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Published by miningnova
The present paper describes the results of pot sintering studies in reference to the iron ores from Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
The present paper describes the results of pot sintering studies in reference to the iron ores from Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).

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Published by: miningnova on Jun 27, 2009
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Effect of Process Variables on Sintering Indices
Effect of Process Variables on Sintering Indices
R.P. Bhagat, U.S. Chattoraj, Vinod Kumar, M.C. Goswami, K.K. Bhattacharya,S.C. Maulik 
S.K. Sil (Late)
Mineral Processing Division, National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur 
The present paper describes the results of pot sintering studies in reference to the iron oresfrom Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). Basicity ratio (CaO/SiO
) and MgO of sinter were kept at 1.6 % and2.3% level, respectively in the present study - the values which correspond to the sinters produced in the plant. The effect of process variables namely, moisture, coke, bed height on the sintering indices namely, productivity, tumbler index, the ratio RO/RI have been investigated. The results have been interpreted withthe granulometric characteristics of sinter mix.
The strength of sinter do influence the permeability of the stack zone inside the blastfurnace when it is charged because of the breakage. Besides, the strength of sinter duringreduction (RDI) and reducibility of sinter (RI) doaffect the furnace performance quite significantly.The sinter properties, strength and reducibility areinfluenced by the mineralogical andmorphological characteristics of sinter which aredependent on the sinter basicity, CaO/SiO
(Ostwald, 1981)
The basicity of sinter has alsoconsiderable influence on the productivity(Bhagat, 1999).
It is generally accepted that thesintering speed increases with increasing basicity because the latter improves the permeability(Dongshim et al., 1980)
and reduces the meltingtemperature.Although the sinter basicity do influence itsquality quite significantly, the scope for itsvariation in the sinter plant in India is limited inview of the blast furnace requirement. Keepingthis fact in view, other process variables, thoughhave marginal effect on the output of sinter and itsquality, need to be looked into. We have studied,in the present work, the effect of the process parameters on the sinter mix characteristics andthe sintering indices while keeping the sinter  basicity fixed.
2. MATERIALS & METHODS2.1 Raw materials
Blended iron ore fines as well as limestone, pyroxenite and coke breeze were used for thestudies. Freshly calcined lime was used during theexperiments. The sieve and chemical analyses of raw materials are mentioned in Tables 1 and 2respectively. Table 1 also shows sieve analysissinter mix.
Table 1:
Sieve analysis of iron ore fines, important raw materials and prepared sinter mix
Size in mm/ 
Weight %Raw Materials IngredientsSinter MiI/OR/F L/S DoloCoke M/SM/WSlagDryWe
Plus 6.3 mm14.45 3.42 1.1211.05 7.9024.0-6.3 +3.36 mm 26.4536.32 4.72 7.55 5.9812.3019.725.7-3.36 mm +840
 21.38 9.6928.4031.4245.7532.0058.343.5-150
 14.04 2.2127.9314.38 9.24 6.0741.756.540.110.2
Table 2:
Chemical analysis of iron ore fines and other raw material ingredients
Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)
Constituents Weight %I/O R/F L/S DoloCoke LimeM/WSla
T Fe65.3255.053.47Ash 17%53.6SiO
2.2 Sintering
Sintering tests were carried out in a batch squareshaped sintering unit of 30*30 sq. cm crosssectional area with 400/550 mm high sinter boxhaving removable grate bar at the bottom. Thesinter mix prepared in a disc pelletiser was putinto the pot and ignited for 2 minutes. Vacuumwas maintained by operating the exhaust fan tillthe completion of sintering. The sinter wasallowed to cool under suction till the temperatureof exhaust gas reaches 100
C. The sinter cake wasthen dislodged and subjected to stabilisation/shatter test.
2.3 Physico-chemical Tests of Sinter 
IS 9963:1981 was followed for the Shatter testand IS 6495:1984 was followed for the tumbler test. Representative sinter sample after thestabilisation was ground to –200 mesh size for thechemical and X-ray diffraction analyses, while – 15+10 mm sized sinter was withdrawn from therepresentative one for RDI investigation..
2.4 Response Variables
The response variables are Vertical Speed of Sintering (VSS
Yield of Sinter (Y
), TumblingIndex (TI), RDI and Productivity. These aredefined elsewhere (Bhagat et al., 2006). The + 10mm size fraction of sinter after the shatter test has been considered for productivity calculation. TheRatio of return fines generated to the return finesinput (RO/RI) has been taken as an index toreflect the shatter strength of sinter. The rationalefor considering the index has been outlined in our  previous paper (Bhagat et al., 1992).
2.5 Mineralogical Compositions
X- ray diffraction analysis of the sinter samplesshows the presence of hematite, magnetite,calcium di-ferrite, calcium ferrite, di -calciumferrite and silicates of Ca and Fe (Table 3).
Table 3:
XRD of the sinter samples
Identified mineral  phased- value with % of highest peak in bracket ( )BH 400 mmBH 550 mm
Hematite 2.703 (100), 2.526 (91),1.694 (54),1.842 (51)2.696 (60), 1.841 (24)Silica 3.69 (56), 3.69 (29),Magnetite2.526 (91), 2.98 (49),1.485 (50)2.976 (55), 1.484(54))CaO.Fe
2.538 (100),2CaO.Fe
Interestingly, highest (100%) peak wasobserved at d-space 2.53 which is characteristicsof magnetite and calcium ferrite for the sinter samples from the experiments carried out at 550mm bed height; whereas highest (100%) peak was observed at d-space 2.70 which ischaracteristics of hematite for the sinter samplesfrom the experiments carried out at 400 mm bedheight (Table 3).
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION3.1 Granulometric Index
Table 2 shows that the granulometric compositionof dry sinter mix is the weighted sum of those of raw materials. That is weight fraction of the sinter mix of the size fraction X
* x j
; where wj is the weightfraction of raw material component , j in the sinter mix and xj is mass fraction of size X
in the jthcomponent.It is apparent from Table 2 that significantimprovement in the granulometric composition
Effect of Process Variables on Sintering Indices
was yielded after the pelletisation of the sinter mix in wet condition. Weight fraction of –840micron sized material decreased from 40.1% inthe dry mix to 10.2 % in the wet sinter mix.Whereas, weight percentage of bigger sizedfractions increased significantly after the pelletisation of dry sinter mix.
3.2 Effect of Moisture and Coke on theSintering Indices
Table 4 shows the effect of moisture and cokecontent on the sintering indices at 400 mm bedheight and 1300 mm WG vacuum.From Table 4 it is apparent that the weightedaverage mean diameter (D
) of the sinter mixdecreased with the decrease in moisture content inthe sinter mix in 4.9 % -5.5 % range and waslowest (3238) at 4.9 % level. The content of -3.36 mm +840
 size fraction in the mix wasalso higher (51.8 %) at 4.9 % moisture level.However, no direct correlation has been obtained between content of -3.36 mm +840
size fractionand the weighted average mean diameter (D
) of the mix (refer Exp. No. 10).Table 4 shows that tumbler strength (TI) of sinter was poorer at 5.5% moisture level (ref. Exp.3 & 10), where as stronger sinter was produced at5.28%/4.9% moisture content (ref. Exp. 4 & 9).The effect of moisture on the speed of sinteringwas opposite to that of strength: the VSSincreased with increasing the moisture content inthe mix. For the ore mix 5.28% moisture level inthe mix seems to be optimum.The lowest TI was observed at 4% coke breeze in the mix (Exp. 3). TI increased from51.9% to 57.9% and the ratio of return finesgenerated to return fines input (RO/RI) decreasedfrom 1.63 to 1.41 when the content of coke breezein the sinter mix increased from 4% to 4.3% (Exp.4 & 9). This has been reflected in the strand productivity also which increased by 3 basis points (from 23.22 T/(sq.m* d) to 26.03T/(sq.m*d) when the solid fuel content increasedfrom 4% to 4.3% in the mix.The present investigation has also revealedthat when avg. diameter of sinter mix had thelowest value (3238
), yield of sinter and strand productivity was maximum (Exp. 9). However,more experiments are required in order to confirmthe correlation.
3.3 Return Fines Balance
The return fines was not balanced in theinvestigations on sintering of the typical ore finesin the pot of smaller dimension with 400 mmheight and 22.5* 22.5 sq.cm cross-sectionmentioned above. When the sintering was carriedout in the pot of larger dimension, 550 mm heightand 30*30 sq.cm cross-sectional area, thesintering indices improved considerably. Also, thereturn fines was balanced in this case. Table 5shows the result.
Table 4:
Effect of moisture and solid fuel content on the mix characteristics and sintering indices
Sintering indices Experiment Number (Coke breeze, wt. % in mix ; Moisture, wt. % in mix)3 (4%, 5.5%)4 (4.23%, 5.28%)9 (4.3%, 4.9%)10 (4.3%, 5.55%)Vol. Avg. Dia.
4318348332383839-3.36 mm +840
; wt.%41.649.751.853.1VSS, mm/min.24.352021.4523.3Yield of (+10 mm) sinter37.5%44.3%46.8%42.6%TI, % +6.3 mm 51.958.157.954.6RO/RI1.631.471.411.46Productivity, T/(m
Table 5:
Effect of bed height on the sinteringindices
IndicesExp. No. 9Exp. No. 1
Bed height, mm400550Water in the mix, %4.95.3Coke in the mix, %4.34.3Strength (TI), % 57.963.9

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