The ballast material is predominantly composed of the element iron of which the non-stainless steels are made, wherein, in accordance with an advantageous further development of the invention, used as ballast material are low-alloy fine scrap having a density of about 7 t/m.sup.3 is used finely shredded. In accordance with the invention, the carbon carrier contained in the pellets or briquettes is coke. However, other carbon carriers such as, for example, coal, can also be used as reduction material.
“In order to permit such mixtures to be pressed into pellets or briquettes, a suitable binder material is necessary. Molasses and cement have proven effective, alternatively it is also possible to use bitumen, pitch, calcium hydrate and plant materials, like cellulose.
“In the manufacture of the pellets or briquettes it is important that the produced shape and size as well as the compacting which has taken place is adapted to their later use. In the present case, it is demanded that the dissolution duration during its reaction with the contents of the slag is adapted to an optimum reduction. Therefore, they should be thermally stable and should not melt immediately after being introduced into the hot electric arc furnace. Moreover, with respect to their shape, size and strength they should be configured in such a way that a pneumatic transport or a simple charging through the furnace cover and from there through the fifth cover hole into the electric arc furnace are possible.
“Additional details and advantages of the invention are in the following explained in more detail with the aid of schematic drawing figures of an embodiment.”
For additional information on this patent, see: Reichel, Johann; Rose, Lutz. Process for Slag Foaming a Non-Stainless Steel Melt in an Electric Arc Furnace. U.S. Patent Number 8764879, filed May 7, 2010, and published online on July 1, 2014. Patent URL:\%2Fnetahtml\%2FPTO\%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8764879.PN.&OS=PN/8764879RS=PN/8764879
Keywords for this news article include: Chromium, Chalcogens, Technology, Heavy Metals, Stainless Steel, Transition Elements, SMS Siemag Aktiengesellschaft.
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