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Alkali Circulation in the Blast Furnace - Process Correlations and Counter Measures
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In blast furnace ironmaking one major challenge is to control and measure the alkalis circulating and accumulating in the blast furnace (BF). Alkali enter the BF with the primary raw material and will form a cycle where it is first reduced to metal at the lower parts forming gas. Alkali then follows the gas flow up where it oxidizes and solidies as the oxide form has a higher melting and volatilization temperature. Condensation then occurs on burden material and in their pores and by that it is following the burden downwards. The circular nature of the reactions leads to a build-up of alkali in the form of potassium in the BF that is hard to control or measure. Condensation of alkali compounds can also occur on the BF walls functioning like a glue to which particles attach, forming scaffolds that can rapidly increase and disturb the burden descent. The increased alkali catalyzes gasication of coke with CO2 that increasescoke consumption and leads to disintegration of coke. A common method today to control alkali is by varying the basicity in the BF. As lower basicity increases the amount alkali removed through slag while at the same time reducing the amount of sulfur that can be removed with the slag.

This project was divided into two parts. The first part was a continuation of a previous study performed at Swerea MEFOS. Where to control the effect of alkali on coke gasication a method was tested using coke ash modication to inhibit the catalyzing properties of alkali bound on coke. The method has previously shown that alkalis are bound in the desired form but the added amount was not sufficient for inhibition of all picked-up alkalis. In this study, additional trials with higher additions of kaolin was performed. 2 wt% kaolin was added to the coal blend for producing coke that was then added to LKAB's experimental blast furnace (EBF) as basket samples in the end of a campaign. The excavated samples were analyzed using XRF, XRD, SEM-EDS and TGA to find if the alkali was bound in aluminum silicates in the coke ash, if the addition was sufficient for binding all alkalis and if the catalytic effect in coke gasication had been achieved.

The second part was a novel approach with a statistical process analysis using SIMCA to connect top gas composition of SSAB Oxelösund's BF No. 4 to alkali content using process data. The approach investigated the correlation between NH3(g) and HCN(g) in the top gas to alkali content. Expanding on the possibility to measure alkali content quickly for the operators using top gas measurements. Top gas composition was measured using a mass spectrometer (MS) and where complimented with process and tap data provided by SSAB. Data was analyzed using the multivariate analysis tool SIMCA 15 to find possible correlations.

Results from the first part showed that the alkali that was found was present as alkali aluminum silicates independent of kaolin addition after the EBF. As temperature along gas composition was the main factors behind alkali uptake in coke. Main differences in alkali uptake and development of coke properties in the BF was linked to the temperature and gas composition profile during tests campaigns compared. Results from TGA showed that the reaction rate of coke with CO2 increases with increasing K2O and that start of reaction was lower with increasing alkali. The results from the second approach did not find a correlation between HCN(g) and K2O in slag. Positive correlation could be seen between HCN(g) and increased SiO2 in slag and that H2O(g) would affect HCN(g) negatively.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 68
Keywords [en]
Alkali, coke, experimental blast furnace, top gas, mass spectrometry, multivariate analysis
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-70664OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-70664DiVA, id: diva2:1243078
External cooperation
Swerea MEFOS
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Sustainable Process Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-09-12 Created: 2018-08-30 Last updated: 2018-09-12Bibliographically approved

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