Investigating the effect of slag bath conditions on the existence of multiphase emulsion zones in PGM smelting furnaces using computational fluid dynamics
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The presence of chrome in electric arc furnaces smelting platinum group metals (PGM’s) has a number of potentially negative consequences. In cases where the slag chrome content is above the saturation limit the existence of near-stagnant conditions near the slag/matte interface increases the risk of chromite spinels settling and consolidating into a ‘‘mushy layer’’, a three-phase suspension of slag, chromite and matte. The hold-up of matte above the elevation of the slag/matte interface can lead to the attack of freeze linings and copper cooling elements potentially causing failures of the furnace lining and significant downtimes as well as major safety risks. This paper investigates the relationship between typical furnace operating parameters and the behavior of the slag bath with respect to the formation of the ‘‘mushy’’ layer at the slag/matte interface using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The extent of the potential ‘‘mushy’’ layer is seen to increase with decreasing electrode immersion and furnace power. Electrode immersion is, however, a considerably stronger driver is this regard. The CFD modelling results have aided in selecting appropriate furnace electrode immersion/power combinations intended to minimize ‘‘mushy’’ layer formation.
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A mechanistic model to predict matte temperatures during the smelting of UG2-rich blends of Platinum Group Metal concentratesEksteen, Jacques (2011)High matte temperatures can be related to numerous catastrophic furnace failures in the platinum group metal (PGM) industry where chromite-rich upper group 2 (UG2) concentrates are smelted. Chromite rich concentrates ...
Eksteen, Jacques; McDougall, I. (2012)The matte/slag tidal zone in a platinum smelting furnace is subject to severe process conditions which can often lead to premature failure of the lining. The MgO-FeO-Si02 slag is aggressive to refractory bricks, whilst ...
Bezuidenhout, J.; Eksteen, Jacques; Bradshaw, S. (2009)A full-scale three-dimensional CFD model, coupled with electrical modelling, was created for a circular, three-electrode furnace. This model included a transient analysis of both the slag and matte as fluid layers through ...