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Long Carbon Steel







.ArcelorMittal Training Advantage Programme


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas

Long Carbon Steel




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1. STEELMAKING MAIN ROUTES ..................................................................................................................................... 7 2. INTRODUCTIONTO THE PROCESS 7 3. MAIN EQUIPMENT .......................................................................................................................................... 9 4. ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT OF AN ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE ...................................................................................... 38 5. INPUTS AND RAW MATERIALS ................................................................................................................... 49 6. STEEL MANUFACTURING STEPS .......................................................................................................................... 55 7. ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE THERMAL BALANCE 72 8. REFINING MECHANISMS (REACTIONS INTERFACES) 75 9. REFINING REACTIONS ............................................................................................................................................... 75


1. INTRODUCTION 91 2. CHEMICAL HEATING PROCESS ................................................................................................................................. 96 3. LADLE FURNACE .................................................................................................................................... 104 4. VACUUM PROCESS ............................................................................................................................................. 108 5. REMELTING AND PROGRESSIVESOLIDIFICATION PROCESSES ........................................................... 127 6. ANALYSIS OF TECHNIQUES USED FOR SECONDARY REFINING 129 6.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................... 129 6.2 OXIDATION LEVEL CONTROL ................................................................................... 130 6.3 CHEMICAL COMPOSITION ADJUSTMENT ............................................................. 131 6.4 METALLIC BATH HEATING ...................................................................................... 137 7. STEEL CLEANLINESS CONTROL.............................................................................................................. 140 8. CHARACHTERISTICSOF THE SLAG USED IN SECONDARY REFINING 146 9. METALIC BATH AGITATION 149 10. DESULPHURIZATION AND DEPHOSPHORIZATION ........................................................... 154 11. VACUUM METALLURGY .......................................................................................................................................... 155


3. THE CONTINUOUSCASTING 165 3.1. INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................... 167 3.2. MCONTINUOUSCASTING MACHINES ....................................................................................................... 169 3.3. THE TUNDISH ......................................................................................................................................................... 175 3.4. THE MOULD ........................................................................................................................................... 189 3.5.THE ROLLS .............................................................................................................................................................. 196 4. ECASTING MOULD LUBRICANTS ........................................................................................................ 203 4.1. FUNCTIONS ........................................................................................................................................................... 203

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1. STEELMAKING MAIN ROUTES Figure 2.3 presents a flowchart of the steel refining staeps to illustrate the positioning of the primary refining processes in the steel mills.
Thermoeledric or furnaces






Torpedo car wtth hot metal

Conventional Casting




Rolling or Forging





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Sponge iron Electrical Arc Furnaee(EAF) Blocks Continuous Slag (eo.product) Billets Shapes





Refining Process


Figure 2.3 - Schematic flowchart of the steel refining step in steelmills.

2. INTRODUCTION TO THE PROCESS The forms of converting electric energy into heat which are of interest to the processes of making steel are: - through heat transfer radiation from an electric arc generated by the flow of current through an ionized gas; - through the resistance to the flow of electrical current in a solid conductor; - electromagnetic induction. The first two methods promote surface heating, i.e., from inside out instead of internal heating, from outside in, provoked by the last method. The kind of furnace described next is the direct electric arc and uses the resistance to electrical current of a solid conductor as heating source. Electric arc, also named voltaic arc is generated by the flow of electric current through ionized air (plasma) which separates the two points between which the arc is formed. In this case, one
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of the points is the electrode and the second point is the material being heated, which should"

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necessarily be an electrical conductor. Electric arc can jump between these two spots. Thus, the , heat transfer is done directly to the load. Electric current also flows through the metallic load, '" generating additional heating due to its inherent resistance during its flow through the conductor. This heating is not as great as the one generated by the voltaic arc. The arc temperature ~

corresponds to the boiling point of the material that makes the electrode. In the case of carbon ~ electrodes this temperature is 4,19JOC (one can estimate that temperature inside the arc is::"

between 10,000 to 18,000C). These furnaces are subdivided in: Alternating current: electrical current passes from an electrode, through the electric arc, stops the charge and flows through the arc to the other electrode. Polarity of these two hot spots inverts at each current semi-cycle of the network frequency. (60 cycles/second BRAZIL). in the case of2

Electrodes are installed through the furnace roof. In the case of steel fabrication it is-=:; :::;

usual the use of a three electrodes design (three-phase alternating current direct-arc- AC).

Direct current: the electric current flows from an electrode to the load and then to the other '-'

electrode which is installed in the furnace bottom. In steelmaking

it is usual to have one


electrode in the roof and the other in the bottom (direct current direct-arc - DC). Electric arc is characterized by presenting a great concentration of power in a small volume.2-

The average temperature in the furnace is lower, making a great temperature gradient between~ the arc and the load to be heated. The dimensions of the electric arc depend on the electricalr> parameters and the mechanism that regulates the distance of the electrodes from the charge.=The multiplication of the voltage in the arc by the power supplied by each arc constitutes a-:; measurement of the irradiated heat. In electric arc furnaces using alternating current, three:::;

electrodes introduced from the furnace roof, are used. Conventional AC electric arc furnaces')

operate with specific power, that is, power by ton of steel produced in the range of 300 to 750" kV Alt. Newer furnaces can operate with specific nominal power in the range of 800 to 1,000 kV Alt. Energy consumption is being reduced from 400 to 500 kV Alt (1990) to around 350 to 400",

kV Alt of steel produced (1999) due to the use of burners and the injection of O2. One of the '" . factors influencing the power consumption is the composition of the charge, because the use of '"

sponge iron tends to increase consumption due to higher slag formation.







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Slag Pot

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Figure 2.1 - Schematic representation of several kinds of electric arc furnaces: indirect or free arc .


The body of electrical arc furnaces is built with steel and is generally circular or slightly elliptical in shape. The body may be lined with bricks and REFRACTORY MASS (Figure 3.1) or to be equipped with cooling systems through jackets with piping for water circulation (cooling panels) that may also have a refractory lining in its lower part (Figure 3.2) which is replaced over time by adhered slag. Although these panels decrease the efficiency of heat transfer to the charge, its use increases the lifetime of the refractory lining, which can reach over 10,000 heats. The presence of slag/refractory lining reduces the thermal loss. The panels may be built with steel or copper piping. It is recommended to use copper cooling panels in the regions nearer to the hot metal or electric arc and steel panels in the furnace




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upper regions. Copper, thanks to its high thermal conductivity, supplies a more efficient cooling for the panel, allowing its use very near to the hot metal level (around 250 mm). Thermocouples may be used for monitoring the cooling panels' performance. In older electric arc furnaces,



internal cooling panels may be used over the steel body, substituting the walls of refractory bricks. In newer models, the panels may replace part of the metallic body. The use of panels gives an increase of the furnace available volume when compared with the traditional lining in the side and roof walls.




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The reduction of downtime for replacement of old refractory lining also contributes to increase ~ the availability of the furnace to production, also contributing for higher energy efficiency. As

already mentioned the cooling panels may be covered with the slag of the process which '-" solidifies and adheres to them. This lining reduces the radiation loss to the walls by around

70%. The body base named hearth presents a flattened curve to avoid that the hot metal-:presents an exaggerated depth, allowing the acceleration of charge heating by heat radiation from the arc and from the refractory walls of the furnace upper region. The hearth has one or more layers of refractory lining. The furnace has two side openings, one for the removal of-slag, inspection of the furnace's internal parts, addition of materials and oxygen injection by __

lance, if necessary. In older furnaces (Figure 3.1) the other opening is the heat tapping hole to drain the liquid metal. In some instances, the opening corresponding to the tapping hole may be tilted upwards to reduce the height of the work floor in relation to the furnace platform or may have its slope reduced in a way that it becomes submerged (submerged tapping hole) avoiding '"

the flowing of slag during the tapping to the ladle. However, the use of a submerged tappinq hole may unnecessarily increase the tapping time and loss of temperature.


The addition of.---,


materials during the steelmaking process may be done through chutes placed in the furnace's roof in more modern facilities. In more recently built furnaces, the tapping hole is at an eccentric position in the hearth (EBT-



Eccentric Bottom Tapping or tapping through a hole positioned eccentrically in the hearth), as ~ shown in Figure 3.2.

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Refractory lining
wfth bricks

Lance for oxygen Injection

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Slag Pot

Figure 3.1 - Schematics of a traditional furnace with tapping chute and submerged tapping hole.



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Addition agents


or fluxing

Collection offumes

Gasses' analyser






Operating the oxygen or sampling lance

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Slag Pot


Figure 3.2 - Schematics of an EST AC current furnace.

Figures 3.3 to 3.5 show images of bodies, roofs, and cooling panels of eletric arc furnaces.




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Figure 3.3 - Images of electric arc furnaces bodies highlighting the background injection of gasses through the bottom.

image of a body with

Figure 3.4 - Images with examples of the distribution of water cooled copper and steel panels, with carbon and oxygen injection nozzles and panels with slag adhered through use. (Images supplied by Voest-Alpine Industria Uda.).


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Figure 3.5 - Examples of water cooled panel's roofs.

The use of EBT system has the advantage of requiring just little tilting (around 10 to 15) to completely tap the hot metal, smaller heat loss during tapping due to the more compact stream and shorter tapping times. The use of this tapping hole also reduces the wear of the refractory in the slag line region, besides making possible to cover a bigger area of the furnace body with cooling panels. The reduction of the length of electrical conductors, due to the reduced tilting angle, lessening additional advantage. The EBT system tapping hole may be replaced from time to time (150 heats is a typical energy losses along these conductors is an

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datum). Considering that the maintenance of the hole may be needed at every heat by filling it with sand, the EBT furnace may present the inconvenience of higher downtime '" ".....::::' :' ,,-~

between heats, but this depends upon the operational practice of each mill and the use of a system to access the hole through an opening and a balcony for the positioning of the operator (Figure 3.2). It may also be necessary to remove all slag before starting the tapping or to retain some hot metal in the furnace. To avoid cold air from entering the furnace during the oxygen injection through lances in the side openings, air nozzles can be installed vertically to the side openings to make an air curtain in this region. This curtain also avoids the gasses generated in the furnace from escaping, directing them to the collection system installed in the furnace roof, mainly when a bigger volume of gas is generated by the use of a larger quantity of sponge iron as raw material. The oxidation of the electrodes' surface is also reduced. The tilting of the furnace is done through electrical or hydraulic systems, which allow a 45 tilt for the tapping of steel in furnaces with a tapping chute and up to 20 backwards to tap the slag. In EBT furnaces the maximum tilting angle is 15. The roof is moved in a rotary movement to allow charging, normally done through the furnace upper part, or for

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maintenance or inspection operations. For such, the roof is normally supported by metallic beams. The roof diameter should be enough for it to rest on the metallic body and not on


the refractory lining, lessening the mechanical strain on it and thermal losses. Since this component wears relatively quickly, it might be interesting to have a spare roof to shorten furnace downtime. To increase protection of the roof region, the furnace is designed to have a large distance from the roof to the hot metal and thanks to this the ratio between useful volume and actual volume of the furnace is relatively small, around 20%. Depending on the furnace charge, this ratio can change, increasing in the case of scrap metal due to its higher apparent density. This low use rate occurred because, in the past the furnaces were


designed with relatively big diameters, in the case of walls made only by refractory, so the refractory wear was reduced. Nowadays, furnaces tend to be higher to avoid thermal losses (smaller roof area) and to have more space to increase the use of gasses in postcombustion. A higher body allows charging 70% of the charge at once and the remainder is charged continuously, without opening the furnace thus reducing the tap-to-tap time and energy consumption. The roof has holes to allow the passage of electrodes, addition of materials, gasses outlet ducts, oxygen injection lance or lime fines, depending on the design of the furnace. The roof may be built with refractory material externally cladded with steel sheeting or to have a body-like structure and cooling panels with piping for cooling water circulation and stuffed with refractory material. There are also roof cooling systems based on the use of a series of sprays for water aspersion over the metallic sheeting. Figure 3.7 shows typical AC EAF installations. Figure 3.8 shows an example of an electric arc furnace inside a metallic

structure (dog house) aiming to reduce sound and environment operation safer.

pollution and to make


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Figure 3.7 - AC EAF images (photos supplied by SMS-DEMAG


Figure 3.8 - Example of an EAF inside a metallic structure (dog house).

As one can see in Figure 3.7 and 3.8, the electrodes are supported by columns or masts, arms and claws. The columns allow the electrodes to be moved vertically, following a positioning command to guarantee an accurate working point, quickly compensating any process changes, besides analyzing and immediately correcting current overloads or short circuits. These movements occur at speeds in the range of 0.3 to 1.0 m/min. Electrodes may rise or descend individually to allow controlling the power of the arc that will result in highest production. Hydraulic systems are normally used to move electrodes up and down.






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It is extremely important that the supporting system regulates itself in order to reduce the possibility of breakage, even in the case of contact with a conductive or non-conductive material. The regulating system should be adequate for its complete integration in the automation process environment. The integrated calculus program initially determines the working points based on the desired current flow and the length of the arc, what can also be done through the electrical diagram. The process monitoring and control system should guarantee that the working points are maintained. Traditionally, the electrodes' supporting arms are made of steel to supply the mechanical resistance needed to support the electrodes. Each arm supports one electrode or phase, in a way that they may be moved independently to make the necessary adjustments to the


arc. On these arms, the tubular copper electrical conductors are assembled (Figure 3.9). The arms should be electrically insulated from these conductors. Recent developments

aim at substituting the steel structure by solid aluminium arms to transfer the electrical current and to support the electrodes. Another option is the use of a steel structure lined with copper plates, easing the connections with the electrodes' claws. In the arms' ends there are claws with forged or cast copper shoes, internally


by water and

electrically insulated from the electrodes by a layer of mica (Figure 3.9). The electrodes are vertically placed inside the claws where they are clamped by a spring system hydraulic driven. To allow adjustment of the vertical position of consumable electrodes, the contact system with conductors hydraulic cylinders. is not rigid and may be disconnected by remotely operated




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Figure 3.9 - Examples of arms and support claws of internally water cooled electrodes for tri-phase furnaces. (Images supplied by Voest-Alpine Industria Ltda;Concast AG).



Electrodes are normally made of graphite or amorphous carbon. These materials are carefully chosen according to the characteristics required to make an electrode:


do not melt, to resist oxidation and chemical attack, to have high resistance to thermal shocks; to have high thermal condutibility and low electrical resistance to avoid its heating and to reduce voltage drop to a minimum, to be easily machinable to allow the making of proper joints preserving the best electrical qualities.



Amorphous carbon electrodes are most used in submerged arc furnaces, used in the manufacture of ferroailloys or calcium carbide. Raw material may be the coal named



anthracite, coke and tar based binding agents. They are extruded followed by curing in a heating furnace with temperatures in the range of 1,300C during several days. After a

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slow cooling they can be machined to make joining threads. The graphite electrode has a higher resistance to compression and higher electrical

conductivity than the amorphous carbon ones. The chemical composition of the electrode correspond to more than 99% of carbon and the remainder is constituted by Fe, Si, Ca, S and P. Actual density is in the range of 2.22 NO 2.25 tlm3. Although found in Nature, natural graphite, due to the quantity of impurities is not adequate to the direct making of electrodes. The manufacturing process, in general lines, follows the route described below (Figure 3.11) considering carbon. the use of raw materials which are sources of amorphous


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The raw materials, oil coke (previously calcinated) or the coke based on mineral coal pitch and a binding agent as pitch (obtained from the distillation of tar) are mixed with a controlled granulometry. The mix is extruded to promote the orientation of coke grains in a parallel direction to the electrical current direction.

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A first heating for curing is done at temperature

ranges of 850 -1,250C to eliminate

volatile materials and to cokefy the pitch to promote coke particles agglomeration. In the case of electrodes that will be used for the manufacture of nipples or connectors, an additional impregnation with pitch promotes the increase of some electrical and

mechanical properties . Graphitization (transformation of amorphous carbon in a crystalline carbon) is done in a

furnace with electrical resistances at temperatures of 2,400-2,500C. After a slow cooling the electrodes may be machined to ensure that the desired final

diameter is achieved and to make the joining threads. One can notice that a great amount of electrical energy is used for the manufacture of electrodes.





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extrusion Impregnation pitch with



Cure heating


Figure 3.11 - Electrodes manufacturing process (images courtesy of SGL Carbon).

The electrode diameter is defined as a function of the intensity and density of the current flowing through them. This diameter can vary from 75 to 750 mm in lengths up to 2.8 m

?~d_w_e-!ig1-h_t_u..!.p_t_o_2_to_n_s_. Electrodes may be coated with a layer made with aluminium and refractory materials, deposited by melting, which has high electrical conductivity in relation to graphite, as a way to reduce carbon oxidation and to reduce the current intensity through the inner parts of the electrode. Electrodes Consumption The consumption of electrodes is one of the operational indicators which is highly




influenced by the operation electrical parameters. Till the 80's specific consumption



melting furnaces were from 4 to 6 kg of graphite per ton of steel produced. At the end of 90's, consumption was around 1.1 to 1.4 kg/t of steel produced. One of the factors


contributing to this reduction in electrodes consumption was the increase of the ratios voltage/current. The furnaces had their transformers


modified to operate with higher


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voltages (up to a little above 1,000 V). One should guarantee in this case, a more efficient insulation between the electrodes arm and the mast. During the manufacture of steels, electrodes are consumed. This consumption divided in two main categories: - normal consumption; - sudden consumption. Normal consumption consumption. encompasses two types: side consumption and linear or vertical can be

Side consumption

is responsible for making the electrode funnel-shaped,

while linear consumption electrode

shortens the electrode. It occurs during all the time that the

remains hot and the main reason for that is due to oxidation through the



The oxidation rate of the graphite electrode depends, to a certain extent, on the quality of the graphite and the temperature in the surface of the electrode, velocity and turbulence of the gasses flowing from the furnace, as well as the oxygen contents of these gasses. To reduce the side face wear by oxidation, one can use devices for cooling its surface, thus decreasing the speed of the reaction of carbon with oxygen inside or outside the furnace.


The increase in the steel manufacturing time and the intensity of the electrical current also cause an increase in the electrode wear by oxidation. Air intake in the furnace, incorrect positioning of the oxygen lance and a more intense flow of gasses moving to the exhaust system passing near the electrode, also increases the oxidation on its surface.

The consumption of the electrode extremity or linear consumption occurs mainly when the furnace is operating. Its main causes are the action of the voltaic arc and the erosion by metal and slag. The wear of the electrode tip occurs by sublimation (passage from the solid state directly to the gaseous state) of carbon in the electric arc, erosion of graphite particles (caused by the projection of metal in the electrode), graphite chemical attack (absorption) by slag and steel. The agitation of the hot metal and slag provokes an electrode tip/hot metal and slag, increasing the wear by

increase in the interaction chemical attack.

Contrasting with normal consumption,

which is essentially a surface phenomenon,




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sudden consumption could end in a sudden variation in the length of the electrode, mainly by cracks and breakage. The causes for this type of consumption may be found in the

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furnace operational area and normally involve poor preparation of the scrap and thermal shock in the electrode. The improper preparation of the scrap may cause its movement inside the furnace with consequent impacts in the electrode and its possible rupture as shown in Figure 3.13. Thermal shock occurs when the electrodes are positioned outside the furnace, generating tensions that may develop cracks.



Figure 3.13 - Electrode breakage caused by improper preparation of the scrap.

The breakage

of electrodes

could also occur due to excessive

strain caused


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deficiencies in the electrode regulation system, faults in the electrode joint, faults in the electrodes alignment or irregularities in the scrap loading in the furnace, which can provoke chipping when associated to thermal tensions due to inadequate electric current voltage. After breakage, in most of the cases it is possible to re-use it by machining it. It is also possible to use a broken electrode at the tip that will make the arc in a new assembly. The electrodes may be cooled by a device which sprays water in the electrode surface below the support and connection system. One can observe that carbon oxides above 400C. This device can be ring type sprays assembled under each claw. Water slides on the surface of the electrode, cooling it, thus decreasing the oxidation of the surface and consequently its wear. This system can decrease electrode consumption by 10 to 30%,



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besides reducing the heat incidence on the electrode support system, energy transmission cables, and other equipment installed near the electrodes. The incidence of heat on the refractory lining in the center of the roof is also reduced, decreasing the wear in this region. The intensity of the cooling system use varies according to the steel preparation step in the furnace. It can also be noted that with the increase of the use of oxygen injection in EAF, the tendency to oxidation of the electrodes' surface increases, reason




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why the use of a cooling system to avoid premature wear acquires more importance to prevent premature wear. Table 3.1 shows an example of the most important properties of graphite electrodes. All data presented in this table were measured at room temperature. Flexibility increases

with temperature. Resistivity decreases with temperature increase, but starts to rise again at higher temperatures, being 600C the temperature above which this inversion occurs.

The higher the resistivity, the higher the resistance to thermal shocks and to electrode oxidation. Thermal conductivity decreases with temperature increase. As electrodes wear, new electrodes may be joined to the ones in operation through

appropriate connectors (niples). The assembling can be made by removing and placing the set in the melting shop floor, or in the upper part of the column, without removing the set from the furnace. Electrodes can also be joined by male-female joints without the use of connectors. In all cases, joining is done through threads, using pitch to cement the joint to avoid the slackening of the joint by the vibrations in the electric arc furnace.

Table 3.1 Graphite electrodes most important properties

Variable Diameter Apparent density Porosity Specific Electric Resistance Flexibility


Unit mm q/crn" 0/0 QI-lm MPa W/(K.m) Expansion ,Llm/(K.m)

>600 1.66-1.73 17-20 4.6-5.2 9-12 200-250 0.3 - 0.8

Thermal Conductivity Thermal Coefficient



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Refractory Lining Refractory lining has had an extraordinary evolution over steelmaking history. By being an important variable for the operational cost of a steel mill it is fundamental that it does not suffer premature wear problems or breakages that may hinder the availability of the furnace for production. The temperature for making steel, which has been increasing due to ladle metallurgy and the introduction of continuous casting, is an item of concern

because it increases the wear of the refractory lining. Another important item is the market demand for lower phosphorus contents. Refractory lining may be acid or basic. Acid lining is only used in the re-melting of steel in foundries. In this case, steel was

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already produced in a previous step and the main objective is the use of molten steel for filling the die of a part, with minimum alteration in metallurgical properties which might end in the formation of a slag that would be very aggressive to the acid lining. Basic or alkaline lining is used in furnaces used in the primary refining of steel. In this case, one can choose to lay a lining of acid brick (silicon-aluminium) over the metallic





sheeting and covering it with the basic lining (bricks and mortar lining made of MgO magnesia or dolomite - MgOCaO - with or without the addition of carbon). In designing the refractory lining of an electric arc furnace, first there is the division of the lining in different zones according to the wear profile present in the inspections, measurements or



repairs carried out during the furnace campaign and after its end. The intensity and kind of " wear supply data that makes possible to determine the type of request present in each region and the wear speed, allowing to establish, a priori a wear standard and the


corresponding selection of adequate materials to stand such wear, thus avoiding frequent downtime for repairs or even prem~ture stops in the furnace campaign, or worse, a more

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serious situation, accidents caused by cracks in the metallic body.


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Lining Wear The wear of the lining starts when the furnace starts to be used. This wear is of thermal, chemical, and mechanical strain nature and is inter-related what makes the accurate analysis of the phenomenon responsible for the wear, more difficult.

The main causes for refractory lining wear are: - mechanical impact by loaded scrap; - attack by the slag formed in the process; - energy irradiated by the voltaic arc. Mechanical impacts caused by scrap are controlled through an adequate preparation of this material, followed by appropriate chemical composition. charging sequence. Slag attack depends on its and

The addition of fluxing agents can adjust this composition

minimize the refractory attack. Refractory operational wear caused by energy irradiated by the voltaic arc depends upon the

parameters of the furnace, specially voltage and current, which affect the

length of the arc. A shorter arc makes the energy received by refractory smaller. One way to lessen this kind of wear is to work with the electrode tip inside the solid charge and after melting, inside the slag. increases It is important to note that the internal diameter of the furnace wear, without the consequent increase of the furnace

with the refractory

capacity. In some cases, it may be encountered capacity increase of up to 10% from start to end of the campaign. There are however, other secondary causes described below: Considering the thermal aspects, one aspect that exerts strong influence in the refractory lining campaign in an EAF is the obedienced to the limits established as maximum

temperature when selecting the refractory. If, during operation one avoids to cause sudden variations of temperature, this attitude will contribute to reduce the wear of the lining. oxidation, formation

Among the chemical phenomena,

of compounds

with low melting


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points and corrosion may be mentioned. Mechanical strains which cause refractory wear are related mainly with erosion, abrasion, mechanical removal, impacts, and tensions due to materials' dilation. Sudden temperature variations provoke heterogeneous variations in the refractory dimensional

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bricks and mortar, which due to having its displacement

restricted by neighboring bricks, produce local tension which may exceed the rupture limit, causing the formation and later propagation of cracks in the refractory structure, causing the loss of fragments thermoclass.

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in the refractory surface. This wearing mechanism

is known as

Corrosion comprises

several wear mechanisms

of MgO-C refractory, starting with the


oxidation of carbon by the oxygen which is present in the furnace atmosphere or in slag's components, followed by the infiltration of slag in the brick lattice, and the formation of


compounds with low melting points in the magnesia matrix resulting in its melting and the removal of magnesia grains by lack of retention. Every time a layer thickness is lost the process is started over. The slag line is more subject to the wear by corrosion mainly due to the carbon's higher tendency to oxidation due to the oxygen contained in the FeO and MnO and also due to possible irregular blasts from the oxygen injection lances. Wear by erosion occurs when solid, liquid, or gaseous fluids move in relation to the refractory surface, which is typical of slag or steel tapping operations or during tilting of the furnace. Another example of this phenomenon is the wear that occurs when solid particles or gasses at high velocity drag the refractory in the furnace's particulates dragged by gasses. Abrasion wear occurs when particles of solids move along the refractory surface, as happens during the loading of scrap. To stand this kind of wear the refractory must be cohesive and present a hot rupture resistance. The refractory wear caused by physical damages due to impact during the loading of scrap can be minimized by first introducing light scrap to cushion the drop of heavier scrap and to use impregnated bricks which are more impact resistant. The wear caused by mechanical accumulating removal mainly occurs when skull is removed after roof due to the flow of


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inside the furnace. The wear occurs when skull is adhered to the refractory,

mainly when cleaning operations are done at low temperatures, without previously cutting it and without local replacement of the worn refractory.


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The knowledge of these wear mechanisms is of essential importance to the selection of the most adequate refractory materials for each region, justifying the diversity of regions of bricks, mortar and

presented in Table 3.1. To ensure a balanced wear, combinations

cooling panels are used, in conformity with the zone. of higher or lower wear. In zones with high strain special bricks of several kinds may be used with higher cost bricks in critical spots, to optimize the cost of refractory by ton of steel produced. Besides the division of the electrical furnace in several regions, refractory lining can be further divided in permanent lining or safety lining, meaning a lining which is only

removed after the closing of the campaign and the work lining, that is the lining which wears out and that may be partially repaired throughout the campaign, and that is

completely changed after the closing of the campaign.



The separation of refractory in EAF as permanent and work lining is necessary to allow the selection of the most adequate material for the walls, aiming to simultaneously comply with safety and performance requirements. For example, the two layers corresponding to

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permanent and wear lining comprise two different lines of bricks, mortar, or blocks, thus reducing the possibility of coincident joints, increasing the tightness of the lining. The heat transfer from the interior of the furnace to the body made in steel sheeting should be the minimum possible, demanding a smaller thermal conductivity for the bricks in the safety lining. This conductivity should be higher in the wear lining to avoid cracks in the deformations which might occur caused by non-



refractory due to highly heterogeneous

uniform heating along the wall. The wear lining comes into contact with the hot metal, with slag, with the gasses and particulates and should have adequate characteristics to resist

to chemical attacks and strains of abrasion, erosion and mechanical shocks which are not

demanded in the safety lining.



Another improvement introduced in the design of refractory projects of EAF is the cutting and pre-assembly of certain regions that require more frequent repairs, such as tapping


holes and the tuyeres region, which by this improvement may be quickly changed during downtime of the equipment for maintenance or repairs. A tapping hole is normally changed after being used in a range of 150 to 250 heats.




The regions of furnaces corresponding

to the slagline, hot metal line, hot spots and

tapping holes (in EAF) normally use MgO-C bricks, pitch bonded or resin bonded or




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bricks with addition of electro fused grains. Dolomite-magnesia

mortar can be used in the


building of hearths and in hearth and ramps hot repairs. The sub-regions of the side wall called hot spots correspond to the regions in front of the electrodes, whose surface is directly hit by the electric arc flames and the impact of solid metal, electrodes and slag particles, moving at high speed, causing wear by erosion. The roof lining may be basic, of the magnesium-chromium basic aluminous type. In this situation type. It can also be of the with chromite or



one should use a material


base in the last regions of the furnace's side walls, which avoid the

excessive wear due to acid-base reaction between the roof and side walls refractory. The remainder of the roof is normally lined with a refractory material alumina-based (90 to

95%). Some companies use a refractory lining in front of the copper panels near the slag line (bottom part of the panels) to reduce the loss and temperature in this region. The refractory lining of the roof is highly demanded due to the high temperature in this region and thermal shocks arising from side dislocation during the furnace loading. In the

-r-, r>. .r-.., .r-..,

assembly of the roof acid refractory lining, silica bricks are normally used. Due to the fact that these bricks present a high thermal dilation they are assembled cardboard with spacers of

of the brick ~ without introducing thermal tensions. A typical value for the lifetime of the roof lining is (', around 100 heats with consumption from 20 to 40 tons per ton of steel produced. In some

or wood which by burning during heating allow the expansion

instances, the roof might be constituted by water cooled panels, with a refractory lining or non-magnetic water cooled metallic ring in the holes for the passage of electrodes, to


avoid the voltaic arc between the electrode and the roof. In this case, a lifetime over 1,000 heats may be achieved. Refractory material used in EAF may be supplied as shaped material or as non-shaped material. As an example of shaped parts it can be mentioned: bricks, tuyeres, refractory concrete side wall panels, tapping holes and tapping chutes, sealing rings for electrode's




openings in the roof and the inner parts of the roof (Figure 3.17). As examples of non- - ~ shaped materials mortars and plastic refractory may be mentioned. Non-shaped or (nonUt..

molded) plastic mixture refractory present a high MgO content (91 to 96%)\and are used ), in the assembly of new linings (correction of warps in the body, junctions of the work linings) as well as in maintenance through hot repairs. Refractory mortars have a lower MgO content (around 80%) and are used in the assembly of the safety lining joints.



cf ,..-,



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Molded depending


in EAF


be manufactured





upon cost and its availability at the place where the steel mill is located.

Dolomite, fused magnesia, high purity magnesia sinter and other magnesia materials are refractory's main raw materials. All are basic and contain additives to increase its

resistance to wear. MgO - Cr203 may be used in EAF used in the production of stainless steels. When the refractory bricks used in the safety lining are of MgO base they may be preburnt in a way that all chemical bonds are well developed and stable regarding volume variation, thus reducing thermo-mechanical tensions over the adjacent layers of the work

lining and steel body lessening the possibility of cracks in the equipment. These bricks normally have inferior mechanical properties when compared with the wear lining, due to the absence of additives so as not to increase the undesirable effect of thermal

conductivity increase. In relation to the refractory bricks used in the wear lining layers, one can consider that, if the installed capacity is higher than projected production; the production losses with downtime needed to re-apply a new lining or to make repairs do not have an impact on the desired production, one can thus choose the dolomite (MgO > 30% and CaO > 55%) due to its lower cost. In other cases MgO lining combined or not with other additives is used. Among main additives we can mention carbon, bonding agents and anti-oxidation additives. Magnesia can be electro fused or sintered. In the case of sintered bricks, magnesium oxide or magnesia (MgO) is sintered at

temperatures from 1,700 to 2,1 OOC, with steps of 5 to 12 hours, achieving the following properties: rock-like or dense ceramic material aspect, high mechanical resistance, high melting point, high apparent specific gravity, low apparent porosity and compatibility with FeO. However, this magnesia sinter shows deficiencies as high thermal expansion, high specific heat and a relatively high wetability by metal and/or slag. The combination of MgO with carbon is adequate to increase resistance to corrosion and infiltration by slag, resulting from the lesser wetability of carbon by the oxides and by the formation of a magnesium oxide layer in the hot face of the brick. Generally, it may be considered that MgO refractory results from a certain chemical incompatibility between

magnesium oxide and carbon, which can be evidenced by the non-existent formation of a liquid phase (eutectics) and by both constituents not being thermo-chemically high temperatures. stable at

This favors the formation of magnesium oxide in dense layers in the



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refractory structure itself (hot face) originating from the reduction reactions. Antioxidant additives such as aluminium, magnesium, silicon, and boron carbide are used to avoid the carbon oxidation in the brick and to reduce porosity, helping to avoid the penetration of slag. They also promote an increase (flexural strength) in the mechanical properties at high temperatures. However, they increase cost, the rigidity of bricks and an undesirable ,,-.... .-..., '-'

change in the chemical composition of the slag. From the refractory's consumption standpoint, a good quality slag is the one having the following characteristics: low total iron contents (below 20%), high alkalinity (in the 3.0 to ~

5.5 range) and high MgO contents (above 6.0% in some companies). This is necessary to increase the slag melting point to above 1,700oe, preventing the slag film adhered to the refractory wall from melting during steelmaking. related to slag temperature, The wetability, measured by its fluidity


""' r-,

total Fe contents, alkalinity and MgO contents is also an :'

important variable, because it determines the capacity of the slag to infiltrate in the micro pores of the refractory bricks. The higher the FeO and MnO contents in the slag the higher the tendency to form a fluid slag increasing the wear of the refractory due to higher prenetration. This is due to the fact that these substances reduce the slag melting point. The wear of the refractory lining varies along the various regions of the furnace, being higher in the side walls in contact with the slag and lower in the hearth. Typical values demanding the change of the work lining are around 150 heats for the slag line, chutes and tapping holes, 80 heats for the roof and 5,000 heats for the hearth (without the use of oxygen lance). A research published by IISI (International Iron and Steel Institute) in 2000, shows that the average consumption of refractory fell from 6.9 kg/t (1990) to 3.1 kg/t






(1999) in 35 furnaces researched in various countries. However, these numbers may be altered by a series of factors, for instance: - the kind of steel being made (tapping temperature, alloy elements added, etc.); - heat time (affected by the use or not of secondary refining, burners, oxygen injection, preheating of the metallic charge,etc); - chemical composition of the metallic charge used, highlighting phosphorus contents; -the company policy in relation to the preservation of the lining or steel production and quality;


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- the materials (chemical composition, manufacturing the ligning;

method and microstructure)

used in

- the use or not of a practice with foaming slag, as well as the duration of it; - kind of furnace (AC or DC) and the adjustment of operational electric parameters; - electrode cooling method; For a better understanding refractory consumption of the influence of refractory performance in consumption in the furnace,

can be sub-divided

of bricks for the walls and

hearth, bricks for the roof, and ~atching mix!.llie. In general, around ~of refractory consumption corresponds to patching mixture,.20 to 30% of bricks for walls and hearth and 5 to 10% of bricks to roofs. We should stress that the cost per kg of these

materials and the cost of assembly varies a lot and normally the lowest cost is for the patching mixture. Thus, one should not be fooled by only analyzing the final refractory consumption per ton of steel produced. Refractory consumption for storage and transport ladles for liquid steel and liquid pig iron ladles and refractory materials employed in the conventional or continuous casting area should also be considered in the analysis of

refractory consumption per ton of steel cast. In repairing refractory lining hot and cold patching techniques can be used. One hot repair technique is called gunning. In this technique the material is injected in the furnace through pneumatic transport, allowing its use in a hot furnace, aiming to the formation of thin layers that are sintered during application. Such procedure represents an increase in productivity and higher energy savings. However, this technique has a disadvantage and heterogeneity caused by segregation during the gunning. of low density the


granulometry and porosity control of the lining to allow water steam escape and thermal accommodation is more difficult. The binding agents used in the patching mixture can be

silicates, phosphates or chromium based. In terms of the refractory ..lining campaig.f1..1!1eaning the number of heats in the electric

furnace that would deteriorate the lining in such a way that would require the total stop of the equipment for the complete replacement of both work and safety refractory linings,

5,000 to 7,000 heats may be achieved or even more, if the maintenance of the lining takes precedence over other parameters related to production.


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The monitoring of the refractory lining wear in an electric furnace may be done through the use of two distinct and complementary methodologies: visual inspection and laser ,-..,

inspection. The obtained data are used to estimate the lifetime of the refractory lining and countermeasures to correct high wear in certain regions.

,-'\ '

The visual inspection can be done after each heat. The furnace interior inspection is normally done through the work door, inside the furnace next to the tapping hole and complemented furnace by the operator positioned in a platform from where he can see the whole The tapping chutes and work door normally receive refractory may be optical




maintenance complemented

with higher frequency with the monitoring

(every 2 or 4 heats). Visual inspection of the furnace body temperature through


pyrometers, thermographs,

or thermocouples

installed at specific points. This monitoring

.--, "\

allows the identification of high temperature spots in the metallic sheeting which indicate a severe wear in the refractory lining or faults in the cooling panels. Laser inspection is done using equipment that allows the scanning of the refractory

surface through a laser beam, allowing the measurement of the remaining refractory lining ~ by comparing the current measurement with the value obtained at the start of the "-

campaign. Data acquired are processed in a computer allowing a more accurate mapping of the refractory wear. Laser measurement according to operational needs. Gunning systems were developed to make repairs in electric arc furnaces linings '"'

may be done weekly or at higher frequency


considering the mapping acquired by laser data. The gunning equipment may be remote controlled or operated as a robot, making the gunning after the opening of the roof top, decreasing the time needed for the repair and increasing its accuracy. Dust and gasses collection equipment must be installed in electrical steel mills. This



equipment may use a fourth hole in the roof for the exhausting of particulates and gasses generated during the making of steel. Other exhaust systems using shrouds may be


installed to collect these materials during charging and tapping of the furnace. Shrouds can also be installed around the electrodes. The system for cleaning colleted gasses can be of dry or wet types. These systems comprise bag houses or electrostatic precipitators,

venturis or disintegrators to remove the dust and smokestacks to discharge the filtered air to the atmosphere. The gasses generated can reach temperatures


up to 1,200C and


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have a high CO content. Collected gas may be used for pre-heating the charge through the release of its sensible heat (related to the high exit temperature of the gasses) or through combustion of the gas components (CO and H2). Scrap heating methods may also use additional fuels (natural gas, LPG or fuel oil, for example) to increase the efficiency or the control/reliability of the scrap or sponge iron preheating. Besides, allowing the re-use of gasses for heating or pre-heating the charge in the furnace, thus reducing environmental pollution, gasses collecting systems also bring a

series of benefits, varying from company to company, of which the following could be mentioned: - reduction of the interference of gasses/particulates in the visibility of the process stages

inside the furnace and in the furnace charging operation by overhead cranes; - reduction of damages to hydraulic/mechanical systems above the furnace;

- reduction of the wear of roof's electrodes and refractories. ;(

To promote temperature injection systems


and hot metal chemical composition,

inert gas

can be installed

in the hearth tuyeres

or side walls or through representations of these


devices for hot metal agitation. Schematic

systems were already presented in Figure 3.2. The injection of inert gasses may be done through refractory elements or metallic tuyeres. A typical injection range is 50 to 200N liters/min. Besides the homogenization of temperature and hot metal composition, the

injection of gasses has other advantages such as: -reduction of energy consumption efficiency; - less time for the dissolution of additions in the metallic bath; - higher dessulfurizing metal and slag; - reduction of the iron contents in the slag, increasing the metallic yield; and dephosphorizing efficiency due to higher interaction between and manufacturing time thanks to higher heat transfer



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- reduction of dissolved gasses in molten steel (especially hydrogen); - help in slag foaming. Inert gasses injected can be: argon, nitrogen and CO2. Natural gas can also be injected with additional advantages: lower co:-:::-srt,-:r;::::e:::id~u~c""'tlo""n""""o"'*f-fF""'e~O~lnthe slag and generation of a less oxidizing environment in the furnace, which reduces the electrodes surface wear as well as helps in the cooling, due to heat absorption during the gas decomposition process. Obviously, the melting step is based on the supply of thermal energy to the charge.


,.--, --'""\ ""

However, besides the conversion of electric energy to thermal energy, chemical energy can be supplied (converted) through various ways. Some furnaces are equipped with oxygen injection devices which can also work as burners. These burners allow the use of burnt gasses generated inside the furnace in the process, supplying extra energy arising from: - the combustion of the gas components (CO, H2), originated in the reactions for refining the steel; - the oxidation of some components of the charge (Fe, Si, C); - from the combustion of fuels added to the furnace (natural gas, LPG, carbon, etc). Oxygen injection can be done through: - Consumable nozzles manipulated by the operator and inserted in the furnace through


~ ~


" ~

the slag removal side door (Figures 3.2 and 3.22a). These lances may also be used to cut slag pieces. Its efficiency depends on the operator's skill. - Water cooled lances supported by manipulators (with or without the addition of

,.-, ""'


nitrogen or CO2) inserted in the furnace through the slag removal side opening. They may be controlled by automated systems operated by control panels installed in the floor near the furnace or in the furnace control room. They can also be used to inject carbon and/or

" ,~

lime through lances designed for this purpose (Figures 3.2, 3.22b and 3.22c). The injection is done at supersonic speed. - Oxygen Injectors shaped as tuyeres or nozzles. These nozzles can be inserted in various positions: above the hot metal through the side walls (Figures 3.22d, 3.22f and




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3.22g) and through the roof, in the hot metal by the side walls or hearth. In the case of nozzles mounted in the hearth, ceramic blocks mounted tuyeres can be used which move towards the center of the furnace in proportion to the wear of the refractory (around 1 to 1.2 mm per heat) by the contact with the hot metal. The injection of carbon can also be made through nozzles mounted in the furnace walls (example shown in Figures 3.22d, 3.22e and 3.22f). One of the advantages of this system is that, in some cases, they avoid the use of lance manipulators inserted through the furnace side openings, increasing the energetic efficiency and the safety of operation. - Oxygen injectors as burners. They are also named oxy-fuel burners. They can be fixed or retractable and are installed in the side walls, roof or work doors. They blend the oxygen injection with gasses generated in the steelmaking process as fuel or use


additional fuels (natural gas, LPG or fuel oil). One to six burners may be installed, directed to hit the colder regions or the furnace upper part, to burn the gasses generated by the process. Oxy-fuel burners are used in most electric arc furnaces. It was first used in the slag door where the arc was inefficient. Since the power of EAFs increased, they currently used in cold spots. Tipically, productivity increases by 5 to 20%. Pulverized coal can also be injected through dedicated lances or sharing the oxygen injection lance. This coal injection combined with oxygen also contributes to slag foaming. One strategy for the use of burners recommend the use of long flames to allow the gasses generated by

combustion to penetrate deep in the charge and return through the empty spaces between the slag pieces, moving upwards to the collection ducts. If the oxygen injection occurs in the surface or inside the hot metal, the oxidation of some components of the charge (Fe, Si, C, etc.) generates reactions that contribute to the supply of energy to the process.


It should be taken into consideration that, regardless of the above mentioned advantages, the use of oxygen has negative effects on the metallic yield of the furnace and on the consumption of the carburizing element of the hot metal. To illustrate this, it can be

mentioned that in some cases, for an oxygen injection volume of 10 Nm3 ton of molten steel, the yield is reduced by 0.5%. In some companies, the oxygen injection is done through lances that use the principle of coherent-jet (cojet ). This process basically consists in the injection of a fuel gas (natural

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gas or LPG) around the oxygen jet to avoid its scattering, keeping an approximately parallel flow (hence the term coherent jet) preserving the speed of the supersonic jet increasing its length and its penetration in the metal with better homogenization. This is possible because the oxygen jet is protected by the gasses generated by the combustion of the fuel gas and oxygen injected through small holes around the lance tip. The use of the coherent jet allows the placing of the nozzle farther from the hot metal. The tip of the oxygen lances was modified as shown in figure 3.23. A comparison between the supersonic and coherent jet shapes and the central part speed variation for a flow of 1,133 Nm3/h with a pressure of 7.0 kgf/cm2 are shown in Figure 3.24.

,-., __ '" ,.--, ,......,

Figure 3.22 - Examples of various injection systems of oxygen, carbon or natural gas in EAF: (a) furnace with manually operated lance and equipped with lance manipulators; (b) furnace equipped with lance manipulators; (c) detail of a lance supported by a manipulator; (d) oxygen and carbon injectors installed between cooling panels; (e) carbon injection by nozzle; (f) schematics of the oxygen and carbon injection the hot metal/slag; (g) image of a burners/injectors set operating inside an electric furnace.

,.--, ~ ,"""I



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.. natural gas or LPG

Figure 3.23 - Schematics of an example of oxygen lance tip used in the coherent jet process.

coherent jet ~~--.-.......--..--;supersonic jet

~ ,t'f. 20

.;: iec I
~ lw ~

: C--T"j-r,\I:i/ L'

I t-









distance from the lance tip (m)

Figure 3.24 - Schematics of the supersonic jet shape and coherent jet and speed variation in the central 2 partof the jet for a 1133 Nm3/h flow and a pressure of 7,0 kgf/cm .

Figure 3.25 presents an image of the shape of the coherent jet in lab experiences. Schematics in Figure 3.26 show the difference in penetration for the two jets.


Figure 3.25 - Image of the coherent Technology Inc.

jet in experiences

made in laboratory.


of Plaxair


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Figure 3.26 - Schematics of the difference between penetration efficiency and hot metal homogenization of the hot metal obtained with coherent jet in relation to the supersonic jet.


The basic principle of the functioning of electric arc furnaces may be described as an electric circuit comprising, an electrical source at one end (distribution network, breaker, transformer, etc.) connected to one or more conductors in the other end causing shortcircuits" that generate and concentrate enough energy to melt the metallic charge. One of the main characteristics of the energy needed to make these short circuits is the

combination of a low voltage with a high current.


~ ArcelorMittal

Point Lisas Limited








Figure 4.1 - Schematics furnace. of the main components of the energy supply system in an AC electrical arc

However, big power stations, due to its primary generating energies (waterfalls, gas, and coal) are quite far from consuming centers. For the economical transport of these huge energy amounts, very high voltages are needed to avoid exaggerated diameters of conductors without large energy losses due to their heating. This need justifies the

use of transformers which will be presented below. It happens when a low resistance connection between the poles of an electronic or electric device let an excess current go through it. Electric steel mills electrical systems normally comprise a primary system which supplies power from the electrical distribution

network and a secondary system that reduces the voltage and transfers the power to the furnace. The primary system corresponds to the high voltage circuit. This circuit may comprise


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a general


whose function is to reduce voltage and increase current to adequate in the mill (transformers for

values to the furnace transformer or other transformers

control instruments, for example). This first transformer reduces the high voltage of the distribution network to a standard level for each country. In Brazil, transmission operate with 11.4 to 13.8 KV or 23 kV between phases for commercial systems. lines

and home

For large industrial consumers, the transmission network supplies of electrical

energy in the range of 138 to 230 kV, as in the case of steel mills that use electric arc furnaces. This voltage supply level presents lower cost and higher reliability. In the first transformer, normally located in substations, voltage is reduced to the 33 kV range. The switch breaker is used when easy visualization insulation is needed in the circuit. This device is used to interrupt the circuit without load. The circuit breaker protects the distribution network, insulating it in the event of overload, interrupting the current several times a day when a short-circuit between the electrodes and the charge at the start of the melting process. In relation to the switch breaker, the circuit breaker allows to interrupt and reconnect a circuit under load. These short-circuits may cause currents


twice the nominal load for few seconds. Thus, although the power supply circuit for electric arc furnaces is similar to any other industrial power supply circuit the need to execute a high number of operations in the furnace's transformer differentiates it. The vacuum type operational breaker is more suitable to stand the successive

switching inherent to the operation of the furnace. Thus, the function of the oil-type breaker is limited to make the protection against short-circuits and the on-off operations with or without load are made by the vacuum-type switch breaker. The secondary system or Circuit, corresponding to a low voltage circuit comprises a second transformer, current conductor flexible cables mounted over the arms and claws of the electrodes. A series of voltage combinations (50 to 1,000 V) and high currents (20 to 300 kA) are obtained through the use of the furnace transformer according to the needs of the steelmaking process. The transformer power can vary from 500 to 10 ,000 \ kVA, depending

.-. ~-

on the furnace capacity. T

of the transformer

directly influences the melting time of the charge. The transformer primary coil is built

with a certain number of derivations to allow obtaining different secondary voltages


(taps) through

a commutator,


inside the transformer


box. The operator

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changes the power for the furnace operation through commutation

of the tap. The

change of the tap in the transformer is done through the commutating system under load, what allows this change to be effected with the furnace operating, minimizing idle time, increasing productivity, and reducing specific energy consumption. As reference datum, it is generally possible to to melt 1 tlh of steel for each MVA of nominal power of the furnace. It should be observed that the furnace's components must be strong enough to conduct the high currents without overheating, in a way that energy dissipation concentrates in the electric arc. The flexible cables are made of copper tubing coated with rubber for insulation, and




provided with an internal water circulation system for cooling. To reduce energy losses, the length of the flexible cabling must be only enough to allow for the tilting of the furnace and roof movement. In the case of AC furnaces, current arrives by one phase (electrode) and returns by the other two (other electrodes). In this thriphase system, the charge acts as ground for the electrical circuit.


A, J

The electric arc is formed through the passage of a large amount of electric current between two points, the electrode and metallic charge, subject to a high difference of potential (voltage). This arc may be considered as flexible and can move horizontal or vertically, allowing its control. It is estimated that the energy released from an electric


arc is around 23,000 kcal/h/crn'' of arc volume. The energy concentration in the extreme points of the electric arc (anode and cathode) is very high. It is determined that for a distance of only 0.001 mm the voltage drop in the arc, near the cathode is 10 V, meaning that there is a very high voltage gradient, provoking a strong emission of electrons which ionizes the atmosphere plasma that forms the arc. The magnetic field created by the passage of electric current promotes the agitation of the hot metal, contributing to temperature and chemical composition homogenization, also preventing overheating of the molten steel. However, the interaction of magnetic fields created by each electrode causes the deformation of the electric arcs, because of the repulsion between fields, as shown in figure 4.2, causing an alteration electrodes' wear profile. in the around the electrode, thus generating the




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electrode ~

Eletrodo ~

electric arc

Areo eletrico





..,.,...:;:"'~! ~~,. escort

hot metal




Carga mstahca ou ago Hquido


/-, Figure 4.2 - Schematics of the alteration in the electric arcs profiles due to interaction between electric/magnetic fields in a thriphase AC furnace and the consequent alteration of the wear profile: (a) only one electrode in a DC furnace and (b) deformation of the arc in an AC electric furnace. r<

Figure 4.3 shows schematics of 5 energy supply methods which may be used in the design and operation of an electric furnace. As illustration of the functioning of the

system, some output electrical parameters are considered for the situation presented in figure 4.3: - supplier distribution network voltage

138 kV.

- main transformer (substation) voltage - furnace transformer voltage

= 34.5


= 0.7

kV or 700 V.








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Basic supply with two transformers

Separate regulating transformer

Regulation in the main transformer

Regulation in the furnace transformer

Regulation in the tertiary with only one transformer

Energy supply distribution network

Main transformer (substation)




switch breaker


circuit breaker

vacuum-type breaker switch

---, .'""'




furnace transformer

flexible cables

change of tension without load

(tap) change of tension (tap) with load

Figure 4.3 - Schematics of the five energy supply methods for EAFs.



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During the melting of the metallic charge, the electric arc is subjected

to intense

variations of current and voltages, generating instabilities in the arc such as alterations in the length. These alterations cause voltage fluctuations scintillation. This random variation, named flicker or voltage

repetitive or sporadic, from the efficient voltage

value can propagate to the feeding circuit till reaching the low voltage users, which are fed by practically constant voltages. Unfortunately, these fluctuations frequency

coincides with the frequency of light fluctuations which is detected by the human eye (approximately 1 t015 Hz) causing a discomfort to home consumers. The main electrical characteristics furnace are presented below. Impedance (Z) corresponds to the AC flow total opposition in an electric circuit. The impedance value of a circuit corresponds to the rate between voltage (V) and the to establish the control methodology of an electric

current (Ie) in a circuit and can be calculatedby the following equation:

Z= VjleZ

Equivalent resistance (Re) corresponds the the sum of the useful or arc resistance (Ru) and the passive or losses resistance (Rp) i.e.:
Re Ru+Rp

Inductance corresponds to the property of an electric circuit to oppose to the change of direction of AC due to the magnetic field that is created in a conductor when electric current flows. Capacitance is the property of an electric circuit to store energy and to opposed to any voltage variation. Equivalent resistance (Xe) is calculated by the sum of inductive resistance (XL) and capacitive resistance (Xc) to the alternating current flow, that is: Ampere (A) - measuring unit for electric current in the International System; it corresponds to a constant current flowing through two straight parallel conductors, of infinite length and negligible cross-section, placed in vacuum and one meter apart, producing a force between them of 2x1 0-7 N / m (0.0000002 newtons per meter).



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Volt (V) - measuring unit for electrical potential difference in the International System defined as the potential difference between two points in a conductor where a constant electrical current of one ampere is passing when the energy dissipated between the two points is equal


to 1 watt. Watt ( W ) - measuring unit of electrical or mechanical energy, thermal flow or irradiation energy flow, equivalent to an energy transfer of 1 joule per second or to the energy produced by a current of 1 ampere through a potential difference of 1 volt:

The electrical quantity named power expresses the electrical energy quantity that is transferred in a certain period of time. This quantity can be measured in watts, (Wi for active power), VA (volt-ampere) for apparent power and VAR (reactive volt-ampere) for reactive power. Apparent power (Pa) corresponds to the electrical power measured in the supply

network or in the circuit of the furnace primary transformer,

meaning the power that

enters the system. The apparent power is directly related to the voltage (V) and the intensity of the current that circulates calculated by the following equations: in the line. Thus, apparent power may be

Pa== V -Ie


Active power (Pw) corresponds to the absorbed average power of the supply network, as function of the current and voltage variations in a certain period of time. The active power (Pw) may be measured in the transformer's secondary circuit in watts (W), by

relating it with the apparent power according to the following equations:

Pw == Pa . cas


Pw= Re - Je2

Effective power (Pu) corresponds to the power used in the furnace and transformed in effective heat, measured in watts (w), which is also named arc power and is calculated by the following equations:




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Pu :::Ru - lif


Pu= Pw- Pp

Passive power (Pp), also named losses power, corresponds to the power lost in the furnace's secondary circuit due the equipment's own resistance and is determined by the following equations:
Pp "'"Rp . /e2

" /' '"'




Pw- Pu

Reactive power (Pr) occurs due to the effects of inductive and reactive reactance corresponding to a certain quantity of power created in the circuit and given back to the distribution network. Although this power exists in the circuit, it does not produce heat or light, but requires a certain current circulating in the circuit. Reactive power is

determined by the following equations:

Pr= Pa - Pu

The phase difference between current and voltage in the circuit is represented by cos of the q>angle named power factor. This phase difference occurs due to the effects of

inductive and capacitive resistances. The power factor is a variable of great importance, because it serves as regulating parameter for the furnace. The following equation may be used to determine the power factor:

= (Pwl Pa)

To represent the rate between active, apparent and reactive power, the vector diagram may be used, as presented in Fig. 4.4


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cas o ~ cas 45:



Figure 4.4 - Vector diagram representing the rate between active, apparent and reactive power and the power factor.

Electric yield corresponds to the proportion of the power that is effectively transformed in effective heat in the furnace in relation to the power absorbed by the supply line. Electrical yield will be reduced by the increase of losses in the circuit. This yield may be calculated by the following equations:


1] ==

1 Rp



Considering that passive resistance (Rp) is constant in the furnace, electrical yield will be higher if the useful resistance or arc resistance (Ru) is smaller. In principle, the most simple and straightforward method to increase the power of

furnaces would be to increase the voltage in the secondary of the furnace's transformer. However, the increase in the length of the arc resulting from this, coupled with the bias in the arc, would cause an excessive wear in the refractory lining, mainly in furnaces without cooling panels. This phenomenon is more severe at the end of melting, when the liquid steel is formed, exposing the walls to the electric arc, mainly when foaming slag is not used. To illustrate the ratio between refractory wear index (fR) and the electrical variables, the following equation might be used:


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[Varc/e (Varc- at)]

Varc = voltage in the arc (V);

Ot= voltage drop from anode to catode;

PU= active or arc power (in MW);

d = the distance between the face of the electrode and the wall, in cm; te

= the

intensity of the electric current.

For a three electrode furnace the arc voltage may be calculated through the following equation:


= Pu/(3 . Ie)

The determination of the arc length is important to calculate the height of the slag layer needed to cover the electric arc, thus reducing the refractory wear due to the heat irradiation from the arc. Considering that Earc means voltage drop in the arc normally expressed in V/Cm, the arc length (Larc) is determined by the following equation: Larc

= (Varc -

Ot); Earc

In the case of AC furnaces it might be considered that the voltage in the arc varies with the arc length, being independent of the current. The electrode's regulating system actuates to maintain a certain distance between the tip of the electrodes and the

charge, aiming to maintain the electric arc and absorbed power as constant as possible. The regulating system also actuates to reduce the electrode wear and to prevent its breakage, besides reducing the refractory wear, energy consumption and flicker effects. The electrodes regulating system comprises sensors for the measurement of the

electrical characteristic (current and/or voltage, impedance) selected as control variable, instruments to amplify the signals measured for these quantities and the elements (hydraulic or mechanical) that move the electrodes vertically. The place where the



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electrical quantities are measured varies from company to company according to the characteristics of the equipment (technological state-of-the-art, interference between the electrical/electronic instruments, etc) , the experience of the technical people in the


company, among other things. The electrodes regulating system allow the control of the power of the arc by changing



the voltage supplied by the furnace transformer, through the commutating switch, and by varying the distance of the electrodes to the charge. This way, for the same voltage of the transformer's tap, the closer the electrode is to the charge (low arc) the higher the arc current and the lower the Voltage.





upon its function in the process, we list the various categories

used to

classify the inputs and raw materials: - Metallic charge - Industrial gasses - Fluxes and/or cooling agents - Ferroalloys or noble alloys - Deoxidants - Complemental additions (recarburizing agents, steel heating, thermal and/or chemical

insulation, inclusion absorbants, dessulfurizing agents, gasses removal, etc.). Due to its importance, comments will be made about the individual characteristics of the metallic charge (Figure 5.1) for electric furnaces. This metallic charge can comprise the following materials: - steel scrap - pig iron scrap




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- cast iron scrap - pre-reduced products (sponge iron, HBI or RDI briquettes) - molten pig iron

- steelmaking operations residues briquettes. The proportion between the various types of metallic charges depends upon the

combination of a series of factors, among which the most important are: - availability and prices of the raw materials; - grade of steel to be produced; - raw materials chemical composition including its variation for different batches; - scrap impurities content; - steelmaking charges; - practice adopted by the company to preserve the equipments' refractory lining. In the case of electrical steel mills, it is worth noting that, if we evaluate data relating to the use of metallic raw materials in the last decades and forecasts for the next years, we could see that the generation of scrap will not be enough to comply with the demand of this material, encouraging the use of pig iron and pre-reduced materials. In the case of electrical steel mills, the use of solid pig iron is common in Brazil equipment/process limitations to operate with certain kinds of metallic

(around 32% against less than 5% as world average). The use of pre-reduced materials (sponge iron), if considered as absolute values, only correspond to less than 5% of the world demand of metallic raw materials in the steelmaking industry (around 45 Mt), but it is growing at a rate around 10% above the demand for other metallic raw materials. The use of molten pig iron by electrical steel mills happens when the mill has a blast furnace or may acquire the product from other pig iron producers located relatively near (maximum 30 km). In this case, the molten pig iron is transported by rail or road in

ladles designed to minimize the heat loss and to offer more safety in the case of bumps.

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By using molten pig iron there is a transfer of latent and sensible heat to the solid charge. The main advantages of these options are time reduction and electric energy savings. Solid pig iron is commonly supplied shaped as "bricks" or in granulated form, if the product is obtained in irregular shape from recovery of molten pig iron spilled by the tilting of torpedo-cars load in yards. It may also be recovered from dregs from pig iron manufacturing granulometry. and which has similar composition to the pig iron, but with reduced

Even in solid state, the use of pig iron has the advantage of having a Also, its higher apparent

lower melting point, speeding up the melting of the charge.

density, reduces the volume of the charge, allowing in some cases for bigger charge and shorter loading time (fewer loads).

Figure 5.1 - Examples of metallic raw materials used in steel manufacturing scrap, and sponge iron.

in EAF: solid pig iron, steel

The same as in molten pig iron, carbon contents is higher than the one in steel scrap, and may generate an additional energy due to the reactions of CO-C02 formation. It should be observed that pig iron is a Fe-C alloy produced in blast furnaces or reducing

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melting furnaces and is, in certain cases named first fusion iron. This should be indicated to make a distinction in relation to the use of cast iron scrap (engine blocks, foundry channels, grills, ingot dies, pipes, rolling rolls) because in this case some materials, needed to supply the desired mechanical properties, might have been added to the cast parts. Thus, the adequate segregation of these materials shall be done in the scrap yard. Besides those, cast iron parts, shavings from the machining of cast iron parts may also be used. The pig iron should have adequate physical-chemical characteristics with the smallest

variation to allow a regular operation under the most productive conditions. A great variation in chemical composition or in the pig iron temperature may cause an erratic operation, because the charge models are normally restricted to small variables

intervals. A sudden variation has more disastrous effects, considering that the furnace operator, that normally takes the previous heat as reference, would tend to adopt a charge composition not in accordance with the needs . .') The seel scrap may be classified according to the following criteria: - origin (internal or external generation); - origin (from processing or obsolescence); - chemical composition and high alloy); - impurities contents (clean and impure); - preparation (non prepared, pressed, briquetted, sheared, fragmented, broken, cut and recovered); -physical characteristics: Uight, medium and heavy). dimensions (free and dimensioned) and apparent density (common non-alloy, special non-alloy, ressulfurized non-alloy,

Scrap preparation for loading in primary refining furnaces involve steps as inspection, separation by type, cutting and compacting and loading of the scrap in baskets (drums) to be loaded in the furnace (Figure 5.2). In the case of using briquettes, this material can be loaded through silos, avoiding the use of scrap chutes. 52


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Ideal practice recommends

working with completely

dry scrap to avoid explosions

during the loading of pig iron in the solid charge. For the preparation of the solid charge, one of the most important items is the availability of scrap in the yard. The ideal

procedure is to mix a charge that conforms to the operational, metallurgical, safety and cost requirements. Pre-reduced products, generically named here as sponge iron, are manufactured

through iron ore direct reduction using natural gas, coal or coke fines as fuels/reducing agents by methods as the well known HyL and Midrex processes. The products of these processes may be HBI (hot briquetted iron), DRI (direct reduction iron) and HDRI (hot direction reduction iron). However, several other technologies using natural gas or coke as reducing agents to obtain metallic iron are under research and development. Pre-

reduced products present the advantage of making foaming slag due to the presence of carbon and iron oxide. As previously shown, scrap may be preheated till 3000 and may reach 8000, depending on the above mentioned equipment aiming to reduce melting time and save electrical energy. In some cases, scrap should be cut to avoid low apparent density scrap to be very oxidized during the heating step (which may increase later manganese and carbon consumption in the furnace). On the other hand, high apparent density scrap can

overheat the bottom of non-lined baskets. The scrap preparation step and the cost of extra fuels, that is the ones which are not a result of the steelmaking process, should be taken into account when deciding to install a raw material preheating system. In relation to energy consumption, thin and wide scraps, as bars and strips pieces, may weld together during the heating step inside the furnace, taking longer to move to the hot metal. High density parts, as ingots and continuous casting area cuts take longer to dissolve, thus increasing energy consumption and the time needed for steelmaking.

Steel scrap ideal apparent density for some mills is within the range of 0.6 to 0.9 t/rn". Traditionally it is considered that the quality of steel produced in EAF is restricted by the residual elements content such as Cu, P, Ni and Sn present in the scrap loaded in the furnace and also by the presence of Nand H gasses also present in this scrap or

inco rpo rated durin9 stee I prepa ration;-..!.!I n..J---'ti.LJh.. e'-+'p"-lre""--.!..:re:::..:d:!:u~c~e~d~D:..R~1 ...:u:s:e:.:., ~~osp h 0 rus is present as oxide and is absorbed in the slag in the electric arc process., Conversely, the





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phosphorus contained in the pig iron is absorbed by the molten steel. Even in small contents these elements present the risk of drastically reducing the mechanical

properties of steels. However, the constant improvement of the equipment and process control of electrical steelmaking and the use of metallic raw materials based on pre-

reduced iron ore, allows these components to be diluted, allowing a significant increase in the chemical control of the steel. In the case of using baskets for the loading of scrap or other additions in the elecric arc furnaces, a very important aspect is stratification (placement in superimposing layers)

of the charge in the baskets. The correct implementation

of this step directly influences of the Scrap Yard

productivity of electric arc furnaces and is under the responsibility unit. Adequate stratification is the one that distributes

the charge in a way that it

combines the variables: densities of the scrap types used, volume of baskets and the electric arc furnace. Tables combining these variables with the operational practice are assembled and used. It is important to stress that, according to the mechanical design and kind of opening of the different existent baskets, these tables vary a lot from mill to mill. For example, clamshell (jaws) type baskets, all scrap placed in the bottom tends to dislocate to the furnace walls during opening. Baskets of orange peel design present a less distorted distribution in the furnace. Generally, the main points to be considered in the stratification of a charge are: - High density scraps and large dimensions basket; - Dense scrap should be pevented from falling near the slag door, because this will hinder and retard oxygen injection; - Packages or great volume scrap should not be placed in the furnace or basket upper part, because they may dislocate and break the electrodes; - Returns from the rolling mill in coil shape should be used with care because they may cause "spring" effect when opening the baskets and to provoke "high charges"; - Steel shops working with lime in the baskets should avoid placing lime at the bottom,

should be placed at the bottom of the


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because it may cause an undesirable effect of elevation of the hearth level; it should also be avoided to place lime with shavings, because it creates a mass of hard melting, with high probability of adherence to the walls or of boiling when remaining at the furnace bottom. - Baskets should be closed with scrap that allows the easy entrance of the electrodes,

aiming to protect the roof or the inner lining.


We can summarize the precautions to be taken during the preparation of the metallic charge for the electric furnace in: - To keep a constant weight in each charge so as not to overload a certain charge to



compensate bias in another charge, aiming to avoid alterations in the energy or mass

balances; - To match the metallic charge composition requirements produced; - To compose the metallic charge to obtain lower cost, matching the steel chemical requirements demanded, market availability and cost of raw materials and stability during the steel production, due to the fact that 80% of the production cost for electric furnaces is in the metallic charge. of the steel chemical and the charge components and additions to the


to the steel to be



The kind of equipment, raw materials and steel produced, the quantity produced, the integration with secondary refining units, ladle metallurgy and casting, the experience and skill of the operation and supervision personnel, the safety and environment

protection rules, constitute the wider range of variables which make the steel producing methods in EAF so diverse, with peculiarities inherent to each company. To illustrate,

one can consider that the various methods to produce steel in EAF, may be made distinct according to the following situations: - processes that use only solid charges or processes with the addition of a determinate

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quantity of molten pig iron; - processes with a high proportion of sponge iron charging or processes without or with low quantity of sponge iron in the raw materials; - processes with one or with two slags; - processes aiming to make carbon or low alloy steels or processes aiming to make stainless steel; - processes using low and medium power furnaces and processes that use UHP

furnaces (ultra high power); - processes that finish the steel preparation in the electric arc furnace and processes that just melt the scrap in the furnace, completing the chemical composition,

temperature and cleanliness of the steel adjustments in the secondary refining units. However, to make the steel preparation in EAF study easier, one can consider that these methods normally comprise the following steps: a -= Loading of the metallic charge and fluxing agents; b =Melting and sampling (optional); c = Refining; d = Slag removal and sampling (optional); e = Tapping and sampling; These steps are schematically shown in Figure 6.1 and will be analyzed in detail in this chapter. This analysis considers that the making of steel in EAF should comply. to a higher or lesser extent, with the following objectives: -To get through the above listed steps, observing and complying with the safety rules required for the personnel direct or indirectly involved, for the equipment, besides the environmental rules and requirements; the rules and requirements that may be

demanded by governmental

agencies, by the company's own clients or the company

itself; these rules may be extended to previous or later steps from the ones listed above, as for example, scrap inspection and waste disposal (slag, sludge, etc).



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-To prepare the steel to comply with the chemical composition requirements, quantity of inclusions (cleanliness), quantity of slag in the ladle and temperature in order to

reduce rework in ladle metallurgy or in secondary refining avoiding time losses, costs increase, additional testing and inspections, decrease in production or even refusal of the heat due to composition errors, dimensional variations or internal or external defects in cast products which may be originated from the refining operations. -To comply with the prevous items demands at the lowest possible cost. -To operate the process in a way to reduce the wear of the furnace refractory lining, thus reducing the frequency and length of downtime, increasing productivity and cost reduction, coupled with adequate operational safety.

Figurg 6.1 Schematics of the EAF steelmaking process (a) loading of the charge and fluxing agents (b) start of melting (c) end of melting, (d) refining, (e) slag removal and sampling and (n tapping.



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= Loading of Metallic Charge and Fluxing Agents

After refractory inspection, of the cooling panels and electrodes, reapairs are made, electrodes are suspended to allow the furnace opening and to avoid damage resulting from big pieces of scrap. The tapping chute and work door are points that demand the most frequent maintenance on refractories. The tapping hole may be filled with sand or refractory mixture. In most furnaces the loading of the metallic charge (steel scrap, solid pig iron, sponge iron, etc) is made through the upper part of the furnace and small additions through the side doors. Traditionally, charging is done with containers, also named baskets or drums, with a bottom opening through articulate segments. Charging can be made in several steps, comprising 1 to 4 previously filled baskets, depending on the furnace capacity, basket capacity and apparent density of the raw materials. Continuous charging systems for heated or non-heated materials may also be used. Notwithstanding the limitations

arising from the high investment costs, the use of these methods are growing in recent years, mainly in recently installed furnaces. Main reasons for this option are:


of energy, tap-to-tap shorter cycles and reduction of operational costs,

mainly due to the non-opening of the furnace, which may be responsible for an energy loss between 10 to 20 kWh/t. Figure 6.2 shows images of the scrap charging step. Aiming to avoid premature wear of the lining, lighter scrap should be placed in the bottom of the basket to cushion the impact during the fall of heavier scrap. The kind of scrap used influences the time needed for melting. Finer and lighter scrap demands the use of less power at the melting start, resulting in a longer period for this step to avoid excessive electrodes consumption. If the scrap is thick and heavy, packing can occur

during melting, causing short-circuits long enough to extinguish the electric arc and stop the operation or even break the electrode. The placing of light scrap at the basket bottom (or in the first basket in the case of various charges) also eases the formation of a layer of molten metal over the hearth, protecting it against the direct action of the electric arc. The heavy scrap should be placed in the intermediate position to avoid packing. It should also be avoided that the heavy scrap is placed near the burners, if the furnace is equipped with these devices, to avoid formation of black spots, which will prevent heat radiation from the burners' flame to



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the rest of the charge. A new layer of medium and light scrap shall be added to cover the previous layer making the eletrodes penetration easier in the beginning of the next melting step. The contact of the electrodes with the non-conducting materials shall be avoided as they cause the interruption of the electrci arc or the break of the electrode. These materials should be eliminated in the slag preparation step.



--,-.. .--.

Fluxing agents (lime, fluorite) and some ferroalloys (iron-nickel, iron-molibdenium) be charged by the following methods: - together with the metallic charge in the basket; - through silos and addition chutes in the furnace roof; - through the slag removal door. When using baskets, additions are placed into the midst of the charge avoiding the upper part, not to hinder the start of operations, due to arc insulation or adherence to the hearth, in case it remains in the bottom. Electrodes pieces should be placed may


,-., ,......,

'""\ ,......."

between the heavy and light slag. In the case of a molten pig iron charge, the addition may be made after the solid charge. Figure 6.3 shows molten pig iron charge.

,......., ,......, ,......,




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Figur~ 6.3 Examples of loading molten pig iron in an EAF. (courtesy of (a) SMS-Demag (b-e) 8elgo Siderurgia S.A).


= Melting or Fusion

After the closing of the roof, the furnace circuit breaker is turned on; transformer

energized and electric current flows through the flexible cables up to the electrodes tips. Electrodes are lowered until their tips almost touch the metallic charge. From the electrodes tips, electric current jumps to nearest charge part forming the electric arc. The intense heat generated by the arc is transmitted to the solid charge, making its melting. If the average carbon content of the charge is high the melting is carried out in such a way that carbon content at the end of this step can be reduced to 0.30% during the next oxidation step (refining). Melting is started with a medium voltage and high current to generate a relatively short arc, thus avoiding an intense heat irradiation to the roof, thanks to high level of scrap after charging. At the start of melting the arc is unstable, with variations in the current and Voltage. The electrodes are frequently moved by rising or lowering of the

supporting columns to try to compensate this instability by controlling the arc length aiming to obtain constant impedance (Figure 6.4).



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Figur~ 6.4 - (a) images of the melting step; (b) loading of the scrap basket after melting..Qf the first charge; (c) burners operating to help melting; (d) sampling; (courtesy of (a) Voest-Alpine Industria Uda, (d) SMSDEMAG Uda, (b) Danielli do Brasil Uda).

After the electrodes penetration in the charge, larger holes are formed in the charge, even bigger than the diameter of the electrodes. Joining of these holes may occur, reducing the possibility of breakage due to the movement of the slag charge. This melting strategy is highly efficient melting the charge from the inside out. Voltage may be increased to use the transformer's full capacity and to reduce steelmaking time,

because the non-molten slag acts as a shield to the heat irradiated by the electric arc. Voltage may be reduced when the electrodes are near the hearth, so the puddles formed around the arc spread out. If the slag charge is ill-distributed, with low density or caging, quick melting can occur, risking the integrity of the furnace hearth. After formation of a higher volume of hot metal, the electrodes are raised again and the / maximum voltage is applied. As the charge melts, it accommodates within the furnace, so at the end of melting, the electric arc is irradiating heat to the side walls and roof, recommending the lowering of the voltage at the end of the melting step. Another option is to promote the formation of a foaming slag, which involves the arc, reducing the intense heat radiation transfer to the side walls and roof. This procedure also allows retaining a great amount of energy in the slag which is later transferred to the hot metal, resulting in higher energetic efficiency. The formation of a foaming slag presents the additional advantage of reducing the voltage and current fluctuation and noise pollution


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produced by the arc. Another advantage quantity of CO generated

of the foaming slag practice is the great

in the EAF. This CO may react according to the post-

combustion reaction generating energy to the furnace:

A typical example of power and temperature shown below in Figure 6.5.

!'.__ '-_ . "c'Cc:!~ArlQ tu . idlrr!l e ~,r-~ a J:"!11l rMI,J~ira ItttJ(;fia$lio ::., ca'or D!lr2 a sol!!lra

during the melting stage in an EAF is


CllfIMQEm!!I'lID 0r Spl)"voos ()g \ fE<ralllrlO ~ , 4.'<11.1 ;;I' ;n"J~ \

\ 'II





:~.: :

,, ,, , , ,

, ,

Figure 6.5 - typical example of power and temperature during the melting stage in an EAF.

C - Refining In the refining stage, operations aiming to the reduction of P, S, C, Si and Mn contents are performed. Chemical reactions associated with the reduction of these elements depend on the existing oxygen contents, the hot metal homogenization, the interaction of the metal with the slag and the temperature variation within the molten metal. These reactions will be shown in a later section of this chapter. From the above mentioned elements, only S is not removed by oxidation. Oxygen may be supplied by lances or nozzles at the end of melting to form oxides that will float and constitute the slag. If a certain quantity of slag is retained in the furnace after tapping the previous heat, oxygen blowing may be started still in the melting step allowing the refining reactions to start in this step. In several companies this refining stage is known as boiling. Phosphorus and sulphur normally should be reduced to smaller values than the ones present in the initial charge. Unfortunately, the conditions necessary for the reduction of

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one are unfavorable to the decrease of the other. Although, the de-phosphorizing reaction is an oxidation reaction, oxygen injection must be done in a controlled way to avoid a sudden temperature efficiency, the increase which will hinder the reaction. To increase its should be done as soon as possible, when


temperature is not very high. Electrical voltage can also be reduced in this stage to avoid an increase in temperature. One operation that may be performed in the refining is the partial removing of slag containing phosphorus oxide (P205) through slightly tilting the furnace to allow the flow, which can be helped by the introduction of skimmers. This operation is done when the temperature is relatively low and increases the efficiency of phosphorus removal. However, it should be considered if the slag remaining in the furnace or to be formed will be enough to obtain enough slag height to cover the electric arc during slag foaming. By foaming, the slag thickness increases from around 100 mm to 300 mm. A larger quantity of lime may be introduced even using pneumatic lances, for fixation of phosphorus oxide by the calcium in the slag, avoiding its reversal to the hot metal at


higher temperatures. this inconvenient. De-phosforization

Some mills add coolers to the furnace, such as iron ore to avoid

is improved if lime is added at room temperature. The quantity of lime

should be limited so as not to increase the melting point of the slag, increasing its viscosity, hindering its removal and interaction with the hot metal needed to make the later de-phosphorizing and dessulphurizing. Fluorite may be added to increase the slag A low FeO

fluidity, as well as inert gasses to increase the interaction slag/metal.

contents in the slag also favors the reversal of phosphorus to the metallic bath, meaning that de-oxidation of the slag occurred and its fluidity lessened. The phosphorus

partition in the slag and hot metal (%P in the slag / %P in the steel) is within the range of 5 to 15. Normally, phosphorus contents may be reduced by 20 to 50% in the EAF. Desulphurizing conditions are not good in EAF, mainly with the more recent practices of injecting oxygen in the hot metal, thus previous desulphurizing of the charge is

recommended, in the case of liquid metallic charges, to ensure an adequate selection of the scrap, or desulphurizing in the tapping by the addition of calcium aluminates. This

operation is being done nowadays, at a later stage in the secondary refining.


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The chemical elements Mn, Si, AI and others preferably react with oxygen or FeO, instead of carbon, resulting in the recovery of Fe in the hot metal.

The reaction of carbon with oxygen to form CO is fundamental for the slag foaming operation, besides supplying extra energy to heat the hot metal, which may represent 30 to 40% of this energy. CO bubbles are trapped in a basic slag that is around the electric arc, increasing thermal efficiency and allowing operation at high voltages even after reaching the complete melting of the metallic charge. An additional advantage of slag foaming is to reduce the speed of escaping gasses which would drag particulates to the dust collection system, causing overload and

decreasing the metallic yield. The reaction of carbon with FeO also contributes to the foaming and to the reversal of Fe to the hot metal. Foaming of slag can also avoid exposition of the nitrogen gas to the arc, which would cause its decomposition interst in controlling and incorporation in the liquid steel. Currently, there is also an N contents. CO bubbles also actuate by removing these


gasses from the hot metal. Bottom tapping in EBT furnaces tend to generate a lesser amount of gasses due to less exposure of the metallic stream. A higher oxidation also reduces incorporation of N. The duration of the initial refining stage, also called oxidation available oxygen flow, carbon contents, and the temperature depends upon the

at which this stage is

made, besides P and Si contents in the raw materials. It may also be necessary to add carbon, in case its contents are below a certain value hindering oxidation that heats the metal and generates slag foaming. This addition may be done by adding pig iron (with the inconvenience of cooling the metal), dipping the electrodes in the metal to cause or

partial dissolution of the same (affecting arc stability and increasing consumption)

injection of powdered graphite. Carbon injection also helps to reverse the Fe in the FeO in the slag to the metal.

D - Slag Removal and Sampling

Slag removal is important when it is wanted to avoid re-phosphorization of the steel, to

increase the yield of alloy elements and to reduce the passage of slag to the ladles. In the case of common steels the furnace volume taken by slag is around 5%. In the case


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....... """'

of special steels this volume can reach 15%. The use of sponge iron also increases the generation of slag. The slag removal in this stage is done through the slight tilting of the furnace to allow


the floating slag to gravity flow aided or not by skimmers introduced in the furnace. The operation must be made quickly to avoid drop of temperature and gasses absorption by

the hot metal exposed surface (Figure 6.7). ,....., When the slag foaming practice is intensively used part of this slag may overflow

through the side door and it is advisable to always have a slag pot ready. A new sampling can be done to be sent to the chemical analysis lab or for direct carbon content determination. If necessary, new additions may be made to correct

carbon content. The number of samples taken depends on the steel mill practice, the frequency of preparation of certain steel compositions, the reliability of the chemical

composition and the yield of the metallic charge and additions. In mills with secondary refining stations before casting, final sampling may be done in the ladle, after tapping. If the chemical composition of the steel demands Ni and Mo elements they may be added at this time, due to its low oxidation. A new slag, called de-oxidation slag can be formed by adding lime, limestone and fluorite. The oxidation degree of the liquid steel and slag are very important control items in a steel mill, because excessive oxidation may cause the following problems: - Reduction of liquid steel yield. - High consumption of alloys by the need of de-oxidizing alloys (aluminium, silicon, etc.) or loss of yield of the alloys added to correct chemical composition (Fe-Mn, Fe-Cr, etc) due to their reaction with oxygen. - Increase in the number of inclusions in the steel.

- Increase of refractory wear. -Tendency to generate projections du ring tapping or transport of the steel. On the other side, if the liquid steel presents a very low level of oxygen, the operations of

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heating or carbon reduction in the refining stage may be retarded due to the need of additional oxygen. To accurately determine the oxygen content dissolved in the metal before tapping, electrochemical measurement cells may be used. These instruments, in are immersed in the hot metal and directly supply

the same ways as the thermocouples,

the contents of dissolved and free oxygen in the steel. Total oxygen contents, meaning the oxygen contained in FeO, MgO and AI203 added to the free oxygen dissolved in the form of O2, is determined in the chemical lab. In steel mills that do not have instruments to measure oxygen content, it may be evaluated through some parameters. The first one is the carbon content in the refining last stage. Through thermodynamical theory we

know that there is a balance between carbon and oxygen contents. This value of dissolved oxygen varies during refining. Although this balance is not reached at the end of blowing when manufacturing steel in an EAF, the carbon content can be a good

measurement of the heat oxidation level. To increase the evaluation temperature of the oxidation level, the Mn content and molten steel

may be added to the carbon content. As Mn content rises, there is a

decrease of oxygen dissolved, the same happening for lower temperatures. The last parameter for this evaluation is the content of iron in the slag. Although these values are not highly correlated, it is known that higher iron content in the slag (% FeO) corresponds to higher dissolved oxygen contents. The chemical composition and temperature correction at the end of the refining stage is affected by the operational conditions, which control the formation of slag and the and deof

unfolding of the refining process, decisively

influencing the de-sulphurizing process

phosphorizing reactions, thus affecting the oxidation degree. The


refining the simplest steels is the one used by the process controller, personal experience, visual observation of the process

relying on its being the

and sampling,

samples evaluated in the operational area by simple testing (sparks, breakage, color, etc.) to determine the end of the refining process.




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Figure 6.7 - Sampling operation during steelmaking in an EAF.

E - Steel Tapping The tapping of molten steel to the ladle may be started after checking if the result of the sample sent to the lab, complies with the desired chemical composition and

temperature values. In other mills, tapping is done without this final analysis, because the analysis is made in the ladle, and corrections are done later during the secondary refining. To tap with minimum slag contamination, 20% may be left in the furnace to

guarantee that the slag line is always above the tapping hole, in the case of tapping through side tapping chute. In furnaces equipped with tapping hole/sliding gate in the side of the furnace, only 10% may be retained. These numbers may change as a result of technological updating of the equipment in the mill (the use of slag detection systems, for example) or employee's skill and experience or even the operational practice

adopted to protect the refractory lining or later stages of secondary refining. Besides the benefits mentioned earlier, the reduction of the slag passage also allows

the reduction of additions such as lime, synthetic slag based on Ca, AI or F to modify the slag characteristics and guarantee, for example, an efficient desulphurization. Some

elements, aiming to modify the slag in the ladle may be added, or even new slag named synthetic slag, to guarantee an efficient de-sulphurization or the protection of the surface of the hot metal aiming to reduce the heat loss or the incorporation of gasses in the atmosphere . ......... During tapping, the operations objectives: known as ladle metallurgy start with the following

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- refining the chemical composition; - refining the de-oxidation degree; - setting of temperature; - modification of the slag in the ladle; - removal of excesss lag; - removal of inclusions; - modification in the morphology of some inclusion types; - steel decarburization (in low scale); For such, the following methods are used: - addition of recarburizing materials, ferroalloys and pure metals; - addition of de-oxidizing materials in the ladle; - addition of strip scrap or immersion of scrapped semi-finished materials; - injection of inert gas; - ladle tilting by overhead crane or devices installed in the ladle car aided by skimmers; From the energetic point of view, the use of the EAF could be restricted to the melting of the charge only, and the refining stage done in the ladle metallurgy or secondary refining. This way, the furnace cycle would be reduced in the phase where the charge is already in the liquid state, which is of lower thermal yield, due to higher radiation heat transfer to the walls, representing a loss of energy. The oxidation of the electrode surface would also be reduced. If water-cooled panels are used in the walls and roof, ultra-high power (UHP) may be used with higher voltages resulting in longer arcs and higher power factors, reducing the specific consumption of energy, refractory and ~

electrodes and bringing higher productivity. It is essential that the yields of the alloys are the most stable possible and contain the smallest amount of impurities. The addition of these metals is made by chutes manually

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fed with previously weighed materials or by chutes connected to silos equipped with hoppers and scales remote controlled from the control rooms. In other cases, additions may be done manually. The moisture control of these materials is important, to avoid explosions or projections due to the formation of water steam. The adittion of synthetic slag, lime, limestone in the ladle bottom before tapping is not recommented because a crust of solidified steel may form over it at the start of tapping, entrapping these

materials. This crust may prevent the escape of gasses formed due to the reactions caused by the heating of these materials, causing a localized increase of pressure which may cause explosions and/or projections. For the same reason the moisture of the refractory must be controlled and the ladle inspected before tapping to ensure it does not contain any undesirable material. The yield of ferroalloys and de-oxidizing agents vary due to a series of factors, mainly the oxidation of the hot metal and the quantity of slag reaching the ladle. The efficient operation of the electric furnace implies in a constant rate regarding oxygen in the steel and in the minimum amount of slag going to the ladle. The addition of a recarburizing agent is needed due to the fact that, in some cases an excessive reduction of carbon contents takes place, because an excessive amount of extra oxygen is injected aiming to increase the oxidation of the heat, to ensure high dephosphorization of the steel. The agent used is normally ground coke. Its addition

should be made during tapping but after its de-oxidation to prevent a high generation of CO which would cause a violent foaming of the slag, projections carbon absorption. A slight agitation may benefit the homogenization and reduction of of the metal. If the

coke is added at the end of tapping it will tend to float in the metal, due to its low density, not being incorporated in the steel, increasing foaming and the possibility of overflow and projections. The time for the addition of ferroalloys, metals (copper) and de-oxidizing agents is very important; they should not be added before tapping because they may adhere to the bottom of the ladle and not melt, especially if any skull is formed. When added at the end of tapping, it can remain in the slag or make the steel non-homogeneous. A normal

addition must be made between 20 to 60% of tapping time. In some mills, movement of the ladle car is used to ease the dissolution of added materials, so that the steel stream helps to spread the material which is floating in the metal. There are two ways to add


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ferroalloys to the ladle. The first aims to get a more uniform alloy yield, in this case the addition is first made with the most deoxidizing elements (AI for example) followed by the less deoxidizing elements (Fe-Mri for example). This will allow a better yield for the materials added at the end, when the hot metal is almost deoxidized, making it easier to reach more strict chemical composition ranges. It should be noted that during tapping, its exposition to atmosphere increases, so absorption of gases present in the air (N, H and 0) may occur. The higher the tapping time the higher the absorption will be, for a given quantity of steel, because the diameter of the stream is reduced, thus increasing its contact with the atmosphere. Conversely, in the second way the less deoxidizing materials are added first. This

practice aims to maintain the agitation in the metal for a longer time, allowing inclusions already formed to float or the formation of liquid inclusions. Granulometry of ferroalloys is very important for its yield. If it is too fine, it may adhere to the slag floating over metal. If it is too coarse its complete melting may not occur, migrating to the slag in the same condition. Very heavy copper or ferroalloy pieces may also damage the refractory lining of the ladle. In some cases it is necessary that, after addition of alloys and end of tapping, inert gas injection, normally argon, through the bottom of the ladle using porous refractory pieces which are permeable (porous plug) or through lances (metallic tubes lined with refractory) inserted from the ladle top and positioned at the bottom, the gas escaping by its tip (Figure 6.10). This gas injection is important to promote the chemical composition and temperature of the inclusions. In the injection of argon or nitrogen to promote chemical composition and temperature homogenization, one should consider the effect that these elements, in the cooling of the steel. injected at or homogenization and to accelerate the flotation

below room temperature,

The heat exchange between

molten steel and the gas promotes the heating of this gas and together with the higher steel exposure to atmosphere due to the effect of turbulence (which also cause the

tearing of the slag layer due to gas bubbles escaping to air), promotes the cooling of the steel. Nitrogen cools more than argon because it has more sensible heat. The intensity of the gas injection must be studied to find a value conforming to the steelshop needs, considering that a low intensity favors the flotation of inclusions, improving the steel cleanliness, while a high injection rate contributes to the homogenization of the metallic


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bath. The addition of strip scrap may be needed to cool the heat if it is at higher temperature simultaneously than the one needed for tapping. This addition may be made

with the inert gas to accelerate

the temperature


Another way used to cool a heat is to hang a piece of a scrapped semi-finished product (billet, block, or slab) and immersing it in the heat, while dissolving it decreases the temperature. New temperature measurements and sampling for chemistry analysis of the heat or the slag may be done after finishing determination the ladle metallurgy. The

of the slag chemistry can also be made from samples taken during

tapping, using devices coupled to the floating plug insertion system. After tapping and


ladle metallurgy some steel mills place a cover over the ladle, aiming to increase safety and minimizing heat loss (Figure 6.10). Regarding some activities concerning ladle

metallurgy related to the control of the deoxidation level of the steel some important remarks may be made. According to the quantity of dissolved oxygen and the

macrostructure formed, steels can be classified as effervescent, capped, killed, semikilled and estabilized. Steelmaking process makes the steel highly oxidized due to the high oxygen injection rate.



Figure 6.10 - Schematics of the ladle metallurgy and tapping from EAF with two distinct ways of inert gas injection.

Steel deoxidation, also called killing, may be done through the addition of deoxidizing agents (AI, AI and Fe-Si or Fe-Si-Mn) in the ladle containing molten steel, producing killed steel. If conventional casting is used to solidify the steel, the produced ingot will be characterized by the formation of a void caused by contraction

in the top part,

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responsible for 2 to 3% of the ingot volume, causing 10 to 15% of the blank to be discarded during rolling to obtain a defect-free product.

7 - ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE THERMAL BALANCE The production cost data of steel produced in EAF presented in Table 7.1 indicate the following basic distribution of average relative costs in a research made at several Europeans steel mills.
Table 7.1 - Distribution of production cost for an EAF.

Cost item Raw materials Enerav Electrodes Refractorv Labor

% 60 to 80 9 to19 4 to16 1.4 to 1.6 2 to 2.5

These data if an lysed historically show a reduction of the influence of refractory and electrodes cost and an increase in the influence of energy costs. These data should be taken only as reference since raw materials prices are subject to economical factors and demand, and may significantly change this distribution. As energy costs are also subject to variations due to crisis and even climate factors, several efforts have been done to reduce energy consumption and/or the use of alternative energy sources. The quantity of energy needed to produce one ton of steel depends upon the type of metallic charge, the kind of product, desired final temperature, slag quantity and type, besides several other factors. If the furnace is ill-operated, with long downtimes or refining times, the energy consumption per ton will also be high. In theory, to heat or melt the steel scrap it is nececessary 300kWh per ton of steel produced. To reach the overheating supplied, increasing theoretical needed for tapping, additional energy must be to 350 to 370 kWh per ton of steel


produced. Considering that the energy efficiency of an EAF ranges from 55 to 65%, the total energy to be supplied is between 560 and 680 kWh. Part of this energy is


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produced by chemical ways, through oxygen injection, but the main portion is supplied ~ by the electrical arc. Specific energy consumption highly depends on the kind of charge. Furnaces using prereduced charges as sponge iron must supply the energy to heat, melt and overheat steel, besides supplying additional energy to reduce iron ore, whose contents may vary from 5 to 10% in pre-reduced materials. The energy needed to reduce one ton of iron oxide is very high, and for this reason the specific energy consumption in a furnace

operating with a charge of pre-reduced materials may be 50 to 100 kWh higher than for one operating with 100% scrap. Despite this inconvenience, furnaces that operate with a high percentage of pre-reduced materials currently achieve high productivity levels

due the foaming slag which allows high power per ton levels to be used and low idle time, mainly when one considers almost continuous loading of the metallic raw material. In the thermal balance of an EAF, the heat produced by the chemical reactions

inherent to the burning of electrodes and the heat contained in the charge (pre-heated or molten charge) must be considered. Table 7.2 shows the thermal balance for two distinct situations: an ultrahigh power (UHP) EAF and a low to medium power.
Ultra High Power Low to medium

Furnace (UHP) Electric energy Energy supplied Burners Chemical Reactions Total Steel Slag Consumed Energy Cooling Water Burnt gases Other losses 8-10% 17 - 28% 1 -3% 50- 60% 5-10% 30- 40% 100% 55 - 60% 8-10%

power Furnace 75- 85%

15 - 25% 100% 50-55% 8-12% 5-6% 7-10% 17 - 30%

Table 7.2 Thermal balance for distinct situations: UHP EAF and low to medium power EAF.



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Cost and availability of the energy to be used in a furnace vary from region to region. The technological state-of-the-art of the equipment used and charge composition are

also factors to be considered steelmaking.

in the decisions

of energetic sources to be used in for several fuels and charge

Table 7.3 shows the energy equivalents

composition which may be used in EAF. In this table the oxygen gas quantity for the stoichiometric combustion of the fuels are presented.
Tabela 7.3 - List of energy equivalent typical of several fuels or metallic raw-materials which can be used in EAF.

O2 supplied by lances oxydizing Fe, and Si of scrap lances Natural gas by burners Propane gas (LPG) Fuel oil Pig iron Direct Reduction Iron (DRI) or carbon

Energy Equivalent (kWh)

c. Mn

+ 5.2 kWh per Nm3 of O2


+ 10.5 by Nm3 of gas (with 2 Nm3 of O2) + 8.0 kWh per liter (with 1.5 Nm3 of O2) + 11 kWh per liter (with 2.0 Nm3 of O2) + 1.1 per each 1% of scrap replaced
- 1.0 kWh per each 1% of steel scap replaced

Molten pig iron (1150 - 1350)

+ 4.5 kWh per each 1% of steel scrap


Pre-heated DRI

+ 30 kWh/t by cold DRI replaced

Non-metallic or non-ferrous materials in scrap can vary from organic compounds (oils, greases, plastics and wood which are exothermal and are eliminated as gases to endothermal materials such as oxides (Fe304), water or concrete. The complete reduction till 1% of Fe304,may consume around 13 kWh. The water present in the scrap evaporates and lowers the furnace temperature to approximately 1,ooooe which is


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equivalent to 6 kWh/t per each 1% of water. This situation is more critical in countries where the scrap may contain snow or ice, which can increase consumption in a range of 30 kWh/t. The addition of fluxing agents for the formation of slag (lime and dolomite) has a strong influence in the energy consumption level. An increase of 1% is equivalent to 16 kWh of additional energy consumption. Normally, the amount of additives introduced in the furnace for the formation of slag is in the 26 to 45 kg/t (operating with 100% of scrap) which is equivalent to 42 to 72 kWh/t additional consumption. According to a research made by Adams et al (2004) the use of systems for pre-heating the metallic charge allow a reduction in energy consumption around 30 to 50 kWh/t.


Refining is the most complex phase in steelmaking due to the many variables interfering in the process.

In the equations representing chemical reactions presented in this text, the following symbols are used: < > - solid, ( )g - gas, { } - liquid, ( ) - slag, [ ] dissolved in the metallic phase. Other authors choose to use other symbols: solute in the metallic phase and without a symbol for the gas. Thus, the reaction below:
(FeO) + [C]

CO + [Fe]


(FeO) + C

CO + Fe

may be interpreted as: iron monoxide dissolved in the slag reacts with carbon dissolved in the hot metal to form carbon monoxide, which is released to the atmosphere as gas and the Fe dissolved in the hot metal. One of the most important aspects of the refining reactions for steelmaking in an EAF is the partial oxidation of carbon, manganese,

silicon, phosphorus and other elements in the pig iron or in the steel scrap. The slag formed over the hot metal has an important rule in the process. The formation of basic slag, besides neutralizing the acid oxides (mainly silica) should also protect the refractory lining, lessening the reactivity of its components, accelerating the refining reactions, and allowing the stabilization of sulphur and phosphorus in the slag. Other elements

contained in the scrap charge, such as alloy elements Cr, V, Ti, Pb, Sn, etc will be oxidized and be absorbed by the slag, depending on its affinity by oxygen. To help in the analysis of the chemical reactions inherent to steelmaking, chemical elements may

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be separated in four groups according to their behavior during the refining reactions in the EAF: Elements incorporated to the slag: Ca, Mg, Si, AI, Zr, Ti, B. b) Elements divided between steel and slag: C, Mn, P, S, Cr, Nb, V. c) Elements incorporated in steel: Cu, Ni, Sn, Sb, Mo, Co, As, W. d) Elements that vaporize and are released as gases: Zn, Cd, Pb. The behavior of the carbon chemical element is of utmost importance and will be

discussed separately. As basic principle for the understanding of the chemical reactions in a certain process, we should consider that among many possible reactions, the one that will happen temperature. is the one that will present the least free energy for a given

In Figure 9.1, an Ellingham diagram is presented with approximate data

of free energy for the formation of some oxides as a result of the temperature, for a temperature range of interest to the refining the steels presented in Table 9.1. The preferable combination of chemical elements with oxygen, instead of the formation of sulphides or nitrites, can also be explained by the smaller free energy needed for the oxidation reactions in the temperature range at which the refining normally occurs.

Some data about this phenomenon is shown in Table 9.1. The free energy data for the formation of oxides presented in Figure 9.1 allow the classification of oxides present in the EAF environment in stable and non-stable (unstable) according to its tendency to formation or decomposition. The tendency to decomposition free energy of non-stable oxides is range and

related to the relatively high formation

in the temperature

oxidation levels inherent to the EAF steelmaking

process, when compared with the

stable oxides that present a lower formation free energy. Thus, the oxides Si02, FeO, MnO, P205, Cu20 and Cr203 may be considered non-stable, with a tendency to reversing their formation reactions, generating again the elements when stable oxide elements are present in the furnace, such as: CaO, Zr02 , AI203 , TiO, MgO and CO. The remark made in previous paragraph is of utmost importance and value in the ladles and the both in primary

selection of the refractory to be used in the lining of the furnaces, composition of the slags used in the several steps of steelmaking,


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refining, ladle metallurgy and secondary refining.


Figure 7.4 - Ellingham diagram

The oxygen needed by the refining reactions is mainly supplied to the metal in gaseous form through the lances. However, if ores and scale are added these materials

contribute to a small quantity of oxygen, due to the presence of oxides or moisture. The reactions not only occur between the gaseous oxygen and the hot metal. As it may be


observed in Figure 8.1, slag plays a very important role in the supply of oxygen to the hot metal, especially emulsion is formed. After the melting of scrap or at the beginning of the process if using a great quantity of molten pig iron, the main reactions in the refining step are the ones of oxidation of Fe, Si and P and lime being transformed into slag. Oxygen is made available for the reactions in the form of gas - symbol ( ) or ( }g - or dissolved in the metal - symbol [ ] - through in the refining intermediate stage when the metal-gas-slag


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the following chemical reaction:


The reactions of oxidation of silicon generate heat and the molten silica combines with the slagging agents (lime or dolomite) added from the beginning by the following reactions: - at the point of fire

(i1 )

- in the hot metal

[Si] + 2[0]




+ 2(FeO)



+ 2{Fe}


- in the metal-slag interface - in the slag

. (i4)

As the refining step progresses an emulsion slag-metal is formed and other components are oxidized. Silica content in the slag increase as Si is absorbed, as well as CaO content, through the reaction of lime with Si02 and FeO. Iron is oxidized in this phase and iron content in slag reach high values. During this phase, an emulsion with metallic particles and slag is formed, which will have an important role in the refining reaction. The iron oxidation reactions are: - at the point of fire


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[Fe] + Y2 (Od




- in the slag/02 gas stream interface


[Fe] + (CO)g<lS

no <'190

H (FeO) + (CO)gas

(f4 )

- in the slag/metal interface


- in the slag (emulsion, but in the interface metal droplets and slag)


For manganese the following reactions occur: - in the hot metal


+ (FeO)




The first manganese


reaction occurs only at the start of blowing when

manganese content is high and temperature is low. During most of the time, the second

reaction predominates. As slag is formed and the Si and Mn contents of the hot metal decrease, the decarburization reaction speed increases until reaching a maximum value. From this moment on, FeO and MnO in the slag are reduced originating an increase of Mn in the metal.



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The reactions of carbon with oxygen are responsible

for decarburization,


formation, heating of hot metal, among other phenomena inherent to the process. Some of the oxygen-carbon below: - in the interface [MnJ + [0] (MnO) (m1 ) possible reactions that may be present in the EAF are listed

[CI + V2(Ozl


(ci) (c2) (c3)

[C] + (C02)gas (C02)~



[OJ + (CO)gas

- in the hot metal

[e] + [OJ

(CO)gas no aeo

(c4) (c5)

(CO)sgo + [0]


- in the slag (emulsion metal - slag gas)


(Fe203) ~

(C02)a~ + 2(FeO)


(CO)gaS + (FeO)

(COZ)gas + {Fe}

- in the slag (emulsion, but in the interface metal droplets and slag)


[e) + (FeO) ~ (CO)3fQ + [Fe] - at the point of fire - in the region of the O2 stream, post-combustion of CO to CO2. (c11 )






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It may be noticed that due to decarburization reactions bubbles are formed (reactions d, c2 and c4) which promote a circulatory movement in the metal, renewing the interface exposed to the oxygen stream. Besides, the intense generation of CO within the slagmetal emulsion, arising from the decarburization of the metallic particles (reactions c10 and c 11) causes the slag foaming and the formation of the gas-metal-slag emulsion. After the melting of scrap, the hot metal temperature increases almost uniformly

during the whole refining stage. However, it should be noticed that, even with normal operating conditions, its temperature dispersion, in the initial stages will present a very accented oscillations and the composition of the

due to the natural temperature

metallic charge, composition of the pig iron and the scrap dissolution kinetics. In the end of blowing this dispersion may noticeably decrease due to additions and measures

taken to control temperature.

The oxidation of silicon, the decarburization

and iron

oxidation are highly exothermal reactions, i.e., as they happen the temperature rises. To prevent that at the end of the blowing the hot metal overheats beyond the limits estimated in the blowing calculations it is necessary to control the electrical parameters (current, power) of the arc and in some cases, to add cooling materials. The

information about the slag temperature during refining is very scarce. It is known that in the initial minutes of blowing, it reaches 300C above the hot metal temperature. dissolution of fluxing agents and increase of hot metal temperature, the By slag

temperature is around 50C above that of the metal. Dephosphorization 2[P] + 5 (FeO) is started by the following chemical reaction: +( P205) (p1)

= 5[Fe]

Reaction p1 is highly exothermal. So, it tends to occur at the start of the refining process

when the low temperature and high FeO contents conditions in the slag favors the P

oxidation reaction, which continues during the whole first step by the reaction: (p2) If we extrapolate the Ellingham diagram lines in figure 9.2 corresponding to oxidation of P and C (CO formation) it would be possible to observe that the oxidation of P is preferential to the oxidation of C for temperatures approximately below 780C. Reaction p2 is predominant in the refining sequence, when the Fe content in the slag decreases

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and temperature

rises. The formed phosphorus


is not stable in process .

~ ~ ~

conditions, causing the reverse reaction (reversible above 1,600C. (p3)

reaction) mainly in temperatures

This will make the reaction to be interrupted or even reversed, with the increase content in the metal (rephosphoration or phosphorus

...--., ...--., ~ ~

reversion); for this reason the

formed oxide should be fixed in the slag through the addition of lime and associating this operation with slag removal. The fixation of phosphorus by calcium oxide in the form of calcium phosphate may be represented by the following reactions:

This is one of the reasons for lime, at room temperature, to be added together with the metallic charge in the last loadings, mainly in the case of charges with a higher content of carbon or in the case of carbon injection for the formation of foaming slag. Consequently, during refining, it is very important to create ideal conditions for


This is achieved actuating directly on the slag/metal

interface by

higher agitation, which combined with the burning of C, forcing the migration of P from the steel to the slag being formed. To increase a greater fluidity of the slag, needed to should be reduced

increase its reactivity with the hot metal, its melting temperature

what may be done through the addition of fluorite (CaF2). The addition of iron ore could also be benefitial because it increases the oxidation of the metal and accelerates lime dissolution. In the final phase of refining, the temperature the increase of oxidation in the slag creates favorable is higher and combined with conditions to phosphorus

removal, which continue at high rates. Phosphorus contents at the end of refining will depend, for a given set of operational conditions, upon the chemical composition of the charge, the Fe contents in the slag, the lime consumption, slag. Thermodynamical dephosphorization analysis of phosphorus oxidation reaction allows to conclude that and the temperature of the

during refining in the EAF is favored by:

- the high oxygen potential of the system.


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- the low temperature. - the slag rich in CaO (35% to 40% recommended), with low P20s activity. It is also observed that the presence of highly oxidizable elements at the end of the refining period (Cr and Mn, for example) may hinder the dephosphorizing process. So it

is of utmost importance that the slag formed in the melting step and the first stages of the refining process be removed from the furnace, preventing the reversal of

phosphorus to the metal and allowing the effective dephosphorization

of the steel. In

terms of furnace design, the installation of devices that reduce the passage of slag to the ladle, also contribute to prevent phosphorus reversion. Among these we may

mention: the use of a tapping hole in the furnace's hearth (EBT furnace), the use of a sliding gate in the tapping hole, submerged tapping hole in tapping chutes or tapping cut in liquid steer. If the silica content in the slag is high, it favors its reaction with the calcium phosphate forming calcium silicate and returning phosphorus oxide to the metal.


The desulphurization

reactions in the EAF are now discussed.

There are three important steps which should be followed to obtain low sulphur content: - the use of desulphurized pig iron combined with an adequate scrap selection - desulphurization - dessulphurization in the primary refining furnaces and in the second refining.

Since the atmosphere inside the electric arc furnace is normally oxidizing, the reaction to make sulphides is highly hindered. Consequently, one should look for a charge where this element is present in the lowest content possible, considering that this process is not favored in EAF. In these three steps, the desulphurization reactions occur in the

basis of the slag with lime dissolution for well deoxidized hot metal and slag.
(s 1) 83


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This reaction is higly endothermal

and needs high temperature to happen from left to


right. It is also important an optimal contact between the iron sulphide dissolved in the iron with the lime in the slag which is supplied by strong agitation in the slag/metal interface, such as the one that occurs during decarburization inert gases in furnaces equipped with such devices. Thus, desulphurization evolution is linked to the evolution of the dissolution of lime. Generally, it only happens most effectively in the final refining step, when the slag by gaseous phase can also or through the injection of

~ ~ . _

basicity increases. It should be noted that desulphurization

be responsible for a small decrease of the sulphur. In this case, the reactions governing the desulphurization consider in the gaseous phase are not perfectly defined, so one must

mainly the ones of oxidation of the sulphur in the metal and slag (again

considering well deoxidized hot metal and slag).


In the refining stage, the movement of the sulphur to the slag is only processed in a noticeable increases way at the end of blowing when the acceleration basicity to adequate the limedissolution of the lime dissolution

levels. For this reason, a higher addition of fluorite, might be beneficial to desulphurization. Other



reactions may occur in the storage ladle and liquid steel transport, after

the addition of materials, normally done during tapping, to deoxidize steel (AI or Si) or to recarburize the hot metal (ground coke or graphite).These reactions are:
3[S} 2[5]
+ +

3(CaO) + 2[AI} H 3(CaS) 2(CaO) + 2[Si}



(S4) (s5)

2(CaS) + (Si02)

2(CaO) +

[el + 3[S1-4

3(CaS) + 2(CO)gas

Reaction s3 is more efficient than reaction s4. The addition of materials aiming to modify the slag (deoxidizing agents, CaO suppliers, or compounds to increase slag

fluidity) or the addition of a new slag to the ladle also can favor desulphurization. Considering steelmaking in EAF, the slag may be considered as a homogeneous liquid bath comprising one or more chemical compounds of various oxides, which separates from the metallic phase by being insoluble and have smaller density. This slag may


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perform one or more of the following functions: - to absorb and incorporate undesirable elements of the hot metal; - to control oxygen from atmosphere supply to the metal; - to act as a reservoir for oxidizing substances; - to allow the variation of the activity (reactivity) of the oxidizing agent; - to act as a physical insulation material preventing the transfer of atmospheric gases to the hot metal (mainly in the steel ladle). - to reduce metal projection during oxygen injection. - to protect the converter's refractory lining (after the end of the refining). One of the main objectives of refining in the EAF is the formation of a reactive and CaO rich slag to avoid the excessive attack to the refractory lining and to accelerate the desulphurization and dephosphorization reactions, being the last the most difficult to be

achieved due to the oxidizing atmosphere inside the converter during blowing. In the case of slags it is important to know the viscosity not only due to the free flow problem in the electric furnace, but also because the viscosity is related to the speed of the reactions. The (kinetics) speed of chemical reactions is directly influenced by the diffusion of the reactants. This diffusion speed depends upon the viscosity of the slag. Slags, even the most fluid ones, are ordinarily 15 to 50 times more viscous than the hot metal. Thus, it is evident that the viscosity importance, reactions. of slags is a kinetic factor of great of the and the

although this physical property is not related to the equilibrium Of great practical importance is the relation between viscosity

refractory attack by slags, the lower the viscosity the easier the slag penetration in the refractory lining cracks. The slag viscosity is influenced by temperature and chemical composition. In the balancing of a charge, one tries to get the slag with adequate

viscosity for the temperature or operation stage of the furnace, not very high to cause difficulties in tapping or interaction with the liquid metal and not very low to avoid

refractory attack. Iso-viscosity ternary diagrams are available in books related to this subject. They are triangular diagrams showing iso-viscosity

lines, according to the


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chemical composition of the slag. The viscosity of a liquid is directly related with the dimensions of the ionic or mollecular structural units and it might be expected that the viscosity of a liquid slag increases if the complexity increases, which is the case when basicity decreases. Silica (Si02) is

constituted by long ionic chains (Si04) resulting in higher viscosity. The presence of CaO allows breaking these long chains through the formation of Ca+2 e 0-2 ions making the slag more fluid; MgO does the same. The presence of fluor ions (supplied by the addition of fluorite CaF2) also reduces viscosity because this element does the same as oxygen ions by breaking the sequence of long Si04 chains. The presence of solid

particles in the slag also increases viscosity. The notion of slag basicity is totally empirical and arbitrary. The notion acid and base stems from the observation that silica rich slags attack dolomitic refractories while MgO and Cao rich slags attack silicon refractories. This fundamental base in physic-chemistry bears no relation with the accurate notion of acid and

of aqueous solutions. It is an arbitrary notion (related to the

presence of oxygen ions in the slag) but useful in metallurgy. The basicity index value, as defined above, is related to the behavior of the slags in the following cases: - Refractory attack by slags: the basicity is an index that allows qualitative judgement about a slag being appropriate or not for use with a certain refractory; - Viscosity of the slags: there is a relation between the viscosity basicity: - Oephosphorization and desulphurization: it is a proven fact that basic slags are of a slag and its

essential for these operations during refining: Traditionally, oxides forming the slags are classified as acid, basic or amphoteric (acid or base depending on the environment). There is another classification: basic (CaO, MgO),

weak bases (MnO, FeO), weak acids (Ab03) and acids. A basic oxide is an oxide with weak oxygen attraction, which in a liquid bath has a tendency to release its oxygen ions. Conversely, an acid oxide is that whose central atom presents a strong oxygen In the case ofthe

attraction and captures the oxygen anions released by the bases.

metallic charge of an EAF containing a high content of pig iron, it might be observed that in the initial stages of pig iron refining to produce steel, the slag is prominently


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

constituted of fayalite Fe2Si04and tephroite Mn2Si04. With the dissolution of lime, thanks to lower oxygen attraction of Cao in relation to FeO and MnO, lime dislocates these oxides forming calcium orthosilicate Ca2Si04 . The control of the formation of the foaming slag layer is fundamental in the steel refining in EAFs. The presence of FeO in the slag exerts reasonable influence in the thickness of the foaming slag layer, because the

higher the FeO content the higher the CO gas generation through the following reaction:
(C) + (FeO)

(CO)gas+ [Fe]

(C12) (c13)

(C) + 1f2(Od ~ (CO)gas

Carbon is injected in the slag as coke. But, starting from a certain value of FeO (for example, around 20% for a relation

CaO/Si02 equal to 1.0 in the slag) this influence is negative.









~ ArcelorMittal

Point Lises Limited





'" '"


" " " " "

" ,...--..,



Point Lisas Limited














Point Lisas Limited












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ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

After the prepration of steel in the primary melting furnace, the continuity of the steel preparation process with the inherent adjustment of the chemical metallurgy composition, or secondary

temperature and cleanliness, can occur through secondary refining.

Figure 1.1 shows a flowchart of the steel refining stage to illustrate the position

f the secondary refining processes in the steel mills.

hot-metal transfer car with pig iron


Thermg~lectric Casting of Parts Molten pieces


converter Ifurnaces ,Gases


Lamination Forging


Fluxing agenst

Sponge iron

eletric furnace

l=~~~~M~,~"th./'!"~"~".rI'.}'~"'~"'_'iOiiii ...

Block Billet


Slag (co-product)


Primary Refining Processes

Figure 1.1 - Schematic flowchart of the steel refining stage in steel mills

The main objectives

of the secondary refining stage are:

- Reduction in steel preparation time aiming to increase production and productivity and

reduce costs in steelmaking.


- Greater operational flexibility or melting furnace synchronism control until steel casting. - Liquid steel temperature control, usually through heating.


- Adjustment of the steel chemical composition: - reduction in carbon content to very low levels (ultra-low carbon content,

i.e.%C<O.005) through vacuum treatment; - reduction in sulphur or phosphorus content in steels;


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

- introduction of alloy elements that oxide in the case of special steels preparation in oxygen converters or in electric arc furnaces; -complete mixture of additions; - precise addition of alloy elements aiming at high efficiency of raw materials and compliance with narrow tolerance ranges of these elements; - addition of synthetic preparation; - removal of gases from the steel. slag or different slag types during the special steels

- Increase in the steel cleanliness degree by: - stirring the bath through gas bubbling to homogenize chemical composition and temperature; - changing the composition and inclusion shapes aiming at its removal from the liquid steel or control of its effects in the solid steel. To meet the goals listed above, equipment and procedures were developed fitting into four basic classes: Ladle furnace Chemical heating Vacuum degassing Recasting of solidified parts The complexity of the implementation of operational synchronism between the primary refining furnaces and the continuous casting along with the necessity of heating the steel according to company's facilities and production program were the main factors that led to the appearance of secondary refining treatment stations with chemical

heating or the ladle furnace (using electricity as the main energy source).

These stations work as the lung of the steelmaking, allowing primary refining furnaces



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to tap heats as soon as they are ready making possible to operate with long heat. sequences even if the operating cycle of the continuous casting machines is lower than that of the primary refining furnaces. Thus, it is possible to keep the synchronism in the steelmaking, even in situations in which the necessary time to cast certain steel laddie is lower than the time required to prepare and transport this steel to the CCM.

Metallurgic requirements caused the development

of the vacuum degassing

processes. Besides that, the oxygen blow devices in this equipment allow the reduction of the decarburation operational cycles in primary refining, minimizing costs in

converters or in electric ovens. The most disseminated methods to achieve with greater or lesser intensity the

objectives presented above are listed in Table 1.1.

Another method that can be mentioned is the mechanical agitation of steel through propellers. This method can be used to achieve the same objectives of the inert gases injection. The methods mentioned in the previous table may be associated with a

number of other practices performed during the casting of steel from the primary furnace, in the tundishs and moulds of continuous casting and in the control

(composition, removal, etc.) of process slag. Table 1.1 shows a list of the most common procedures for steel secondary refining. It is

observed that some of the names used are known commercial names. However, other processes that employ the same principles supplied by other manufacturers found in the market. Further ahead in the study of the secondary refining processes, the main features of some of the procedures listed in Table 1.1 will be presented and discussed. This are also

presentation follows the classification proposed before, namely: chemical heating, ladle furnace, vacuum degassing and recasting of solidified parts.

The fundamentals of the techniques presented in Table 1.1 will be later analyzed.


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited Table 1.1 - List of the best known techniques to the completion of secondary refining and their respective basic objectives. Method Inert gases injection Objectives Chemical composition homogenization. Flotation of inclusions Dissolution of the additions Eletromagnetic agitators Chemical composition homogenization. Flotation of inclusions Dissolution of the additions Pratice with synthetic slag Capture/incorporation Desulphurization Dephosphorization, bath avoiding Protection of metallic absorption of gases from the atmosphere and reducing the heat loss Addition of alloy elements Adjustment of chemical composition Deoxidation Pneumatic injection of pulverized composites (CaO, CaSi, CaC2, etc.). Ca Modification of the inclusions morphology. Desulphurization Injection of wire filled with Ca composites Vacuum treatment Electric arch heating Modification of the inclusions morphology H, Nand C removal Heat heating of inclusions and temperature and temperature

Chemical heating with the addition of AI or Heat heating Si and Mn Progressive remelting of solidified parts Inclusions removal Micro and macrostructure solidified parts. alterations of


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited ABBREVIATIONS CAS SAB USED: Adjustment by Sealed Argon Bubbling Process

= Composition = Sealed

Argon Bubbling Process Adjustment by Sealed Argon Bubbling and Oxygen Blowing


= Composition

= Capped

Argon Bubbling Process - Advanced Ladle Treatment


= Heating =

Injection Refining - Up Temperature Station

= Ladle Treatment

= Ladle

= Dortmund-Herder =


Ruhrstahl and Heraeus or RD

Recirculation Degasser


= Recirculation

Degasser with Oxygen Blow

RH-KTB or RH-TOP = Ruhrstahl and Heraeus with Kawasaki Top Blowing VD

= Vacuum

Degassing Oxygen Decarburization Arc Degassing


= Vacuum = Vacuum

AOD = Argon Oxygen Decarburization ESR VAR ASM CHS

= Electro

Slag Refining Arc Remelting

= Vacuum = Argon

Secondary Metallurgy Heating Station

= Chemicai


ArcelorMittal VIM VID CHS

Point Lisas Limited Induction Melting Induction Degassing Heating Station

= Vacuum = Vacuum

= Chemical


The chemical heating occurs because of the reactions:
Nm10, per
TemperstL~H~ increase {"C) per


of steel/kg of added

Chemical Reaction

ton of chemical element

0.623 0 .. 800

Considering only the heat released by the chemical reaction

C,-",,:>, , "S the energy consumption to heat added material


31.6 7.5



The great difference

between the most used chemical

heating processes

in steel

industries, also known as CHS (Chemical Heating Stations), is in the type of bubling used (lance or plug) and in the type of refractory (snorkel) employed to insulate the metal surface from the floating slag.

The most used processes to make the chemical heating are the IR-UT, the CAS-OB and the H-AL T. On the other hand, if there is an excess of AI Si, especially AI, there is a tendency to form inclusions (alumina or silica) during the steel casting, when there is contact of the liquid steel with the atmosphere or with non-stable oxides in the slag, in the refractories or in other additions. These inclusions, besides harming the mechanical properties of the solidified steel, also cause the obstruction of the supply channels (long and submerged tubes, slide valves or cap) of liquid steel from the ladle to the ingot mold, causing the interruption of the liquid steel flow or loss of control of this flow. The inclusions can also cause the disruption or perforation of the shell (breakout). The use of a protective argon atmosphere around the liquid steel jet is one of the resources used to reduce the risk of inclusion formation. There can also be added materials aiming at the transformation of inclusions in liquid additions to float more easily or at least not to

obstruct the passage of the liquid steel.



Point Lisas Limited

A complete IR-UT (Injection Refining - Up Temperature) secondary refining station combines chemical heating, fine tuning of chemical composition, bubbling of inert gas through lances, wire injection and deep powder injection. Thus, the station basically fulfils the functions of making a thermal and chemical adjustment in the liquid steel, providing an appropriate synchronism between the primary refining furnace and the

continuous casting, besides allowing a faster flotation of the inclusions present in the liquid steel and its absorption by the slag.


A feature of the IR-UT is the use of an open top snorkel, as opposed to the CAS-OB or H-ALT, which use a bell top (closed top). Adjustments of chemical composition and

temperature are conducted under the snorkel, with a minor contact with the slag.

The main components of a typicallR-UT station, as shown in Figure 2.1, are: - snorkel: refractory bricks with a lifting system aiming to ensure a slag free region in the steel surface (inside the snorkel), where all additions are performed; - submerged lance for metallic bath agitation: refractory brick lance with multiple holes for the injection of argon or nitrogen; - lances for deep powder injection: refractory concrete lance with, usually, 2 holes and

injection line independent of the homogeneity line; - consumable lance for blowing oxygen on the steel surface composed of two concentric steel tubes and lined with refractory bricks with an internal tube for oxygen blow and and external for nitrogen cooling; - alloys addition system composed of silos and scale car; - temperature measurement and sample collection system: automatic equipment that

ensures constant

depth using as reference the measurement of the metallic bath level

taken by the snorkel at the begining of the treatment. It consists of a sampling lance, i.e. a threaded tube to atach the sampler cartridges to collect the sample and a temperature lance to measure the temperature and the soluble aluminum content in the steel using a sensor to measure free oxygen content; the sampling can also be done by manually


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited operated lances if the automatic system is unavailable. - devices to add strip scrap for cooling: uses a silo for direct addition of scrap in the ladle containing the liquid steel using the vibration effect; - wire injection machine: two strands, capable of simultaneous injection of wires; - pressurized tank: composed of tanks for powder storage and the tank for injection. - exhaust system with skirt and powder collector tube - inert gas lance heater: aims to heat the reserve inert gas bubbling lance to minimize thermal shock and cracks during the immersion bath. As examples of gases used for heating we can mention the coke oven gas (COG) and the natural gas (NG). Figure 2.1 shows images of an IR-UT secondary refining process. or alternate automatic


ArcelorMittol Point Lisas Limited

Ground Silos

Wire injection
t !

/,FeMnFeSl AI FeTI
Strip Scrap




Aerial Silos for raw materials

... I-I--ot--

Air, N2 or Powder Lance





Refractory Brick (snorkel)

~~:d=1tU:;;::~:r--:F::umes captation system



-, ....,


Figure 2.1 - Schematic representation of an IR-UT secondary refining station.

/ )

The heating in the IR-UT process is based on the exothermal chemical reaction of aluminum and/or silicon with oxygen. The treatment is divided into 3 stages. In the first one, the liquid steel is agitated with the argon bubbling to homogenize the chemical composition. After that, the aluminum is added and the second stage occurs when the temperature is increased as a result of oxygen blow through refractory lance on the bath surface inside the snorkel. At the final stage, the liquid steel is agitated with argon to give cleanliness to the steel.


As already mentioned above, one of the main features of the IR-UT process is the use ~f an open top snorkel as opposed to the CAS-OB or H-AL T, which use a bell top top). The use of this type of slag insulator in the IR-UT process is justified by the



ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited following factors: - the wires filled with calcium alloys or aluminum wires can be injected into the snorkel without penetrating the slag surface. - the operational conditions inside the snorkel related to the blow of oxygen, the bubling of inert gases, the melting of alloys and erosion of the refractory can be easily found during the treatment. - the slag breaker, necessary in the CAS-OS or H-AL T processes for temperature measurement and sample collection can be eliminated. - the measurement of the free edge is eliminated. - the internal reconditioning of the snorkel is easier. For average increase of 20C in the IR-UT process, one typical aluminum consumption data is of 1 kg/t of steel. The maximum heating has been limited to 60C, but in exceptional circumstances, such as a break in the continuous casting sequence, it may happen that some heats keep waiting for its restart and then the need to heat up to 100C. In this case the heating should be done in two stages to avoid overheating problems and, consequently, the crooking of the argon bubbling lance. In the preparation of a heat in the IR-UT process the treatment steps are generally the following: - preparation; - thermal adjustment; - chemical adjustment (including silicon and aluminum reduction); - wire injection and desulphurization In some cases it is possible to carry out some of these treatments simultaneously. The preparation is the removal of the cap by a mechanical clamp system, the taking of bath level measurements with the oxygen lance and the snorkel (as a reference for by lance gas bubbling, the

future equipment movements), the steel homogenization

measurement of temperature and the collection of steel sample. As the oxygen lance is


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited consumed during the heating process it is necessary to measure it in relation to bath level, which will define its operational height, normally 20 cm above liquid steel surface. For the opening of the 'eye' on the slag layer, the bubbling lance goes down,

penetrating up to a standard depth of about 300 mm in relation to the metallic bath level, with a high gas flow for 20 seconds when the snorkel is then immersed. After

positioning the snorkel, the bubling lance goes down and reduces the flow to promote the bath homogenization. The correction of the chemical composition values is made by the addition of ferroalloys of the elements that are below target or pure metals. And the silicon and

aluminum reduction is possible by the blow of oxygen, whose volume is calculated by mathematical models implemented in the process computers. The wires injection for

correction of chemical composition can be used. But this practice is not common, since the cost of the wire is much higher than that of the alloy in bulk and as the addition is done inside the snorkel without the presence of slag there is no gain in income to justify the increase in cost. After the completion of some of the treatments mentioned above, it is necessary to do a

new injection of gas. The time required for this gas injection stage depends on the type

of treatment and quantities of inputs such as: alloys, oxygen, scrap, powders and wires

aiming at thermal and chemical homogeneization

as well as the flotation of inclusions.

The steel desulphurization can be obtained by the combined actions of adding synthetic slag during casting, control of oxidation level and deep injection of desulphurating powder dragged by gas through lance. The CAS-DB (Composition Adjustmento by Sealed Bubbling Argon and Oxygen

Blowing) process was developed in the 70's by the NSC (Nippon Steel Corporation) Yawata Plant. In the beginning, this process aimed only at saving alloys, especially aluminum, by adding them directly to the steel surface in an area free of slag to avoid the loss of metal yield. But it has soon been adjusted to allow heating by the installation of an oxygen blow lance. A schematic representation of the CAS-OB process is shown

in Figure 2.4, along with the image of a facility with an emphasis on the refractory bell. To remove the slag from the top of the ladle in the snorkel downward region, a high flow



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of inert gas (argon) is injected through the plug installed at the bottom of the ladle. This injection or bubbling produces the liquid steel "eye" (Figure 2.4). The snorkel or

refractory bell is lined. with refractory and is immersed in the steel around 200 mm, sealing the exposed surface. The bell has a diameter of 1,500 mm and a lifespan of 100 to 150 heats. If a smaller diameter is used, there is a risk of obstruction due to the formation of skull inside. The handling of the snorkel is done through a mechanical lifting system, along with the dust removal depurator. During treatment, it turns on its axis with low speed to prevent slag agglomeration. A telescopic tube, which is placed on the snorkel flange, is used for the addition of ferroalloys and to carry out the extraction of fumes for the dust removal system. The CAS-OB process is used mainly to: Fine tuning and homogeneity of chemical composition; Adjustment and homogeneization Improvement of steel cleanliness; Desulphurization of steels. of temperature;

The oxides generated in laddie treatment in the CAS-OB process are displaced to the surface by the injection of argon through the plug. The oxygen lance for heating is mounted on a car that moves on a vertical beam. This beam has a rotation system allowing horizontal movement to the position of oxygen injection or to the waiting powder or argon

position. Additionally,

it has a lance system for desulphurization

injection in case of plug failure. The fine tuning of some elements can be done through a wire injection machine. The temperature measurement and the removal of steel and slag samples are carried out by an automatic system. The desulphurization can be achieved through the agitation of the top slag, with the

addition of synthetic slag in the casting and the injection of argon by a specific high flow lance or by powder injection by lance simultaneously during the steel casting. The figure 2.4 shows images of an CAS-OB secondary refining process. with the addition of synthetic slag


ArcelorMittal .....

Point Lisas Limited

Wire injection Aerial Silos for raw materials

Sampling Lance



\\~ ..

Refractory Brick



Figure 2.4 - Schematic representation of a secondary refining station and images of a unit (images provided by SMS-Demag Uda.).


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

The heating processes by chemical reactions and the process of heating through the use of electric energy (ladle furnace) are competing technologies or processes in the secondary refining stage. The choice of technology depends on a number of factors such as cost of electricity and deoxidants (aluminum or silicon), type of existing primary refining installation, availability and reliability of the electricity supply, needed heating rate, necessary investment, among others. The information presented in the previous chapter about the desired balance between the residual contents of AI and/or Si and the oxygen content in the liquid steel after the treatment in the secondary refining provide facts that, in part, justify the greater

popularity of ladle furnace in relation to chemical heating processes. It should also be considered that this happens despite the fact that, typically, the costs of ladle furnaces installation overcome the costs for the installation of a chemical heating secondary refining plant. The figure 3.1 shows images of an ladle furnace instalation.

FeSi Fe" AI Aerial Silos for raw materials I;:---:t>\------:/t:-----j



Figure 3.1. Schematic representation of a ladle furnace instalation.



Point Lisas Limited may not be the most appropriate, because, actually, the

The term ladle furnace secondary

refining installation

consists basically of a roof equipped with electrodes

(usually, three electrodes are used .in AC triphase furnaces), the alloy addition and temperature and chemical composition sampling systems, the bath agitation devices equipment, the fumes capitation system

with inert gas injection or the electromagnetic

and auxiliary devices for moving the laddie car (Figure 3. 1). Figures 3.2 and 3.3 show images of a ladle furnace station.

The ladle furnace is a device whose characteristics series of operations such as: Temperature control Adjustment of chemical composition Deoxidation Desulphurization

make it possible to carry out a

Chemical composition and temperature homogenization Control of morphology and removal of non-metallic inclusions.

The sequence of operations normally used is shown below: - the ladle containing the liquid steel from the primary refining furnace is transported to the ladle furnace. - the addition of ferroalloys

or pure metals for chemical composition

correction are

carried out based on the sample taken after the tapping. - the deoxidation by silicon and/or aluminum can be done.


- the addition of lime or synthetic slag to correct the slag volume in the laddie preventing the exposure of the electric arc during the heating . - the preparation of steel with higher demands for quality requires that the slag of the



~ ~ ~

ArcelorMittol treatment

Point Lisas Limited to the capture of inclusions and/or steel desulphurization,


is conducive


making it necessary to remove the remaining slag (through scraping) from the primary furnace tapping, replacing it with a more appropriate slag. - the furnace is started for the first heating and the tendency of sharp temperature fall caused by the completion of the additions reverts; however, the ladle has not yet had the suitable thermal soaking time and the rate of the liquid steel global warming varies from 1.5 to 2.5C/minute (although in the last few minutes rates of 3 to 4C/minute can



be achieved). The turned time of the furnace can vary from 10 to 15 minutes and usually does not exceed this limit. This is due to the fact that the slag temperature continually is

increased, and could harm the slag line edge and the furnace roof edge.

Observe that in the case of slag removal, there is a greater fall in temperature and it is necessary to heat the steel for a longer period. - after these initial treatments the steel is sampled (temperature and chemical

composition) and the deoxidation is carried out in case it has not been done yet, and the alloys corrective additions. - then the second heating is started, and its time is calculated based on the targeted final temperature. In this phase, the increase of temperature is constant and depending on the power employed it may reach from 3.5 to 6C/minute. - in case a small adjustment of the chemical composition is necessary, the heating can be interrupted or the additions can be made with the furnace turned on, depending on the chemical element to be corrected. - to complete the process a final sample is collected and the steel is released for casting or for treatment complementation in other secondary refining equipment (vacuum

' '"

furnaces), if new corrections are not needed. For the preparation of steels with more stringent quality requirements a calcium alloy

injection treatment can be carried out before the release of the heat for casting to control the inclusions morphology and the agitation to increase steel cleanliness by

speeding up the flotation of the inclusions still present. In companies that carry out the production of steel with the addition of alloy elements, such as lead and bismuth, to increase steel machinability these elements can be added at the secondary


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited station or in another station equipped with a fumes capture system, because the vapors of these materials are harmful to health. Ladle furnaces treatment total time varies from 30 to 70 minutes depending on the operations required. For example, the use of devices that minimise the passage of the primary furnace slag to the ladle prevents the skimming of the remaining slag and temperature loss is


reduced. In normal quality steels thre is no agitation to promote flotation of inclusions, saving energy and time. To minimize the risks of overflowing and overheating the roof, it is usually operated with a free edge range of 600 to 1400 mm. Ladle furnaces are normally operated with shorter electric arcs than electric furnaces. This procedure provides a reduction in the wear of the ladle slag line and furnace roof refractory linings. The ladle furnaces that work with electromagnetic agitator require that the ladle shells are changed in the

region near the agitator. In this region it is necessary to use a non-magnetic steel-type in order to avoid induction heating of the shell and reduce the losses in the magnetic field. When using the agitation through the injection of inert gases it is important to electrically insulate the porous brick with a metal liner to prevent current leakage, which could cause damage to the brick region and led to the accidental leakage of liquid steel.


The electrodes used in the ladle furnace are similar to those used in the arc electric furnace for primary refining. They are made of graphite and when worn can be restored through the use of niples. They must present an ability to conduct higher current to prevent the formation of a long electric arc. This is one of the reasons justifying its smaller diameter. They are subject to lower mechanical work so as not to melt the

scrap. Moreover, the environment in the furnace is reductant, thereby reducing the wear by oxidation of the electrode surface. The basic principle of the furnaces laddies power supply can be described as an electrical circuit formed at one end by a source (distribution system, circuit breaker, transformer, etc.) linked to one or more conductors at the other end, causing short-circuits which generate and concentrated enough

electricity to heat the liquid metal charge. One of the main features of the electric energy needed to cause these short-circuits is the combination of low voltage and high current (Figure 3.4).


~ ArcelorMittal

Point Lisas Limited

Arm Support or contact claws bus bar

General transformer (substation)

Figure 3.4 - Schematic representation circuit of a AC type furnace ladle.

of the main components

of the power supply

4 - VACUUM PROCESSES The possibility of applying pressure below atmospheric pressure to treat the liquid steel in the secondary metallurgy stage was proposed initially by the pioneer of the steel production by pneumatic processes, Henry Bessemer in 1865. Bessemer suggested a device to make the steel casting in a mould in vacuum. However, at that time the technical because, conditions the were not available, pumps had particularly for the generation yet. However, of vacuum, after the


not been


development of vacuum pumps, steam blowers and water sealed pumps in the 50's, the metallurgical Approximately processes using vacuum degassing techniques became possible.

100 years after Henry Bessemer's

suggestion, the first processes in

industrial scale for completion of the vacuum degassing of the steels were presented. The first practical tests on the liquid steel vacuum treatment were conducted in steel

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited works in the river Ruhr region in Bochum, Dortmund and Hattingen (Germany). The development of the first industrial scale procedures in vacuum treatment occurred in the 50's. The first vaccum secondary refining plants were designed only for

degassing. In 1955 came the process of degassing

in the liquid steel jet during the

tapping a process known as SD (Stream Degassing). In 1956 the DH (Dortmund-Herder Huettenunion) process was presented followed in 1957 by the RH (Ruhrstahl Degassing) processes. and

Heraeus) process and in 1960 by VD (Vacuum (Vacuum Oxygen Descarburization) presented in 1965. Currently,


and VAD (Vacuum Arc Degassing) processes were main techniques used to perform degassing


processes in the presence of vacuum can be divided into two basic categories: - with liquid steel circulation


a container

outside the ladle (HR and DH

processes and their variants RH-KTB, RH-TOP, RD-KTB and RH-OB); - without liquid steel recirculation out of the ladle, making the entirely process in the steel ladle, called by some authors as the degassing tank (ASEA-SKF, VD, VAD, VOD, AOD, ASM). Thus, for didactic purposes and without strict classification,

a summary of some of the

degassing processes available in the market is presented in Table 4.1. The most recently developed vacuum degassing processes were the DH and RH

processes. These methods were created aimed at reducing the levels of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon in high volumes in only one stage of treatment, allowing a high annual production in the secondary refining stations. These methods allow for the treatment of high weight heats; the upper limit is around 400 t. and for this reason they are applied mainly in integrated steel plants. Because it is possible to make a more efficient decarburation recirculation through the use of vacuum associated with the liquid steel

RH and DH processes allow the production

of steel with low levels of

carbon, through the removal of this element as CO gas. The RH process development started in the headquarters of the Ruhrstahl HenrichshOtte company in Hattingen, which

now belong to the Thyssen group. The need to increase the size of the ingots used as raw materials for forging the axes of the transmission lines of hydroelectric plants led to an increase in the cost of annealing treatment. To eliminate this treatment, A. Lorenz a




~ ~


Point Lisas Limited


researcher from Heraeus had the idea of degassing the liquid metal, a method that was patented in 1957. This process was later called RH process, initials of Ruhrstahl and Heraeus. Table 4.1.Summary of some of the degassing processes available in the market





VAD !vaccum A I' C DeUtls"'1"1'(','

rization) Heating method P,.~litation method Desulfuration Decarburization DeQa%ing .A.llovsaddition Deoxidation

" .",,r.

DH (RUI~~tahf (~l~~~~~f VD (Dor1nullnJ- <H[U~(t "' and Vacuum ASEA',', el aeusj or Heraeus HOHler RD(Recin:::u with Degassingl sm Huettenuni latioll" Kawasaki '_1'." DegaSSing} TOI,) " ~I " ' , BI(I<wll1~l)
no Inert gas: injection (,! or t.jJ no lnert la~, injection (.ll,ir or NJ


Inert ~la:;: injection (Air) yes

lnert gas: injection (Air or N;;:) yes: 'y'e:s ':;es: yes ye:s


,ll,rc Induction (+gas:) yes yes yes

Inert gas: injection (, yes

lnert gas:
injec1ion (.ll,ir) yes yes ye:;: yes: yes

yes yes: yes


,/es yes

,/e:3 yes ':le:~:




* heating can occur as a result of chemical bath, but it is not the main objective


of the alloys added to the

of the process. may also be included.

* RH-TOP, RD-KTB and RH-OB processes

The RH (or RD - Recirculation continuous circulation through

Degassing) a refractory


is characterized

by the steel is

lined container,

in which a vacuum

promoted. This movement which are immersed

is made through two tubes or legs, also called snorkels, bath. The RH vessel is then emptied. The

in the metallic

atmospheric pressure, which acts on the ladle surface, causes the steel elevation to the barometric height of approximately 1.45 m. A schematic representation of the main

equipment of a RH vacuum degassing secondary refining unit is shown in Figure 4.1. The basic difference between RH and DH processes is the fact that the, DH process uses a snorkel with only one leg. The vessel must be pre-heated temperatures temperature


8t)O ana 140QoC. This heating operation reduces liquid steel


reaching inside


loss, crust (solidified steel crust) formation on vessel walls and refractory

lining wear. The heating system can be through a retractable gas blowtorch or graphite

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited


based electrical resistance. After heating, the blowtorch is removed from the vessel. Currently, the MgO or MgO-CrO based refractory materials are used to line the RH ladle. Depending on the RH vessel location, the refractory material may differ regarding raw material composition, grain structure and agglomeration agents. One of the main


goals of the oxygen injection through lances placed at the top of the RH treatment vessel is the supply of oxygen in the cases when the amount of this element dissolved in the liquid steel from the primary thermodynamics

refining furnace,

do not favour decarburation

and kinetics. The oxygen injection can also be necessary to allow the reactions with AI and Si mainly. These with the

steel heating through the use of exothermal

lances are similar to the oxygen injection ones. used in LD converters,

exception of having a single hole. Where it is not necessary to use the lance, it remains stationary at the top of the vessel with a minimum flow of inert gas to prevent the obstruction of the gas output hole due to liquid steel projection. The placement of a lance for oxygen blowing at the top of the RH process vessel was implemented by the Thyssen RH company in Germany in the late 60's (RH-TOP developed the RH-KTB process



In the 80's Kawasaki Steel Corporation

which combines the oxygen blowing RH-TOP system with the introduction of heating using the of CO post-combustion effect released by the liquid steel converting it into

CO2, or through the addition of AI to the metallic bath. The RH process can be used to perform the following types of operations: - reduction of Hand N content in the steel;


- reduction of carbon content in the steel; - control of the liquid steel temperature; - adjustment of chemical composition; - deoxidation of liquid steel; - desulphurization of liquid steel; - morphology control and removal of non-metallic inclusions.


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

Addition of terre-alloys -

Oxygen lance Burner (KTB lance)

Nozzle for injection of AlrlN,

Gas suction (hot off take)


Oxygen r-- temperature \

measurement and sampling

Rising snorkel (injection of Air/N,)

Bus bar



Figure 4.1 - (a) Schematic representation of the main equipment of an RH vacuum degassing type secondary refining unit (b) image of a whole treatment vessel and snorkel suspended to make its exchange, (c) image of a new snorkel and (d) snorkel removed from the ladle after treatment is completed.

However, it is considered that the primary purpose of degassing is producing liquid steel with a minimum of dissolved gases in the bath as possible. The RH process allows that, the application of vacuum decreases gases content to values below 2 ppm for hydrogen



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and below 20 ppm for nitrogen. These are indicative values, eventually reaching levels even lower with a stricter control of the process. Because the equipment requires a higher investment than secondary refining stations of the chemical heating type or ladle furnace, this equipment shall be used for the

preparation of steels that can not be processed in those processes. Therefore, priority shoul be given to the preparation of steels that require the first two before mentioned operations, the reduction of Hand N content in the steel and the reduction of carbon

content in the steel. The other operations are necessary to compensate the temperature loss or chemical composition changes, inherent to the RH process or required by the steel final chemical specification. The process of vacuum degassing in the systems that carry out the recycling of steel in a vessel above the liquid steel ladle, usually follows the steps presented below: - The liquid steel ladle is placed in the RH station; - The snorkels are introduced in the metallic steel bath; - The pressure in the higher vessel is reduced, so the liquid steel bath is forced to rise, reaching a height around 1.40 m above the original surface level; - The inert gas (usually argon) is injected at the bottom of the first tube, near the steel surface in the ladle (Figure 4.1 a), the injection of inert gas can be started a little earlier to prevent the obstruction of the injection nozzles; this tube is called upward snorkel, and consequently the other is called downward snorkel. - The injected gas rises and, thus causes the acceleration of the liquid steel in the


upward snorkel, in addition it causes a reduction in the liquid steel density, which helps its upward movement;


- Forced by temperature increase, pressure decrease and steel gases release at the top of the tube, the molten metal disintegrates into small droplets inside the vessel, return to the surface and goes down to the other leg of the snorkel, promoting the liquid metal circulatory movement. It can be considered that a regular RH type facility requires an investment 3 times




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bigger than a chemical heating station. As the RH process treatment is carried out in a separate vessel the steel ladle needs a lower free edge, which can be regarded as an advantage in relation to other chemical heating processes or the ladle furnace, for example. The introduction of pipes or legs (snorkels) in the liquid steel is carried out through ladle elevation (usually in steelworks who work alternating two RH vessels) or, more commonly, by lowering the vessel. In some older facilities a single vacuum system with a dual vessel system moving on rails is employed to enable maintenance in the refractories of the vessel legs. However,

more recent facilities tend to have a single vessel system associated with devices that allow fast movement (few minutes); usually the complete unit is replaced by another (standby) at regular intervals and the repairs are carried out in less than one hour. The pipes, which a few years ago were composed of various sections, are currently made of a single piece that is welded to the vessel. The developments performance heats). The phenomenon corresponding to the increase in the liquid steel bath level due to the generation of vacuum in the above the snorkels is called barometric over height. and physical models, it was determined that a enabled this breakthrough obtained in refractory

regarding the lifespan of the pipes (over 600

According to results of mathematical

mixture containing a part of steel and ten parts of gas (volume basis), allows the steel level to reach 1m above the barometric height and may even occur steel projections at the top of the vacuum vessel, if this proportion is exceeded. The circulation rate, i.e., the amount of steel that goes through the vacuum chamber per unit of time, is

determined by the capacity of lifting liquid steel in the upward snorkel and the metallic bath level in the degassing vessel, being one of the main operating parameters of the RH process. This movement rate can not be directly measured. However,


were made using radioactive tracers in experimental conditions or cold

models, allowing to infer that the rates vary between 10 and 85 tlmin depending on the parameters of each equipment or operational procedures adopted. Normally, the

greater the liquid steel movement rate, the most efficient the treatment process will be and the shorter the time required to achieve the desired results. The amount of steel going through the vacuum vessel can not be directly measured;



Point Lisas Limited made using radioactive gold showed that for a 20-cm entry

however, measurements

pipe diameter the flow rates obtained were between 10 and 20tlmin, according to the quantity of gas introduced. It is possible to complete the steel refining in the RH without being necessary to send it to another secondary refining station, avoiding compromising the steelworks synchronism. Examples of activities complementary to the process of

degassing are the calcium basis composite injection or steel deoxidation. To illustrate this point, it can be mentioned that if a ladle containing IF1 (interstitial free) steel

prepared at a RH secondary refining and released to the continuous casting machine has to be heated due to a long waiting time as a result of a stop in the machine should preferably be directed to the chemical or electrical (ladle furnace) stations. So the RH station is released for the preparation of other heats with the above mentioned

characteristics. The steel quantity through the vacuum vessel can not be directly measured. However, measurements made using radioactive gold showed that, for a diameter of 20 cm of the

entry tube, flow rates between 10 and 20 tlmin were obtained, according to the quantity of introduced gas. It is possible to complete the steel refining in the RH without being necessary to send it to another secondary refining station, avoiding compromise the steelworks synchronism. according it has to experience a warming due to a long waiting time, stop, should preferably be directed to the chemical or

to the machine

electrical (ladle furnace) stations. So the RH station is released for the preparation of other heats that display the characteristics listed above. Steel cleanliness, on micro and macroscopic scales, can be improved by the RH

process treatment by two methods: Removal of oxygen via carbon through the gas reaction that forms CO

preventing the formation of oxides inclusion. Flotation of solid or liquid inclusions as a result of the agitation of the liquid steel in the vessel and in the ladle; the inclusions agglomerate and move upwards to the slag of the ladle, where they are fixate. The addition of alloy elements in the RH vessel during treatment, both for large

additions or for small chemical composition adjustments has some advantages over the





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addition of alloys during casting or during ladle bubbling: - Better yield, especially in the case of oxidizable elements. - It is possible to achieve high alloy addition rates. - It is possible to obtain narrow bands of alloys.


r--. ,,-..,



- It is faster to homogenize chemical composition and temperature. - There is no obstruction by the slag layer.


An addition system of an RH station includes alloy silos that feed a weighing device, quantifying the additions to be made. A system of conveyor belts transports the material to vacuum silos and through the use of vibration feeders, the alloys are added to the liquid steel bath circulating through the vacuum vessel. The ideal point of impact for the added alloys in the vessel is located in the upward flow area of the snorkel because of the violent movement of the steel in this area. But if there is an exchange of upward and downward steel flow in the snorkels, the impact point should be positioned at the center of the vessel. During the degassing, the flow of liquid steel through the vessel (movement rate) is constant. The alloys portions are added at a feeding rate also constant and proportional to the metal flow rate. However, some adjustments density of the alloys added, the treatment can be made depending on the and




stage or the level of dissolution

absorption by the heat, and the granulometry

of the alloys. Several tests were made and mixing of

with model and industrial stations to analyze the time of homogenization alloys during treatment

in the RH process. It was observed that mixture times for

different combinations are almost the same, depending mainly, on the circulation speed caused by the different injection rates of the dragging gas. Due to non oxidation by the atmosphere and reduced amount of slag in the RH vessel, the conditions to achieve a high yield by adding the alloys during RH process treatment are highly favourable.

However, it must be considered that possible sources of oxygen in the steel, in the ladle slag or in the ladle refractory, as well as the oxidized skull in the RH process vessel may reduce alloy yield. Moreover, alloy elements fines may be suctioned by the hot off-take


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited piping reducing alloys yield. To prevent suction from the hot off take (device for sucking process generated gas), it is necessary to use a granulometry of at least 3mm

especially for lightweight materials such as carbon and aluminum. Another factor that may cause a decrease in alloys yield is the high steam pressure from some elements such as manganese, calcium and nitrogen. If medium and high carbon content steels are produced in the RH process it may be necessary to add large quantities of carbon suppliers (coke or graphite) because after tapping in the primary refining furnaces the steel carbon content in the ladle is usually low. In RH processes the yield of carbon addition is around 95%, which does not present problems to the inclusion of this element in steel composition. The combined use of vacuum and oxygen blow enables the production of ultra-low carbon steel 20 ppm or 0.0020% in carbon weight). See below a summarized description of the carbon removal treatment procedures in the RH. The steel must be prepared in primary

refining furnaces with a proper combination of temperature and composition to facilitate subsequent decarburation in the RH station. The manganese can be added in the

tapping jet through the use of the Fe-Mn ferroalloy with high carbon content, because it is cheaper than the Fe-Mn ferroalloy with low carbon content. If the carbon content in the tapping is too low to optimize the decarburation, high-carbon manganese may

slightly increase the level of carbon in the steel. Ideal values of original carbon content to optimize the RH process decarburation are between 0.04 to 0.06% in weight (400 to 600 ppm) or lower ranges by other authors (350 to 400 ppm). This range depends on the availability of lances for oxygen injection in the RH process to make the

descarburation stage. It was observed that the higher the carbon content, the higher the treatment and agitation time in the vessel. The amount of slag from the primary refining furnace must be reduced to prevent phosphorus from reversing to the metallic bath and to reduce the problems inherent to the recirculation of slag inside the RH station vessel. The injection of inert gases in the ladle (argon) still in the primary refining furnace is usually necessary to achieve of temperature and chemical composition homogenization. A sample is usually taken at of the steel chemical

this stage and sent to the laboratory for the determination composition.

In the case of basic lining ladles the steel surface can be covered with

lime. During the transfer of the heat to the RH station, the sample is analyzed in the



~ ~

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

chemical testing laboratory. When the ladle arrives at the treatment position in the RH, the vacuum pumps are turned on in sequence to pre-empty the pump system volume to 100-200 mbar. Before the treatment is started, it is recommended that the slag and the free edge thickness are measured to define the depth of the legs immersion preventing that an incomplete immersion results in air suction, dragging steel and slag to the


~ ~

cooling gas system. The temperature is also measured and a new sample of the liquid steel bath can be taken for chemical analysis in the laboratory. Besides that, the

measurement of oxygen content is taken through the use of appropriate systems that combine samplers with process computers calibrated for this purpose. After these initial steps, the ladle is raised while the dragging gas is changed from nitrogen to argon. The snorkels are submerged in the steel to a desired level. The vacuum valve is then

opened. After approximately one minute, steel rises to the vessel and starts to circulate between the ladle and the vessel. If necessary, manganese should be added at the beginning of this stage in order to perform the decarburation contained in the Fe-Mn ferroalloy. The steel decarburation decrease in pressure inside the RH vessel. A careful procedure to increase inert gas flow and to reduce the pressure must be done to avoid projections related to the decarburation reaction. The process can be of the carbon normally

process begins due to the

monitored by a video camera installed inside the treatment vessel. To achieve carbon content below 20 ppm, it is necessary to reduce the pressure to 2 mbar or less. Decarburation discontinuation is done through the addition of aluminum which will

preferably react with oxygen. Some RH stations have installed a computerized control of pressure reduction through the recirculation of output gas to the condenser. To make the treatment applied. Decarburation directly speed is basically dependent by argon injection on steel circulation rate in the vessel, because it of various types of steel, various pressure reduction curves can be



rate through

the upward snorkel,

increases the argon/liquid

steel interface participation

in the CO bubbles nucleation.

After a treatment period of approximately

15 to 18 minutes, the desired carbon content

is usually achieved. A measurement can be performed aiming to determine the oxygen content, which is usually between 250 and 450 ppm, depending of course, on the final carbon content achieved. Based on the measured value for the oxygen content, a



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quantity of aluminum necessary for deoxidation and reaching the right composition is calculated and subsequently added to the vessel. The aluminum oxidation is a highly

exothermal reaction, so that the resulting increase in temperature should be considered at the beginning of the treatment. If the steel is overheated, it may need a larger

quantity of strip scrap during the first few minutes of treatment. To promote the flotation of inclusions, it is advisable to maintain a high flow of argon. The pressure can be higher than the pressure applied during the decarburation stage to reduce the loss of manganese by evaporation. If necessary, titanium, niobium or boron is added to the vessel as ferroalloys. After the final addition, a homogenization time

should be considered. After this period the temperature can be measured and treatment is ended by closing the vacuum valve to remove the vacuum in the RH vessel by flooding it with nitrogen when atmospheric pressure is reached in the RH vessel and the snorkels can be removed from the steel. At this moment the dragging gas is again changed to nitrogen and the injection rate is reduced to 800 Nl/min. At the end of the treatment the temperature is measured and a sample of the steel is tanken. The ladle

can be closed before its transfer to the casting area. Immediately after the ladle leaves the RH station, the snorkels must be internally and externally inspected. Cracks and erosion points should be repaired by the projection with special refractory inspected. When the ladle arrives at the RH station the procedures are similar to those employed for liquid steel decarburation. After the snorkels are submersed in the steel, the main material. The dragging gas injection nozzles should also be

vacuum valve is opened. Due to the pressure balance between the pre-vacuum of the vacuum pump and RH vessel, a pressure of approximately 500 mbar is immediately obtained in the vessel. Due to the fact that steel is deoxidized by aluminum, only a small amount of CO gas is formed, and the steam ejectors can be turned on without delay. After one or two minutes the steel circulation begins. After three minutes of treatment the pressure in the vessel is reduced to less than 4 mbar, which means that the time for effective treatment for reducing hydrogen began. At the same time, the dragging gas injection rate is increased, creating conditions for the addition of alloy elements. content than for


we need a lower pressure

to reduce hydrogen



,.--, Point Lisas Limited


ArcelorMittal decarburation. sufficiently increased.

To compensate

the fact that in some cases

the pressure

is not


reduced, the treatment time and the dragging gas injection rate can be For the example mentioned above, a certain amount of carbon and

manganese were added. After 5 minutes of homogenization, the treatment is finished by


closing the main vacuum valve. The total treatment time is around 25 minutes for ladles of approximately 315 tonnes of liquid steel. The vessel is flooded with nitrogen and steel returns to the ladle when atmospheric pressure is reached in the vacuum chamber. The total drop in temperature example mentioned above. The reduction in the hydrogen content is favoured by the presence of dissolved oxygen in the metallic bath. This is due to hydrogen being a reducing gas and also to CO bubbles formation which facilitate the formation of H2 bubbles. However, H must be removed when the steel is already deoxidized in the primary refining unit, because during RH process treatment is approximately 40C, in the


steels with low hydrogen requirements, are steels that should contain high content of alloy elements (structural steels). If chemical composition correction to incorporate the necessary chemical elements were done in the secondary refining stage, it would take a long time due to the large volume of additions and also to make the corresponding samplings/analysis/corrections, as it would temperature cause excessive temperature loss, requiring a high steel as well tapping

in the primary refining furnaces. Typical values of hydrogen in liquid steel

are from 4 to 6 ppm before treatment and 1.5 to 2.5 ppm after hydrogen content reduction in the RH process. The reduction in nitrogen content is done by following procedures similar to those in the reduction of hydrogen content. However, the final nitrogen content reached is

higher. These differences will be presented later. The VD process (Vacuum Degassing), also called Tank Degassing basically consists of placing a steel ladle in a container that is then hermetically sealed, initiating the

degassing process by starting the vacuum system. Figure 4.5 shows schematically, the typical arrangement of VD process equipment. The tank is a container lined with refractory material normally of the silicous aluminous


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited type, being dimensioned to receive and support the steel ladle during the treatment (Figure 4.5). It must have safety mechanisms against leaks or operational accidents, such as low melting point plugs.

s.ln1I>ling Alloys '-.......

.lddition \

Ire injection
,~:: J

Figure 4.5 - Schematic representation of a VD (Vacuum Degassing) type secondary refining station and images of industrial facilities (image (b) Danieli do Brasil Uda. and image (c) SMS DEMAG Uda.).

Constructively, vessels or tanks may be installed in transfer cars, which make possible to position and remove the ladle, or the vessels can be fixed with a movable cap to seal the tank. The operation to position and remove the ladle inside the tank is performed using an overhead crane. The tank is closed at the top with a cap, which can be lined with refractories or water cooled panels. To ensure the sealing of the tank water and/or rubber rings are used to ensure tightness. Ducts are installed on the cap or on the side of the tank to connect with the vacuum generation system, in addition to the auxiliary equipment. The cap movement is usually performed vertically through chains and

horizontally through sliding mechanisms, both driven by hydraulic systems. Some plants may use shields for protection under the cap, usually composed of water cooled panels, in order to minimize heat radiation from the liquid steel bath surface and slag to vessel walls and from them to the external surfaces of the ladle. The vacuum system consists of a series of pumps, usually water ring and/or ejectors which operate in sequence. The


Arce/orMitta/ Point Lisas Limited dimension of the draining system with the definition of suction capacity (kg/h) as well as specific consumption is done considering the internal volume of the vessel, the values targeted for deep vacuum (usually less than 1 mbar), the volume of inert gas bubled during treatment and the loss of charge due to the construction limitations. Usually, the water ring pumps are turned on during the initial stage of the process and are designed to reduce internal pressure to close to 100 rnbar. They have the advantage of being more economical than the ejectors, especially due to their lower energy cost, as it does not consume steam. Examples of typical VD auxiliary equipment can be: - Observation windows on the cover, usually two; one of them holding a video camera an essential dvice for process control. - Lance for temperature vacuum sampling. - Silos, storage stalls and scales for alloy dosage, which may have manual or fully automated operation and be remotely monitored. - Device for alloy addition under vacuum. - Machines for alloy injection in wire shape. - Agitation and regulation control systems by inert gas injection or electromagnetic fields. A point worth mentioning is the fact that, due to the intense agitation of the bath the interface ladle refractory/slag/steel is highly significant. As this contact is not limited to measurement and for environment pressure and/or under

the slag line, the ladle lining has to be strengthened. Together with the requirement in terms of greater free edge, the installation of VD process stations requires changes in the steel ladles as an increase in its height/diameter ratio. Given that the largest cost in the installation of a VD process is the vacuum system, some plants have two tanks for a single vacuum system. The works in this case, is done in parallel, meaning that as a ladle is being positioning or as another preparation vacuum system stage is being carried out, the and

is used in the other tank (Figure 4.6). Despite conceptual


differences existing between VD and RH processes the thermodynamic

and kinetic principles of steel degassing are essentially the same. Essentially, the VD


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited process differs from RH process because slag participates intensely in the process, being in contact with the steel throughout

the vacuum treatment, which essentially However, it is


favours the desulphurization -->P <

(rates above 95% can be reached).

considered that reactions kinetics is a little slower in VD process than in RH process, although equipment investment is smaller. The equipment used in the VAD process (Vacuum Arc Degassing) is shown in Figure 4.7. This process is basically a combination of procedures for the ladle furnace (LF) and a vacuum degassing in the tank (VD), and for this reason it is also known as LF-VD process. lbe is the possibility of performing the controlled main ad\la~ process

heating of the steel in the vacuum

treatment station itself, compensating temperature loss inherent to the degassing and chemical composition adjustment phenomena. The tank is constructed with steel plates and lined with refractory material. The tank cap, which is also built with steel plates, can be moved by its own car. The alloys additions are made through vacuum silos. If an induction coil is incorporated, it becomes an ASEA I SKF process.
Powder injectionSampling~ Alloys addition

Wireinjection 00

Inert gas injection

Connection to the vacuum ~ system


Figure 4.7 - Schematic representation of a VAD (Vacuum Arc Degassing) secondary refining station and images of tank caps, (b) and (c).





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The variation in atmosphere composition is controlled by the formation of CO due to the reaction of carbon from the graphite electrode with the slag oxides and the inert gas introduced through the plug. For vacuum treatment, the electrodes are suspended above the treatment vessel, allowing the vessel to be sealed by a proper cap. In other systems, it is possible to simultaneously do the vacuum treatment and the heating

through an electric arc; in this case it is necessary to appy an adequate electrodes insulation system. However, the pressure reduction obtained in this situation should be less intense (should not be less than 300 mbar) and the voltage intensity in the electric arc should be lower (should not exceed 100 V). These limitations lead to the division of the treatment in the VAD process in two stages: one with higher pressures, followed by a stage with lower pressures (below 1 mbar) with suspended electrodes. The level of agitation is increased due to the use of vacuum, which is why the free edge must be from 1000 to 1500 mm to avoid excessive projections from metallic bath and slag. To acelerate the steel treatment, the injection of inert gas by plugs at the bottom of the ladle can be increased. The steel can be heated by the electric arc, a process similar to the ladle furnace seen above. The basic difference between the VAD process and the VOD process (Vacuum Oxygen Decarburization) is that the latter does not need the

installation of a heating unit with electrodes, but needs to have a lance for oxygen injection to provide an intense steel decarburation processes make steel desulphurization wires possible. (Figure 4.8). The VAD and VOD

and injection of aluminum or calcium alloy filled


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Powder injection /' Wire injection
I I 00

Oxygen injection Sampling Alloys addition

<, ~



I Inert gas injection

Connection to the vacuum system

Figure 4.8 - Schematic representation of VOD (Vacuum Oxygen Decarburization) The VOD process was specially developed for the production of stainless steels, usually in combination with electric furnaces (duplex process) or with a MRP/ODA

converter and an electric furnace (triplex process). The route used in the production of stainless steel is called duplex process. On this route, the electric furnace is used as

the melting unit and the VOD process as a refining unit. The decarburation rate can be controlled by adjusting the variables: oxygen flow, lance-bath distance, suction flow and inert gas flow. The pressure in the oxygen injection stage is normally between 50 and 150 mbar. The chromium content in the bath decreases during the process due to the completion of the following reactions: (cr1 )

[Fe} + 2[Cr] + 4[0}



However, this tendency

is reversed after the stop of the oxygen blow due to the

continuation of the decarburation process carried out by the formation of CO without the introduction of oxygen via lance. This recovery of chromium occurs in the following


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited reaction:

(CrxOy) + y[C] ~ y(CO)g + x[Cr] (cr3)

Slag deoxidation should also be ensured by the addition of AI or FeSi. These conditions also meet the requirements for an efficient desulphurization of the steel. The moment of the process in which the oxygen supply via lance must be stoped is determined by the variable critical carbon, i.e., the carbon content below which the decarburation rate is no longer controlled by the oxygen supply and will be controlled by the dissemination of the relatively few carbon atoms in the metallic bath. The observation of this variable (critical carbon) allows to reduce the chromium losses by oxidation to the slag and to reduce the consumption of its reductors (FeSi and AI). For example, the critical carbon content of steel from the electric furnace presenting 0.7%C and 17.78%Cr and

temperature equal to 1578C, would be 0.22%C. As soon as the metallic bath achieves this composition, which can be determined by the analysis of the gases exhausted from the degassing tank, the oxygen injection by the lance should be progressively reduced until the final 0.004% carbon content is reached, including through the reactions of dissolved oxygen in the bath. The pressure in the tank is reduced to the minimum value, around 1 mbar. The slag deoxidation stage is initiated with the addition of FeSi and/or AI. Another possible route to be used in the production of stainless steel is the use of oxygen converter as the melting unit and the VAD process as secondary refining unit to the production of special steels of relatively low levels of alloy elements 3%). Other combinations can be used, including making use of two distinct units of VAO and VOO processes in the secondary refining stage. The AOO (Argon Oxygen Oescarburfzation) process is characterized the oxygen decarburation by the injection of inert gases (argon or nitrogen) along with pressure reduction, necessary for a higher steel

to the CO partial

or for the manufacture

of stainless steels. Instead of performing the

treatment in the steel ladle, a special reactor equipped with side tuyeres is used. Some authors consider this process as a primary refining unit with back blow. Um outro rnetodo que utiliza

vacuo desde a etapa de elaboracao do ago

processo VIM

(Vacuum Induction Melting) ou processo VID (Vacuum Induction Degassing), no qual aquecimento, a fusao e a homoqeneizacao eletromaqneticas, do ago

e resultado

da inducao de correntes

Este processo permite a utilizacao de sucatas contaminadas (por AI,

Ti, Bi, Pb, etc.) pelo fato de ser realizada a purificacao do ago atraves da aplicacao do


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited vacuo. 0 vazamento do ace para lingoteiras tarnbern ocorre numa camera submetida ao vacuo. Este processo


aplicado para cargas na faixa de 1 a 16

toneladas. 0 forno permite operar com cargas s6lidas ou Ifquidas e atingir press6es em torno de 0,1 mbar. Another method that uses vacuum since the steel preparation stage is the VIM (Vacuum Induction Melting) process or VID (Vacuum Induction Degassing) process, in which the heating, melting and steel homogeneization results from the result

of the electromagnetic currents induction. This process allows the use of contaminated scrap (bu AI, Ti, Bi, Pb, etc.). by the fact that the steel purification is made through the vacuum application. The casting of steel to the ingot mold also occurs in a camera under vacuum. This process is generally applied to loads in the range from 1 to 16 tonnes. The furnace allows to operate with solid or liquid loads and achieve pressures around 0.1 mbar.



Although the previously presented processes make it possible to obtain steels with a high cleanliness degree and precise chemical composition control, the steel of

solidification process control in the conventional casting stage for the manufacture ingots is very difficult. For this reason heterogeneities and macrosegregation) concentration these

of chemical composition (micro

and structure (gross granulation) or even cavities and inclusions

in certain regions may occur. In the case of the posterior processing of and/or machining to manufacture shafts for engines and

ingots by forging

turbines, rolling cylinders or other parts that must have high reliability, defects may occur during the manufacturing (which can be catastrophic). (less critical) or during the use of these components

To prevent such problems processes that perform the

progressive remelting and solidifying of ingots have been developed. The remelting occurs under controlled conditions so that the region or slice being melt gradually move from the base to the top of the ingot (Figure 5.1). This process is called by some authors of zonal meleting. Considering that impurities, inclusions and chemical

elements are usually more soluble in liquid than in solid state, there will be a gradual shift of such materials to liquid state layer that moves vertically, purifying the region that is re-solidified. It is important to ensure that the melting front (liquid/solid interface) is sufficiently




ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited


opened to prevent the imprisonment

of inclusions or gases or even the isolation of a


certain amount of liquid metal that, when solidified, will generate a small contraction cavity in the piece. So after the end of the treatment, the region at the top of the ingot, which accumulates the inclusions and undesirable solutes, must be discarded obtaining a cast piece of high cleanliness index, lack of microcavities and refined and/or




homogeneous macro and microstructure. The main processes that employ the principles presented above are: - ESR (Electro-Slag Remelting) process - remelting under electroslag; - VAR (Vacuum Arc Remelting) process - Arc remelting under vacuum or remelting in the arc consumable electrode furnace, under vacuum. The operation principle of the ESR process is shown in Figure 5.1, in which you can observe a series circuit formed by the solid electrode (part of the ingot to be treated), a slag bath and the other part of the ingot already treated (remelted and resolidified) within a water cooled copper ingot mold. This set is supported by a copper based plate. The heat generated by the electric current going through the electroslag (Joule effect) heats and melts the tip of the electrode (ingot). The liquid metal droplets go through the highly reactive slag, falling in the liquid metal pond that will be subsequently solidified with a high heat transfer rate to the water cooled walls of the ingot mold, producing a structure with more refined and vertically aimed granulation. The slag is selected in a way that it has the ability to absorb the inclusions and some alloy elements (sulphur, for example) present in the original ingot. The VAR process differs from the ESR process because it uses an electric arc


~ ~

--'\ r>.


produced between a consumable electrode and the metal being remelted to perform the heating, not using slag. Another difference is the fact that the process completion under vacuum allows the removal of impurities by degassing preventing the loss of alloy

elements (Ti, AI etc.) by oxidation as there is no contact with refractory materials.


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Transforwater cooled copper caster


~:~torfor eleClJic ! energy I generation

. -~.-.;;;."-"--=~-...II

LIquid metal droplets




Figure 5.1 - Schematic representation of the ESR (Electro-Slag Remelting) secondary refining process or Remelting under Electroslag and images of an industrial facility, of an ingot after the ESR ingot mold demolding and of macroestructures before and after the completion of the secondary refining.


6.1 -INTRODUCTION ,-.., Table 6.1 herein presents a list of the most common techniques to carry out the steel secondary refining stage and their respective basic objectives. The main intent of this '""' chapter is to perform an analysis of the main aspects related to these techniques. Table 6.1


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VOD {VaCClIlll Oxygen Decarburlzation]


RH VAD DH (RlIhrstahf (vaCClllll (Dortmund- and Heraeus) or Arc Herder RD(Recircu Degas- Hliettenuni la1ion Degassing) sing) on)
Arc Inert gas injection (Air) yes no yes yes yes no Inert gas injection (Air or N2) no yes yes yes yes no Inert gas injection (Air or N2) no yes yes yes yes

(Ruhstahf VD and Vacuum Heraeus Degassing with Kawasaki TOI) Blowing)



Heating method Agitation method Desulfuration Dee arburizati 0 n Degassing Alloys addition Deoxidation

Inert gas injection (,ll,iror N:;) yes yes yes yes yes

no Inert gas injection (Air) yes yes yes yes yes

Arc Induction (+gas) yes yes yes yes yes

Inert gas injection (Air) yes yes yes yes yes


It is observed that in ladle metallurgy stage, during or soon after steel tapping in primary refining furnaces, alloy elements additions are made in order to control the liquid steel oxidation level. After these treatments the oxygen content in the bath is between 0,04 and 0,10% in weight (400 to 1,000 pprn), It is observed that the oxygen solubility in liquid steel is around 0.16%, but in solid state it is only 0.003%. So, the control of the oxidation level should continue in the secondary metallurgy stage (secondary refining). It is stressed that the control of the liquid steel and slag oxidation level in the ladle is important to prevent a number of problems during the subsequent processing such as: - The formation of undesirable inclusions in the steel; - The projection of liquid metal or slag during transport, treatment or casting of the steel; - The reduction in the yield of alloys added to adjust the chemical composition with the consequent loss of control of this composition; - The formation of FeO with the consequent decrease in metal efficiency; - The formation of bubbles that could cause cracks in the solidified skin during stages of steel

continuous casting, even causing skin disruption and the interruption, in many cases disastrous, of the casting process; - The formation of gases (CO) bubbles on the surface of casted products.



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Steel can be desoxidized by the addition of chemical elements that have great affinity with oxygen and form solid, liquid or gaseous composites that are preferably removed from the liquid bath .. Mn is a weak deoxidant, AI and Ti are strong deoxidants and silicon has an intermediate efficiency. Titanium is a very expensive alloy element not being employed as a

deoxidant in ladle metallurgy or even in secondary refining, but it is added as an alloy element after deoxidation to prevent yield loss. Pure aluminum is added in the form of bars, granulates or wires. Silicon is added as granulated ferro-silicon. Calcium is a

strong deoxidant; however is not much used because of its high cost and low yield. The intensity of deoxidation may increase by the phenomenon called complex deoxidation if more than one type of deoxidant is present. A classic case of this phenomenon occurs when the Si and Mn are used in a steel deoxidation. Another fact to be considered is that, altough alumina tends to group and flot faster, silica solid particles do not present this behavior. By using Si and Mn, the particles of Si02 (acid) and MnO (basic) attract each other, facilitating the flotation. As an example of the control of some of the

important variables in the deoxidation process, consider the following reaction between aluminum and oxygen dissolved in the liquid steel: 2[AI] + 3[0] = ( Ab03) ,.-,

~GO =-289.290 +89,67 T


The liquid steel deoxidation with AI is more efficient in terms of reducing oxygen content in solution than deoxidation with Si and Mn. You can reach dissolved oxygen contents

,,-... ""'

between 2 to 3 ppm with AI while the combined achievement of levels between 30 to 60 ppm.

use of Si and Mn enables the


6.3 - CHEMICAL COMPOSITION ADJUSTMENT The addition of alloy elements in the form of ferro-alloys or pure elements (usually


commercial purity) for the liquid steel chemical composition adjustment is employed for items that are below targeted values. It is essential that alloys yield be the most

stable and have the lowest levels of impurities possible. It is observed that ferroalloys


yield can also vary due to factors such as bath oxidation and the amount of slag in the



~ "--~


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ladle. The addition of these materials is usually done by manually fed troughs with previously weighted materials or troughs connected to silos equipped with dispensers and scales commanded from the control cabin. In other cases, the additions can be is also



done manually in the ladle. The control of the humidity in these materials


important to prevent explosions or projections due to steam formation. The addition of a recarburizer is necessary because in some cases an excessive reduction in steel

carbon content occurs in the primary refining furnaces, because an extra amount of oxygen is injected to increase the oxidation of the heat to ensure high steel


Ground coke is usually used as recorburizer. Its addition is usually

done after metallic bath and slag deoxidation to prevent a high formation of CO which would generate slag foam, projections and reduction of carbon incorporation. A small

agitation can be beneficial to chemical composition homogeneity. To prevent coke from floating in the bath due to its low density the metallic bath has to be agitated by the injection of inert gases or by the use of electromagnetic agitators. The reduction in the

content of a chemical element is possible in the case of easily oxidizable elements such as silicon, aluminum, titanium and manganese (less intensely) throug the oxygen blow .: This oxidation must be followed by the use of appropriate inclusions removal methods. The reduction in the content of non oxidizable chemical elements such as Cu and Ni in the thermodynamics and kinetics conditions that prevail in the ladle containing the liquid

steel and slag in secondary refining processes presents a series of difficulties. In such case, it is possible to employ the technique of dilution of the liquid steel from a ladle into one or two ladles more and complete the contents of these ladles with prepared steels without the addition of the alloy element in excess. Naturally, this technique involves, besides other problems, a decrease in steel temperature and a delay in production.

Among the greatest difficulties of the secondary refining process is the method to add and incorporate categories: - Highly oxidizable: AI, Ca, Ce, Mg, Nb, B, Si and Ti - Low density: Ca, Mg, B, S, Se, Si and AI; - High density: Pb, W, Bi; - Toxic (smokes): Pb, Se and Te; in the steel the elements belonging to one or more of the following


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited - Low solubility: Ca, Mg and Pb; - Low melting point: AI, Bi, Ca, Ce, Mg, Pb, Bi, S, and Se; - Low boiling point: Pb, Bi, Ca, Mg, Sand Se; - High steam pression: Pb, Zn, Mn, Ca, Mg, Se and Te. To prevent oxidation by the atmosphere or the slag, it is convenient to inject these elements, in the secondary refining stage, as deep as possible in the bath in owder to increase time and contact area, facilitating the dissolution of the element. This is done through the injection of steel wire, rolled into reels, with the nucleus containing the desirable element (Figure 6.5) in pure form (AI, S, C) or ferroalloys (Fe-Ti, Fe-B, etc.) or calcium alloys (Ca-Si, CaFe). These wires usually present a diameter of 9 to 14 mm. The wire must present enough flexibility to be pulled by the injection machine without the need of a motorized unreeler, in addition to present a uniform density over its length, since the added material mass is determined by the injected length. It also must have a seam that prevents powder exit. It is recommended that the calcium addition is one of the last operations in the secondary refining, in order to reduce the possible loss to oxidation. There is also the possibility of injecting powder together with inert gas, aiming at metallic bath desulphurization (CaC2 and CaSi) or to change the morphology

of the alumina inclusions. Both in the case of the calcium injection using an inert gas flow as in the case of filling in a steel wire, it is important that the calcium release point is calculated so that the powder is transformed into liquid and then from liquid into

vapor. In other words, to release powder at higher levels in the ladle (above the level h1 in Figure 6.5) should be avoided as it would cause its direct transformation into gas,

making it difficult to dissolve in the liquid steel because of the pressure as the liquid column is below steam pressure. The ideal is to release below h2 level and have a long period of time in the path between levels h, and h2 so that the calcium remains in liquid state facilitating its association with the inclusions present in the steel. See below an example of the composition of the three types of wire used in the steels secondary refining: CaSi wire: Si

= 55.0

to 65.0%; Ca > 30.0%; C < 1.5%; AI < 1.5%.


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited FeCa wire: Ca

= 27.0

to 32.0%; Fe

= 66.9

to 70.0%; AI < 2.0%.

FeCaAI wire: Ca = 38.0 to 42.0%; Fe = 28.0 to 32.0%; AI = 28.0 to 32.0%. .-.,. ~

Comparing the injection of wire encapsulated powders with inert gas injection, the first technique presents the following advantages: Less smoke generation. Lower agitation of the bath with consequent lower temperature loss Greater inoculation efficiency. Lower investment in the facility as the necessary equipment is simpler. Greater efficiency of the additions when compared with the granulated addition.

Steel plate with thickness between 0.4 and 0.6 Ca aseoui

hi .~
Ca liquid

Ca solid

t l

Figure 6.5 - Schematic representation of a system of injection of wire filled with a calcium-based composite in the liquid steel ladle.





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The aluminum can be injected as solid wire because it is an easily conformed material. It is not necessary to use the protective casing of steel because in the injection of aluminum wire there is the formation of a bed of steel and slag in the wire periphery, which is remelted when the wire reaches deeper regions, allowing for the aluminum to be release in an area far from the slag. The wire injection speed is an important parameter to control the process, because if the speed is too high for a given steel temperature and thickness of the protective layer, the wire can touch the bottom of the ladle and return to the top without melting or melt too close to the slag, reducing too much the efficiency or causing the generation of large quantities of fumes. It is also possible to occur an increase of vibration in the injection equipment if the wire accumulates at the bottom of the ladle due to reduced melting speed. The injection

speed for wires filled with calcium alloy is usually lower. However, in the case of solid aluminum wires lower speeds may be used. The selection of the casting speed is also affected by the characteristics of the alloy elements listed above (density, melting and boiling points, tendency to oxidation and generation of toxic fumes and solubility). Secondary refining processes that use vacuum and the processes use electric arc are examples of processes with a high evaporation of materials, which result in the

formation of powder or clusters on the surface of the bath or in the smoke extraction ducts, due to the oxidation of the materials when in contact with oxygen. However, the reasons for this phenomenon are different. In the vacuum processes, the generation of powder is mainly a result of the low pressure which cause a strong expansion of the inert gas bubbles injected into the metallic bath dragging the solutes already evaporated inside the liquid steel. In the case of processes that perform the heating through electrodes, the high temperature in the electric arc region leads to a high evaporation of alloy elements. The alloy element Mg presents a high steam pressure. If the aluminum added in the secondary refining stations present the magnesium as impurity there may be the

formation of Mg crusts in the gas suction ducts. It is observed that the magnesium is an easily burnt material, especially in the presence of air when the vacuum generation stage is closed. Thus, it is preferable that AI is added at a stage where the pressure is still high. Examples of the typical compositions of the ferroalloys added to correct


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Point Lisas Limited in the secondary refining stations were presented in the


publication of this series entitled Introduction to Processes of Raw Materials Preparation for the Refining of Steels. Table 6.1 present the typical average yields of alloy elements when added at secondary refining stations of the vacuum degassing type, ladle furnace type or chemical heating type (CAS-OB) and the comparison with efficiency in the case of the addition in oxygen converters or in the ladle metallurgy stage.

Table 6.1 .Typical average yields of alloy elements

..!1,"lerage yield Element degassing,

C:~) .on the

vaccum or

,.!1,veraleyield in the case of in oxvcen converters

ladle turnace

chemical heating secondarv stetlons (CAS-08)

refininc or in the I:~dle'~Ietallurg'.,.. stage .


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During the transport of the liquid steel ladles from the primary refining to the secondary refining units and the preparation and waiting for the releasing of the ladles at the reduction of O.5C/minute

secondary refining stations it normally occurs a temperature

in a 250-ton ladle. This value is reduced by the use of caps, slag, rice straw or other products to cover the metallic bath. The steel volume in the ladle, the ladle temperature before tapping (ladle in cycle or not), the liquid steel temperature refractory used also affect temperature and chemical composition decrease. The processes and the type of to homogenise


(injection of inert gases or electromagnetic

agitators) also cause a drop in the liquid steel temperature. It is estimated that the inert gas injection reduces the temperature in approximately 1.5C/minute in a 250-ton liquid

steel ladle. The additions made at the secondary refining stations or in ladle metallurgy also cause a drop in temperature, except for deoxidants materials, which has an

opposite effect. Table 6.2 presents an example of the effect the addition of some materials have in liquid steel temperature variation in the ladle. These are illustrative

data only, because they are affected by the chemical composition of the additions, among other factors such as the oxidation level of the metallic bath.

Table 6.2. Effect the addition of some materials variation in the ladle

have in liquid steel temperature



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;0__--!;;,,;;.~;;:.;~;;;::"~;;;::~.:~;~l~at...:!~~.e .... ,'--'"""'.

~-------St:~;.~ ~ ... ~----<----------~. ------------------4-----~~-----4

,_,_M __ ~ .... ~ __

Im-- ...

--~~---.= ..... ~ .7L~~-~~~7~:... ..

~-e... ~--------------~~

~5~ __ ~

Lime w.~<.,._", ... .+__-=~~~~~ Dolomite ~55 .~--~--.~-::-::-~.-~.~--.~-.--.. -.---~ .. -.---< -~-+-~---~:~;:--~--1 Metallicchromium.1 ~~


The completion of several secondary refining operations is directly affected by the liquid steel temperature. For example, the desulphurization and the flotation of inclusions will

be carried out more efficiently at higher temperatures, because the viscosity of the liquid metal and the slag will be reduced. The aluminum deoxidation is more efficient at lower temperatures. The completion of steel casting requires a temperature range in which

the premature solidification of the steel in the ladles or in the ingots mold feeding ducts does not occur. But a high temperature of the liquid steel may require the reduction of the casting speed to ensure a sufficiently thick solidified skin in the continuous casting output in order to stand the liquid metal pressure. The steel solidification start

temperature (Thq) varies depending on its chemical composition. Thus, another function of the addition of alloy elements is to increase steel temperature since it is combined with the injection of oxygen in sufficient quantities to generate


exothermal reactions to release the required energy for the aimed steel heating. The theoretical data from the chemical reactions that promote the steel heating are shown in



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Table 6.3, which shows the necessary oxygen volume for the reactions, as well as the temperature increase theoretically obtained from these reactions for each tonne of steel to be heated. Table 6.3.The theoretical heating data from the chemical reactions that promote the steel



Nmi02 per ton of chemical element added OJi23

Temperature increa&e {"ct per ton

or ~teel/kg

of added

Considering the energy heat released by the consumption to heat chernieal read ion added material 35,.2 333 33,1 31.6


only the


The effective heating of the liquid steel is a result of the balance of the heats generated by the exothermal reactions shown in Table 6.3 and thermal losses to the ladle and to the atmosphere. The thermal losses are greater in the first few minutes of the treatment and then stabilise, as the ladle refractory lining is thermally drenched. So, for the

optimization of the heating process, a good control of the ladle cycle and its pre-heating is necessary. The possibility of reheating the steel in secondary refining stations

prevents the overheating of the steel in the primary refining furnaces, reducing then a number of problems, such as the greater wear of this furnaces refractory lining. Besides the process of liquid steel reheating by the addition of alloys that promote exothermal reactions, heat can be provided to the liquid steel by the formation of an

electric arc due to the slag and liquid steel resistance to the passage of the electric current transmitted by the electrodes. The electric arc consists of an electrical discharge between a point on the electrode edge and another point on the bath surface. The high energy concentration in the electric arc can raise its temperature to values between

4,500 to 6,500C. The heat generated

in this region promotes the heating on the

metallic bath and slag surface. So as not to depend solely on the heat transfer by conduction to the lower regions of the ladle, which would make the heating process too slow, it is necessary to promote a certain bath agitation. The heating speed by the


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited employment of the electric arc stands around 3 to 4C/min, less than the speed that we . can use in chemical heating processes (around 6 to 8C/minute). It is observed that it is possible to reach speeds above or below the mentioned ranges according to the stage of the analysed process.


The term steel cleanliness refers to the strict control of the chemical composition and quantity and/or form of metallic or non-metallic inclusions present in the steel after its

solidification. The chemical composition control involves the presence of gases (0, N, H and N), of the elements C, S, P and the conforming of narrow ranges of alloy elements (AI, Mn, Si, Nb, Ti, etc). These inclusions harm the mechanical properties, such as

fatigue and impact resistance or ductility in the case of very thin sheets. The inclusions are varied size particles, from few millimetres to smaller than a micron (0001 mm).

These inclusions can originate from slag, from the refractory wear and from the steel preparation addition products. The inclusions can be classified as endogenous exogenous: - Endogenous inclusions crystallization,


are formed during the cooling of the liquid phase, either by

or by chemical reaction from the bath elements. As examples we have


the sulfides, oxides, silicates, aluminates and iron nitrides and other elements. - Exogenous inclusions

are formed from slag or refractory materials that are dragged As main examples we have silicate

by the liquid and retained during solidification.

inclusions, usually of vitreous and rounded structure. The good conformability of the materials used in the manufacture of products using

metals and its alloys as raw materials depends on ductility, on the anisotropy coefficient and on the concentration and distribution of inclusions present in the material. The

inclusions act as tension concentrators

and as nucleator sites of the material failure

during the mechanical forming process or during the use of the parts. Figure 6.6 shows some examples of defects in parts due to the presence of inclusions. Besides affecting steels properties, these inclusions may also cause the obstruction of the refractory

conduits used to transport the liquid metal from the steel ladle to the continuous casting mold or even in the conventional casting. Most inclusions present in the metallic bath


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited are of endogenous origin, meaning that they are caused by oxidation inside the bath. In principle, these additions would be removed from the liquid steel by the natural flotation process as they normally present a lower density than the liquid steel. However, in many cases the inclusions are retained at the bottom of the ladle for a long time due to ferrostatic pressure which makes its ascent more dificult. The liquid steel increased viscosity associated with the temperature reduction or chemical composition change

also reduces inclusions flotation. Another point that directly affects the flotation of inclusions is size. Considering

an inclusion in the solid state with an approximately

spherical shape, the higher its diameter, the faster the flotation will be (if the inclusion presents lower density than the liquid steel).

Figure 6.6 - Examples of parts defects due to the presence of inclusions: (a) exfoliation in a laminated steel plate, (b) tears in a laminated steel plate, (c) collapse of a O.175mm-diameter steel wire and (d) crack in a steel can for food packaging,


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited To reduce the amount of inclusions in the steel at the secondary refining stage you can employ a number of techniques to speed up flotation. Examples of these techniques are: - The injection of inert gases; - The use of electromagnetic agitators; - The use of synthetic or modified slag to absorb inclusions; - The tapping of the steel under vacuum or with a protective atmosphere of inert gases. The products of the ferroalloys deoxidation/addition and heat reactions are especially

the inclusions of A1203, MnO and Si02 If the inclusions are analyzed individually, it can be considered that the alumina is very damaging (as well as the titanium oxide)

because it is not deformable at any temperature,

being then extremely deleterious in

various steel applications or even in the continuous casting stage because it causes the obstruction of the refractory conduits used for liquid steel drainage. The inclusions tendency to plastic deformation will lead to a possible change in its wil determine a greater or

shape due to the application of a load and, consequently,

lesser local concentration of tensions. For example, sulfides suffer hot deformation and gain a well-defined orientation in finished products. This physical property plays an

important role in all operations involving deformation (forging, lamination, drawing, etc.) and show the harmful effects of the inclusions in the service part, which translates into variations in the fatigue limit tension, rupture tension, resilience and other mechanical characteristics. Table 6.4 shows the shape of various inclusions. A fundamental aspect related to the presence of inclusions and the hot rolling of steel is the anisotropy of mechanical properties as a result of the inclusions alignment in the rolling direction. In temperatures corresponding to the hot rolling of low alloy type steels, the manganese sulphide becomes soft, resulting in a large deformation in the lamination direction, causing a pronounced reduction of resistance in the transversal directions in relation to the longitudinal. However, this type of steel is much more employed in the automotive industry, where the parts are subjected to loads in various directions. To avoid the softening tendency of sulfides in hot rolling temperatures, elements that cause



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the formation of more stable and higher melting points sulfides, which are not deformed during rolling, are added maintaining its globular format, increasing the isotropy

(uniformity) of the mechanical properties. The AI203 inclusions formed have quite low dimensions and high interface tension. The grouping of small particles of Ab03 to form larger particles makes the flotation in the metallic bath easier. This grouping process crucially depends on the bath agitation; as it is slower, it is necessary to make the agitation longer to develop groups with a thrust stronger than the ferrostatic pressure that are then able to float and be absorbed by the slag. The Si02 inclusions precipitate immediately over the MnO inclusions forming a new phase that grows and floats quickly. If the steel composition is such that generate the formation of manganese silicate, the produced inclusion will be in liquid state and will float more easily. In case the steel deoxidation process producee a large amount of alumina inclusions, it is possible to make use of the addition of alloys containing calcium to allow for the

formation of globular inclusions of aluminum and calcium (xAI203.yCaO). Depending on the ratio between alumina and lime (ratio between the values of x and y) inclusions with a low melting point may be produced, what makes them be in liquid state at the steel ladle treatment temperature. These features facilitate the fast flotation and absorption of the inclusion by the slag. This usually occurs if the inclusions provide a CaO content around 50%. For example, the calcium aluminate CaO-6Ab03 1,850C while the temperature 3CaOAb03 (CA6) presents a melting temperature of the eutetic alloy formed by the of about



(C3A) and 12CaO.7 Ab03 (C12A7) is only 1,395C (see the


phase diagram in Figure 6.8 and the binary phase diagram CaO-AI203

in Figure 6.9, the Si02 influence not being considered). It is observed that if the amount of added CaO is not sufficient, it is possible to form an inclusion with higher melting point or larger dimensions in solid state than the alumina.



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Table 6.4. Different shapes of various inclusions

. Characteristic shape in the cast Type of inclusioni product ICharacteristic shape in the laminated : product


Sulfides MnS
....... ---------J---QlWl11



Cll.'$.. _~_'._'."._. __



Calcium aluminate

C\2A7 or

Calcium aluminate CA2 or CaO<2Ab03 Calcium aluminate with sulfide ring

-. . .
~ CaS'LArS






<!I$ <!I$

__ <!I$









I _-


<i!liJ <iil$<iil$





The same reasoning presented above to obtain liquid inclusions through a combination of the composites Ab03 and CaO can be applied to the composites Si02 and MnO. To prevent the formation of spine inclusions (MgO.AI203) causing obstruction in the

continuous casting, it is suggested a 1 to 3% of FeO and AI203 content above 3%.



ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

25! ~

2500 2400 2300 2200 _ 2100 V W 2000


Fusion point CaO pure

Liquid or L

~ 1900 4: ffi 1800 0.. ~ 1700 I1600 1500 1400 1300 1200


= 3CaO'Ab0

C12A7 = 12CaO'7A1203

J: o
CaO+~ +

= CaOAb03 CAz = 3CaO2A1203

CA CAa = CaO'6AI203






60 + 70




80 9




Figure 6.9 - CaO-AI203 binary phase diagram If the content of Mn added to steel is about 8 times higher than the sulphur content, the MnS is formed instead of FeS, thus preventing the formation of a low melting point phase on the grain contour, which can cause the appearance rolling. In the case of resulfurated steels, the ratio between the sulphur and manganese of cracks during hot

contents should be such as to provide the formation of a (Mn, Fe)S composite at the end of solidification. This composite contains from 0 to 30% Fe in accordance with the metal cooling cycle and the Mn/S ratio. These inclusions have higher melting point, generally greater than 1400C, depending on the quantities of iron and manganese in spheres shape which are not located within the limits of grain during the solidification process. So, contrary to FeS, which provides liquid films around the primary grains, the MnS does not cause intergranular weakness. It is considered that a better machinability index is associated with the presence of rough globular sulfides well distributed in the


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited metal matrix.



Another method used to increase cleanliness and adjust the composition of the steel prepared in the steel works is through the use of slag with stricter control of chemical composition and fluidity. The own coverage of the metallic bath with a slag layer,

already promotes a greater protection for the liquid steel, avoiding the absorption of atmosphere gases and reducing the loss of heat. However, in many cases, it is

important to carry out a control of the level of slag oxidation, especially in situations where an agitation of the metallic bath is performed becuase it is possible to have the formation of inclusions due to the contact of the bath chemical elements with the slag oxygen. In general lines one can consider that a higher content of FeO in the slag increases its power of oxidation. The slag composition can also be manipulated in order to increase its affinity with certain elements or chemical composites which are to be removed from the liquid steel. This change in the slag composition, when associated with the agitation of the metallic bath to increase the metal/slag interaction, facilitates the uptake and incorporation of metallic and non-metallic dephosphorization inclusions, and can also or deoxidation. The control

promote the liquid steel desulphurization,

of the slag basicity through the adjustment of the CaO content and the addition of MgO, usually in the range of 6 to 8%, also serves to reduce the wear of ladles or vessels refractory (refractory tile pipes) in secondary refining facilities. Silica based acid slags are rarely used in secondary refining operations, except in cases where the removal of the manganese in steels with low content of this element. The slag basicity used in the secondary refining measured only by the ratio between the levels (% in weight) of CaO and Si02, is in the range from 1.8 to 3.5%. The lowest values are normally used for the treatment of stainless steels and the higher range for the desulphurization of steel in

ladle furnaces. Traditionally, the oxides slag components are classified into acidic, basic and anphoteric (acidic or basic depending on the environment). Another classification is: basic (CaO, MgO), weak bases (MnO, FeO), weak acid (AI203) and acids (Si02, P20s). A basic oxide is an oxide of weak oxygen attraction that in a liquid bath tends to release its oxygen ion. In contrast, an acid oxide is the one whose central atom presents a strong oxygen attraction, and captures the oxygen anions released by the bases.


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited Slag viscosity is influenced by temperature and chemical composition. In the

establishment of a given slag chemical composition, it seeks to obtain a slag with proper fluidity in the temperature or stage of the furnace operation, neither too high so as not to make dificult the flow or the interaction of the slag with the liquid metal and also facilitating lime dissolution, nor too low to prevent the attack on the refractory lining. Isoviscosity ternary diagrams are available in the related literature. They are triangular diagrams showing the iso-viscosity lines according to the slag chemical composition. The viscosity of a liquid is directly related to the size of the ionic or molecular structural units. Generally, the viscosity of a liquid slag grows if the structural complexity is

increased. This occurs, for example, if the basicity decreases. It is observed that the silica (Si02) is formed by long ion molecular chains (Si04), which results in an increased slag viscosity. The presence of CaO allows to break these long chains through the formation of Ca+2 and 0.2 ions, thus making the slag more fluid. MgO acts in the same direction. The presence of fluoride ions (provided by the addition of the CaF2 fluorite) also reduces the viscosity because this element acts like the oxygen ions in the

breaking of the (Si04) molecular chains sequence. The presence of solid particles in the slag also exerts great influence on the increase of its viscosity. AL and Pr Atoms have a behavior similar to Si atoms. A higher content of FeO also reduces the slag viscosity by reducing its melting temperature and by having 0-2 ions. To meet the objectives above, it may be necessary to change the composition of the slag from the primary refining furnace. Another trick is to reduce the passage of the primary refining furnace slag to the ladle refining to the maximum and the addition of a slag previously produced in the steelmaking through the mixture of components such as lime, fluorite, aluminous additives (aluminum or aluminum sludge), MgO or dolomite, limestone, calcium carbide, etc. In some cases, the synthetic slag can be pre-melted, solidified and transformed into powder to facilitate its addition to the steel ladle or be purchased from specialized suppliers. This type of slag is usually called synthetic slag. In case of using a ladle furnace to perform the secondary refining, the synthetic slag will still have the function of preventing the exposure of the electric arc during the heating, reducing the ladle and cap (roof) refractory wear. Normally the slags that present such features belong to the system CaO-AI203-Si02, with additions of AIF3, NaAIF4, Na2C03, CaF2 or other composites. The addition of CaF2


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited favors steel desulphurization. To define the synthetic slag composition the ternary

diagrams should be used aimed to determine

a ratio between the 3 main oxides

resulting in a slag melting point below 1300C and a low oxygen activity. For example, a CaO.Si02.AI203 system slag with a ratio of the 3 components of 38-42-20 (region

indicated with the letter S - calcium silicates - in the ternary diagram - Figure 6.8) presents low reactivity with the refractory while a ratio in the range of 50-7-43 (region indicated with the letter A - calcium aluminates - in the ternary diagram - Figure 6.8) presents good results in steel desulphurization some authors. and dephosphorization according to

'00).. -:..i{

(j;t 0
li<IUid Surface



fi) 9


A-t;).. 03 ~ 30
50:;.... ::3~




A-t<;...rt7J .s

' -e S''O cto,

10(..4 o










CA 0 ::. "1(//0
~CO,. ~ 3itPIo
All-03 .. ,.1 i D10

Figure 6.8 Ternary diagram

Other examples of slag compositions

used in secondary refining units are shown in

Table 6.5. In this case, we have the example of two types of slag, for the refining of


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited steels killed by the addition of aluminum and silicon, respectively.

Table 6.5 - Examples of steel secondary refining slag composition.


%. of slag weight for steels

killed with AI

% of slag weight for steels killed with Si

Lime plays a key role in the performance of slag in the steel secondary refining. In the case of adding lime to the slag threre shall be given conditions for its dissolution and

incorporation into the slag to ensure its performance. This dissolution occurs through a

series of reactions such as: (Si02) + 2(CaO)

= (2CaO.Si02)

The lower the slag viscosity the faster the lime dissolution will be. On the other hand, a

greater contact between the slag and lime particles favors lime dissolution. So the more


porous and reduced the lime granulometry and the greater the metallic bath agitation, the faster the lime dissolution.


The two most widely methods used to promote agitation or movement of the liquid steel are the inert gases injection systems and the electromagnetic agitators. The agitation of

the metallic bath associated or not with the slag agitation is applied aiming at: ~ - The homogenization of chemical composition and temperature. - The flotation of inclusions.


~ ~ ~ ~


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- The dissolution of the additions made. - The assistance to steel desulphurization, dephosphorization and deoxidation.

As the small inclusions tend to float to the surface of the bath too slowly, their climb is forced with the injection or bubbling of inert gases. The inclusion is adsorbed to the surface of the gas bubble (e.g. argon) and the upward movement is accelerated by the forced convection of the liquid steel, or, the movement of the liquid induced by the


~ ~

injection of inert gases, which also allows the achievement of greater homogeinity in the temperature and chemical composition of the metallic bath. However, the agitation which leads to a greater of the overheating

promotes a greater loss of temperature steel.

The injection of gases can be accomplished through plugs or bricks in the ladles (at the bottom or the side wall) or submerged draining lances. The plugs are pieces used for the and may have different geometries

of gases made of refractory material

(usually conical pieces) such as: interconnected empty spaces due to the use of a gross and little compressed sand (porous plug), set of vertical holes distributed in the brick periphery (cylindrical channels plug) and capillary rings or cracks (slot plug). The

lances consist of a metal tube lined with refractory. The choice between a spear and one of the porous plugs types depends on the situation of each steelmaking in relation to the size and type of maintenance of the ladle refractory, the reliability of the operation and the tightness of the gas injection system and the type of process used in the secondary refining stage. In general it can be said that the lances have the advantage of not requiring the change of the ladle configuration safety and the disadvantage and having greater operation

of making necessary the building of a structure for its in addition to presenting a warp if it is

moving and, in some cases, its pre-heating,

subjected to a long heating cycle. It also presents a greater surface area exposed to the refractory wear. The lance allows largest area of agitation, greater ability to inject powder and reduces ladle pre-preparation stage. However, there is a need to operate

with higher flow rates, which favors homogeneity and cause great interaction between the metal and the slag, which in the steel desulphurization processes are extremely

beneficial, but may, however, compromise the cleanliness and content adjustment of the aluminum if not well controlled. The metallic bath agitation is only performed at the


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited inert gas injection station, while in the case of the plug this agitation can be initiated in steel tapping stage in the primary refining furnaces and continue during the ladle transport and treatment stages in the secondary refining stations and, in some cases, in the waiting stage in the continuous casting tower. Normally, the plug has the advantage of allowing the control of very low gas flow rates and the formation of smaller and higher quantity bubbles depending on the geometry of its gas passage channels. Lower flow rates favor inclusions fluctuation. The use of the plug also reduces the formation of dead zones in the steel ladle bottom, i.e., allow the movement of liquid steel within a greater region of the ladle. Regarding lances, the plug presents the disadvantage of offering a greater risk of metal leakage (more severe

refractory wear in some points) or its clogging, which in the latter case is settled with the use of reserve lances. Similar to the lances, the use of a plug also provides an excellent interaction between the metal and the slag.

Figure 6.14 shows a schematic representation of the inert gas injection through a plug located in the center of the ladle base. It can be observed the formation of a gas bubbles passage region which is commonly known as feather, presenting the format of a mushroom or a cone. The top of the feather is called dome having in it a region called eye where rupture occurs at the slag layer exposing the steel to the atmosphere, thus experiencing a thermal loss and the absorption of gases from the atmosphere. The

control of the opening of the eye in the slag layer is of great industrial interest, because it is at this location that undesirable reactions between the metal and air (reoxidation) may occur. On the other hand, this opening of the eye can also be used for the addition of alloys, avoiding losses to the slag. Therefore, the situations presented by Figures 6.14a and 6.14b can be target the stage and the purpose of the steel treatment. The location of the plug or the lance must be such as to minimize the formation of dead zones, or, areas where the liquid remains stagnant. Usually the location of the plug, bricks or lances are decentralized in relation to the central axis of the ladle and closer to the ladle bottom (in the case of a lance or side plug) to bring the best results in terms of homogenization of the liquid steel. The height of the dome is important for the definition of the height of the slag layer (he), needed to avoid the exposure of the metallic bath to the atmosphere for a given gas


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited flow rate, or to break the slag layer in the case of using an oxygen injection lance in of the metallic bath for a chemical heating. I




Inert gas InJectl~



Brick or plug

Figure 6.14 - Schematic representation of inert gas injection in a liquid steel ladle: with the opening of the steel eye in the slag (a) and without disruption of the slag layer (b).

The injection of inert gas to promote the agitation of the metallic bath can also provide some steel degassing, because molecules of H2 and N2 can be adsorbed on the surface of the argon bubbles, dragging these elements to outside the metallic bath. The removal of H atoms from the metallic bath is easier than N atoms, because H presents a smaller atomic diameter, while N atoms have a larger diameter and its capture by inert gas bubbles is made difficult by the tensoactive layer formed mainly due to the presence of Sand 0 elements in the metallic bath. S contents of over

0.003% and 0 contents above 5 ppm greatly reduces the escape of N atoms from the metallic bath. The movement of the liquid steel through the use of electromagnetic agitators is an agitators are

alternative to the injection of inert gases systems. The electromagnetic

basically constituted of a coil (water cooled) through which runs an electric alternate current generating an electromagnetic steel. This electromagnetic field surrounding the ladle containing the liquid

field causes the formation of induced currents, generating


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited electromagnetic forces that promote the movement of the liquid metal (Figure 6.15).


Electromagnetic agitator ~

,.-". .

Figure 6.15 - Schematic representation of an electromagnetic corresponding flow lines in the liquid steel in a ladle. agitator with the By adjusting the intensity of the current in the coil and the reversal in the direction of current flow, you can vary the magnitude of the bath movement and the movement direction, according to what is desired in a particular stage of the process. Summarizing, it may be said that the processes that make use of inert gas injection or processes that use electromagnetic homogenisation systems perform the agitation and consequent of the liquid steel, the

of the chemical composition and temperature

flotation of inclusions and the dissolution of added alloys. The choice of a particular process depends on factors such as the cost of energy to the company and if the facility is new or if new equipment will be introduced, which can result in the alteration of the ladle type available. In principle, the investment for implementation of a magnetic agitators system is higher


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited than inert gases injection. This latter system promotes a greater agitation, which

facilitates metal/slag reactions, an important factor when you want an intense steel desulphurization or dephosphorization. reversal of the steel flow direction homogenization of temperature The electromagnetic agitators system allows the facilitating the flotation of inclusions and the




due to a smaller

disruption of this layer, reduces the risk of the incorporation of elements such as, as for example, the carbon, or gases from the atmosphere like Nand H, also reducing the

losses of alloy elements by oxidation. The operational safety is greater than in the inert gases injection processes. It is possible to use the electromagnetic agitator continuously since you have the agitator attached to a ladle transfer car. The risk of the formation of dead zones in the steel ladle is also reduced. 10 - DESULPHURIZATION AND DEPHOSPHORIZATION

It was said earlier that the addition of a synthetic slag is performed aiming at the capture/incorporation of inclusions and protection of the metallic bath prevening the

absorption of gases from the atmosphere and reducing heat loss. In addition to these aspects, you can add the slag with an aim to perform steel desulphurization dephosphorization. The desulphurization is possible if the composition of the synthetic slag is such that it and/or

can absorb the sulphur. A slag containing calcium aluminate (CaO.AI203) or fluorite base slag (CaO.CaF2 or CaO.Ab03.CaF2) has a much higher desulphurization power

than a slag full of calcium silicate (CaO Si02). One of the main chemical reactions by which the steel desulphurization occurs is: 3[S] + 3(CaO) + 2[AI] = 3 (CaS) + (A 203) (s3)

The desulphurization requires a previous steel and slag deoxidation, so that the reversal of the following reaction is prevented: [S]+(CaO)=(CaS)+[O] It was observed that apart from CaO, the composites (s4) MgO, FeO, Na20 and other

oxides, can contribute, with greater or lesser intensity, the oxygen ions necessary for liquid steel dephosphorization. The sulfides absorption capacity index presented earlier



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in this text can be used to better understand the influence of various types of oxides in steel desulphurization. The removal of alumina inclusions may also be necessary to prevent the following reaction:

The use of a metallic bath agitation system with inductive methods instead of the inert gas injection has a lower desulphurization efficiency because altough the inductive

method usually provides a greater agitation of the liquid metal, the slag is much less agitated making the metal/slag interaction difficult, damaging desulphurization. The dephosphorization is favoured by low temperatures, increase in slag basicity and is an operation

steel and slag oxidation. It should be noted that if the dephosphorization that requires oxidized

slag, the same is not true for all the other steel refining in primary refining

operations. Thus, the ideal is the completion of dephosphorization

furnaces, or previously in operations of liquid pig iron pre-treatment and, in some cases, in the ladle, after the tapping. Later, it is recommended that the slag is fully removed afidreplaced by another, adjusted to the subsequent stages of steel treatment. 11 - VACUUM METALLURGY


An important aspect of the production of high cleanliness steels is the fact that, most of the impurities and inclusions in the steel come directly or indirectly from the reactions between the steel alloy elements with oxygen and nitrogen to form oxides and nitrides. In order to achieve low levels of inclusions, several processes using vacuum or inert gas injection were developed. However, the development of vacuum metallurgy

resulted mainly from the need to produce degassed steels. This is due to the fact that gases as H, Nand 0 harm the mechanical properties of the steel, as will be detailed

below. The techniques of steel degassing were developed to reduce the incorporation of these gases, since noble gases (argon for example) do not react chemically and are insoluble in the liquid steel. Moreover, it is possible to use low pressure to reduce the carbon content of steel to values around 0.003% in weight (approximately 30 ppm) or it is

less, typical of IF steels (interstitial free). It is observed that thermodinamically,


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited possible to reduce the carbon content to values below 0.02% in the converter

(economically, this limit is 0.035%). Secondary refining usinq vacuum is based on the fact that the reduction in pressure results in a gaseous reaction of the products outside their chemical phenomenon balance. This

becomes a basic conducting force of the reaction and continues until a

new balance, with a lower level of solubility of solute in the solvent, is established as a function of the prevailing pressure. In other words, it is possible to reduce the content of gases absorbed degassing by the liquid metal by reducing the local pressure. are most effective if they are combined The vacuum


with the inert gases

injection to reduce the partial gases pressure. Firstly, it will be discussed the effect of the presence of hydrogen in steel. Hydrogen has always been considered a chemical element harmful to steel, although, depending on the application, its content can be judged as tolerable, As a chemical

element of very small diameter, the hydrogen can be found in solid solution in the crystal structure of the metals and its alloys and move up by diffusion in the solid state with relative easiness. The displacement of hydrogen atoms is strongly influenced by

the presence of hydrogen trappers, such as grain contours, dislocations, carbides and non-metallic particles. Some factors contribute to increase or decrease the easiness

with which the hydrogen solubilizes and/or spreads itself in solid metallic materials at room temperature: chemical composition, crystalline of oxides structure, metals microstructure, surface and

substructure, temperature.


rate, presence

on the

It is worth noting in Figure 6.17 that the melting temperature of pure iron

(1538C) and still in the liquid state iron absorbs about 24 ppm (corresponding to 27 ml of hydrogen gas at 1 atm of pressure to 100g iron). This solubility falls to 7 ppm at the same temperature (1538 C). But with the steel in the solid state (iron 8), it is reduced to less than 1 ppm in temperature (iron a). These values can be changed due to the for the same space (interstices) or due to the

presence of other gases competing combination of hydrogen

with other alloy elements

to form stable solid or liquid

composites in the cited temperature ranges. It is observed that the solubility of hydrogen in steel is changed due to the presence of other alloy elements, being thar C, B and AI tend to reduce the solubility, whereas Nb, Cr and Mn tend to increase the solubility.


ArcelorMittol Point Lisas Limited Besides the hydrogen present in the liquid steel during the manufacturing process and the hydrogen trapped during the solidification stage, other hydrogen atoms


produced or resulting from other forms of contamination, can enter the

crystalline network and permeate the steel. The amount of hydrogen absorbed by the liquid metal depends on the extent to which the exothermal h 1 reaction is processed: If we consider the following data: temperature pressure in weight. AG = -8714 - 7,28T (kcalJmol)

1600C (iron in the liquid state), for a

1 atm, we have that the residual content of hydrogen is 25 ppm or 0.0468%

(h 1)

It should be noted that the hydrogen responsible for these phenomena may have the

following origins: - Absorption by the liquid metal due to contamination of the oxygen blown in the primary refining furnaces; - Diffusion of hydrogen through the slag covering the metallic bath; - Hydrogen from the dissociation alloys, fluxing agents, synthetic continuous casting etc; - Hydrogen from the dissociation of the humidity in the ladle furnace electric arc or in the arc electric furnace; - Air humidity from liquid metal exposure while in the form of jet in tapping operations; - Hydrogen as part of items such as iron ore, briquettes, etc .. of the humidity in the junk or the additions of ferroslag, metals, refractories or flux powder from the


From the ferroalloys usually added to the metallic bath, the Fe-Mn is probably the one that most contributes to the absorption of hydrogen by the liquid metal. Additions in the ladle containing humidity will react with the liquid steel obeying the following equation:



~ ~


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~ ~ ~

The use of vacuum processes to reduce hydrogen content in steels is linked to the fact that if the pressure is reduced to 0.00131 atm (1 torr or 1 Hg mm) the residual content of hydrogen would be 0.9 ppm.


The absorption of hydrogen from the humidity of the refractories of ladles used for steel storage is relevant at the start of the campaign, depending on the type of drying of


procedure employed in the steel plant. However, a critical point is the absorption hydrogen continuous due to the cold tundish casting because humidity when this procedure presented

~ ~

is used in the noise

of the advantages

in gas saving,

elimination in the heating stage and faster return of the continuous casting machine in case of unexpected stop ... Examples of other chemical reactions involving the water that cause the absorption of hydrogen by the liquid steel are:

~ ~



4[H] + (Sl02]


o elemento


pode apresentar efeitos prejudiciais ou benefices aos acos em posteriores e/ou da

funcao do teor deste elemento e das eta pas de processamento aplicacao dos acos, Como exemplos onde

e necessaria

a presence de um determinado

teor de nitroqenio (nitroqenio em faixa) podem ser citados: Nitrogen can present beneficial or harmful effects on steels depending on the content and the later preparation stages and/or application of the steels. As examples where the presence of a certain level of nitrogen (nitrogen in range) is necessary we can mention: - Micoralloyed steels, in which the nitrogen is added to combine with the microalloying elements (mainly Ti) with the objective of promoting a grain refinement, allowing an

increase of resistance and ductility and, simultaneously, generating an increase in these steels tenacity.



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- The possibility of formed nitrides act as inhibitors of grain growth is also used in heat treatments as direct hardening and the coiling and cooling stages in hot rolling. - Bake Hardening steels in which the diffusion of nitrogen during the heating of the steel slab (in the drying of a stamped slab, for example) causes a slight increase in the resistance to the flow of the material from the plate (10 to 20%), allowing the use of a thiner slab for a given application. However, in many cases the content of residual nitrogen is harmful to the steels, justifying the use of vacuum degassing processes or operational procedures to avoid, or at least reduce, the inclusion of this element in steel. As examples of the harmful effects of nitrogen, we can mention: - Appearance phenomenon, of a flow stage in the tension-deformation curve due to the ageing

causing ductility reduction, the increase of flow limit and the surging of

defects on the slabs surface during the cold rolling or stamping (defects called Luders tracks or distension lines). - Embrittlement of welded joints. - Formation of undesirable nitrides, as for example in the boron steels where the boron added to increase steel hardenability can combine with the nitrogen diverting it from its original function. This requires the addition of titanium during the preparation of these steels resulting in an increased of production costs. - Favouring of corrosion under tension due to its effect on increasing the tendency of intergranular cracks. In the stage of steel primary refining in the primary refining furnaces, the nitrogen can be embedded in the steel mainly due to the presence of this element as impurity in the blown oxygen. Part of the nitrogen can be removed through the presence of CO


bubbles in the bath. During tapping stage, air bubbles are trapped by liquid metal when the flow of steel is directed to the tapping ladle. The amount of air trapped by the metallic bath increases as the liquid free fall height increases. Other sources

contributing to an increase in nitrogen content (pickup) are the petroleum coke, used for recarburization, and several of the ferroalloys, especially Fe-Ti, Fe-V and Fe-Cr with low



~ ~ ~ ~

ArcelorMittal Point Lises Limited or medium incorporation carbon content. In the continuous casting, there may also be the
~ ~ ~

of nitrogen, especially when not using argon or other inert gas for the

sealing of the liquid metal flow from the tapping ladle to the mold. The amount of nitrogen contained in the trapped air absorbed by the liquid metal


depends on the extent to which the following exothermal reaction takes place:
L\.GO =-2370 - 4,827


(n1 )


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited ~ ~ The content of nitrogen present in the liquid steel can be determined, considering the equation presented below (for the temperature of 1600C):


= 0,0468 ~y2

This equation does not consider the influence of other alloy elements present in the iron, which may increase (Cr, V, Mn, Mo, Ta, W) or decrease (0, C, Si, Ca, Ni) the ability of the metallic bath to absorb hydrogen. If we consider the following data: temperature

1600C, pressure

1 atm, we have the

residual nitrogen content of 468 ppm or 0.0468% in weight. If the pressure is reduced to 0.00131 atm (1 torr or 1 mm Hg), the residual nitrogen content would be 17 ppm. The graph of Figure 6.19 shows the variation of nitrogen solubility in iron depending on the temperature and the alotropic form of the iron. It is known that active solutes (tensoactives) as the oxygen and the sulphur slow down the kinetics of the absorption or removal of nitrogen in steel. This occurs because these elements block the N bubbles nucleation sites in the metal-gas interface. In other words, the higher the concentration absorption of oxygen or sulfur in steel, the lower the intensity of process. At the same time, only in

of nitrogen in the steel preparation

deoxided steels with low sulphur content, the vacuum removal of nitrogen is effective. However, if the carbon content and the reigning thermodynamics and kinetics conditions

are such that there is the formation of CO, the bubbles of this gas can act to reduce the partial pressure of N facilitating the removal of this element by the formation of N2 bubbles. The content of nitrogen in the steel depends on the partial pressure of

nitrogen, which can be influenced by the type of dragging gas and/or the pressure in the metallurgical reactor where the vacuum is performed. The content of nitrogen increases by applying a higher pressure.

[CJ + [0] +-?- (CO)98Sno ayo


= -5306

- 9,16T (kcal/mol)


We have that concentrations the Vacher-Hamilton

(levels) of carbon and oxygen are in balance according to

ratio which determines the balance constant (K):



~ ~


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'" '"

The removal of carbon (and oxygen) from liquid steel by the application of vacuum is . based on pressure influence on the chemical reaction: For a temperature of 1600C, the above equation is transformed into:






In this equation it is assumed that the concentration weight%. If we consider the following data:

of the elements is provided in


- Carbon content in steel <0.5%, temperature

1600C and pressure

1 atm, we have:

%C x %0

= 0,0023 =
100 ppm (0.01 % in weight), the residual carbon

In this situation, for an oxygen content

content is 2300 ppm or 0.23% in weight. If the partial pressure was reduced to a value of, for example, 0.00131 atm (1 torr or 1 mm Hg) the residual carbon content would be 3 ppm. It is obvious that the reduction of pressure allows the obtaintion of a final carbon content




substantially reaction:

reduced. However, if we regard the direct deoxidation

according to the

(01 )



The oxygen content in balance is given according to the relation:

Using this equation, it is possible to conclude that residual oxygen contents of 100 ppm would only be achievable with the application of vacuum corresponding to 1.28 10-11

~ ~

atm. This result seems to exclude the direct remotion of oxygen via vacuum. So the vacuum deoxidation can only occur through the formation of CO, according to the

~ ~



ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited reaction c4. The carbon and oxygen contents, dissolved in the liquid steel, are shown in Figure 6.20 for different pressures of CO. It is important to note that the values of carbon and oxygen shown in the diagram are not achieved in practice. The reduction of the pressure above the one the provided by the theoretical equation. The reasons for this behavior are the influences of slag, refractories and, in particular, the time needed to reach the balance in treatment cycles (kinetic limit).


Pea = 50 torr


s:: 4J c cv

E 300 8: 200


Pee = 10 torr Peo = 5 torr


20 p co 3

~ ><

Pco = 3 torr

= 0,5 torr


= 1 torr

Carbon content (ppm)

Figure 6.20 - Balance carbon-oxygen at 1600C for different values of CO pressures in the absence of other alloy elements. It is observed that a minimum level of dissolved oxygen in the bath is necessary for an effective decarburation by vacuum treatment processes. In the case of a low content of dissolved oxygen, the procedure for decarburation must be preceded by the injection of oxygen in the bath, causing delays in the process. At the same time, a very high level of oxygen before decarburation requires deoxidation by the addition of carbon or



ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited If the addition of carbon during treatment to correct an excessive decarburation is

needed, a large amount of CO gas is formed, which can cause an agitation in the vessel and in the ladle. Deoxidation by aluminum when made at the beginning is beneficial because the alumina has enough time to float. If the initial carbon content is too high, some oxidants additions, such as iron ore or scale, can be done to promote

decarbu ration. The standard balance values shown in Figures 6.20 and 6.21 are only achieved after a long time of vacuum treatment. For practical applications decarburation it is important to know the

speed and how it can be influenced, so that we can achieve very low

levels of carbon in the shortest time possible.

Balance between dissolved C and 0

1800 -1Atm 0,1Atm -O~01 Atm

1600 1400 _1200 E 8:1000 ......,


600 400 200

001 0,02 0,03
0,04 0,05
0,06 0,01 0,08 C % in weight

Figure 6.21 - Carbon-oxygen balance at 1600C for different CO pressures values in the absence of other alloy elements.



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~ ArcelorMittal

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A preliminary


of the continuous

casting process may be carried out (semi-

considering the kind of finished product to be obtained from the semi-products

finished) produced in the continuous casting machines, that is, flat product or non-flat product (long), as shown in Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1. This classification is important

because, normally, the technology used for each group presents significant differences, because of the cross sections' dimensions that affect the time required for solidification and product's resistance to folding, besides the other factors that will be discussed throughout this work. About 40% of the world's ingot steel production is transformed into long products and the rest into flat products. Table 3.1 Types of products
Laminatted Product Raw Material produced in Continuous casting Thick plate; Thin slab; Strip Bloom; Billet; Blank

Flat Product Non-Flat or Long Product

Rectangular billet

Thick plate from Conventional Continuous Caster


Figure 3.1 - Schematic representation of the cross sections' shapes of the common products of the continuous casting process.

In terms of dimensions, the Brazilian standard specifications

defines a bloom as a


ArcelorMittol Point Lisas Limited product with a square cross section with an area bigger than 22.500mm2, which would correspond to a square with an edge of 150mm. The relation between the bloom's height and thickness must be equal to or smaller than 2 and the edges are rounded. This definition is not valid for all countries. Many aspects may be used to establish the separation between billets and blooms. For example, the need for a full set of rolls (segments) for the support of the blank at the mould outlet instead of one or more rolls and the possibility of using tubular moulds in the case of billets. Some of the standard specifications and companies consider 240 x 240 mm to be the limit; in the USA the

limit is 160 x 160 mm. Blooms with up to 500 x 600 mm may be casted. The semifinished product with a dimension smaller than the one referred to above is called a billet. Billets are usually cast up to a minimum section of 75 x 75 mm. The casting of a round billet is mainly performed aiming at seamless tube rolling. They may also be used on shaft forging or steel tube extrusion.

Usually, the secondary


stage that precedes the billets casting is more

sophisticated than the one that precedes the bloom casting. This is due to the fact that the intermediate stages required for the bloom rolling, before the final rolling stages for finished products, allow for internal and external inspections, making possible the of superficial defects


of the billet rolled from the bloom (elimination

through grinding or scarfing), the disposal of the billets' defected regions or even the separation of parts disqualified by internal soundness tests. This way, in the case of the blooms, it is possible to partially make up for the lower strictness in the secondary metallurgy stage. This is not a general rule, considering that in the case of heavy rolled sections it is not always necessary to get a rolled billet from a bloom. Despite the higher costs, this double stage of rolling and the slower casting is considered by some authors to be an advantage of the bloom's continuous casting over the billets'.

The blanks are cast aiming to reduce the number of steps of the beams and sections hot rolling, thus reducing the production costs in the rolling stage, decreasing the energy use and increasing the steel making plant productivity. The slabs cast through the conventional process, present a thickness of 200 to 400 mm and width of 600 to 4000 mm. The thin slabs are cast between 30 and 150 mm.



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As for the position of the casting, the basic ways of building continuous

casting the the

machines are presented on figure 3.2. In this case, we take into consideration casting of steel and nonferrous materials. In the case of steel in particular,

continuous casting with horizontal machines is not used on industrial scale. In the case of nonferrous, it is also possible to cast hollow round bars. In this work, the expression work piece will be used to represent the piece that is being casted. It may refer to a slab, a billet, a bloom or a blank. In many cases the term strand may be used with a similar meaning, however, designating each of the 'channels' through which the molten steel heats from the tundish. The number of strands in a machine may vary from 1 to 12 or more, depending on the type of product that is being casted, its dimensions, the type of metallic alloy, the amount of production and productivity needed and the

technological level of the equipment used.


Horizontal and vertical machines are currently used for the _continuous casting of nonferrous metals and its alloys. These machines are used, for example, for aluminium and copper alloys, which are nonferrous materials widly used in our society. Such

materials present a high thermal conductivity, decreasing the amount of time required for the solidification, concluding it inside the mould, which makes it easier to build

continuous casting machines. Another important characteristic of these machines is the fact that nonferrous metals usually use permanent moulds, with a periodic withdrawal of the shaft to reduce friction, unlike the steel continuous casting machine in which the mould must perform a vertical oscilation movement, besides the use of lubricant, to avoid the sticking of the solidified skin to the mould, which would cause cracks and the breaking of the skin, and consequently disastrous machine stopage. the leakage of the core molten steel and a

Because the steels are alloys with a reduced capacity of heat transfer (low thermal conductivity), the solidification is a lot slower, causing a liquid core to still exist enclosed by a solid skin in the position that corresponds to the exit of the mould workpiece. For this affirmation we are considering the range of casting speed normally adopted by steel

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited mills to allow for adequate process productivity. This requires a more careful and

expensive continuous casting machine project. However, the liquid core makes it easier to bend the workpiece, allowing the construction of curved or vertical-curved continuous casting machines, to reduce the cost of machines construction casting speed. and to reach a high

(d) maqulne vertical

(a) maquina verticalcurva


(e) maquina horizontal Forno molde Resfriamento secundario

Figure 3.2 - Schematic representation of the types of continuous casting machines.

Basically, the installation of a modern continuous casting machine, such as the one shown on figure 3.3, is composed by the following equipment:

a) A tundish located between the ladle and the mould to feed the strands or the strand at a coltroled outflow, serve as a steel "lung" while the ladles are changed, avoiding a casting interruption and allowing an additional flotation of inclusions, a reheat of the steel (in certain companies) and even the addition of alloys to generate minor

modifications on the steel chemical compound. b) The mould, made of electrolitic copper, is cooled internally with water to remove heat


Point Lisas Limited

from the molten steel and help form an initial solidification on the skin, thick enough to

resist the liquid metal pressure. c) The secondary cooling zone equipped with stripper, support, bending and

unbending subdivided

rolls, and water sprays to complete the solidification; into several subzones

this area may be

allowing a control that will make the cooling as

uniform as possible, without any major variation in temperature throughout the length and the tranversal section of the cast product; the stipper rolls have an adjustable speed, to move the produced work piece. d) Blowtorch or guillotines to cut the slabs, billests, blooms or blanks. e) Devices to perform the marking, trimming and transportation of the cutted pieces.

----orre girat6ria ~~ ~ Ayo liquido.$.;tea. anela de aco .../.J4.rAe. Distribuidor


Molde Zona de -~ resfriamento primario Zona de resfriamento se/"dario

Maquina de corte

Barta fals

Figure 3.3 Representation of a continuous casting machine.

In general, it could be considered that the continuous casting consists of the following stages:

a) The introduction of a dummy bar into the mould to prevent the leakage of liquid steel through the bottom of the mould at the beginning of the casting. b) The tapping of liquid metal from the ladle to a tundish (outdoors - open jet, or through

~ ArcelorMittal

Point Lisas Limited level is reached, and then one or more

brick tubes - long tube) until a predetermined

valves ar opened (slide or calibrated) in the lower area of the tundish. e liquid metal flows through the openings at the bottom of the mould through a brick tube (submerged tube) feeding the water cooled copper mould, or flows freely (open jet). d) There is an intense heat transfer in the mould, which causes the metal solidification and the formation of a solid layer (skin); there is also a heat transfer to the head of the dummy bar, ensuring a fast solidification of the work piece tip, anticipating its stripping. e) Movements of the motorized rolls for the continuous extraction of the workpiece

(semi-finished work in progress). f) With the continuous movement of the formed solid skin, pulled by the rotation

movement of the extracting rolls, its thickness increases when it reaches the water sprays and/or air in the secondary cooling area. g) When a dummy bar goes through the horizontal area of the machine, it is

disconnected from the workpiece, removed from the machine and stored. h) Next, the blowtorchs or guillotines cut the cast products at the desired length. i) In somecasesit is necessary to trim the area where the cut was made.

j) Next, the cast p~~d~ct~ maybe automatically marked. k) These products are transferred to cooling beds (billets and blooms) or to stacking beds (slabs). I) The cooling of cast products may be finished in the conditioning area through several methods (air, water or in domes), followed by an inspection stage and, if necessary, a reconditioning (trimming, cutting or grinding) or it may be immediatly rolled; an

additional marking of the cast products may be performed through automatic devices or manually. m) The liquid metal must flow continuously workpiece is extracted from the machine. In this work, we will consider a sequence as the number of heats cast from the moment the machine starts to run to the moment it stops for inspections or maintenance, (a new into the mould at the same rate that the

requiring the insertion of a dummy bar to restart the casting operations sequence).


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited To prevent the skin from sticking onto the mould walls, which may cause cracks on the skin, we must consider the following aspects:

(process suggested by Junghans in 1934),


a) The




alternating up and down movements. Such movements are adjusted by a course or amplitude (distance that needs to be covered by the mould in going up and down), and by a frequency (the moving rate fof the mould). These adjusting variables affect the mould lubricant efficiency during the process, through a variable known as negative stripping time, which corresponds to the moment when the speed of the mould is

higher than the speed of the solid skin extraction, avoiding sticking. b) A lubricant passes through the interface between the solid skin and the copper slab. In the case of slabs and blooms a synthetic slag called fluxing agent is used, and in the case billets, vegetable oil can be used. The fluxing agent, in contact with the steel, forms a liquid the mo lag which flows through the gap left by the solid and contracted skin and

wall. The same principle applies in the case of billets and vegetable oil.

When the solid skin is resistant enough to contain the liquid steel, it may be extracted from the mould. The minimum thickness must range from 10 to 20 mm. After being out of the mould, the skin starts to suffer the action of the metalostatic pressure related to the height of the liquid steel column. This pressure is nothing more than the hydrostatic pressure related to the liquid metal and may be also called ferrostatic pressure. Under this pressure, the solid skin tends to expand causing a phenomenon called bulging.

This way, it is of utmost importance to use a set of water sprays to speed up the solidification process, so that the thickness of the skin is increased and has more

mechanical resistance to the metalostatic pressure. However, when the solid skin is not thick enough to resist the metalostatic pressure, it is important to use a support system that keeps the skin under pressure, preventing its expansion. It can be observed that the cooling system goes up to the end of the machine where the workpiece is finished.

After leaving the machine, there is a very long piece, called workpiece or strand (going

from the mould up to the beginning of the cut in the cutting machine). This piece is then cut into defined measurements, specifications according to the final use of the product or the for the products cast in that steel that is part of a steel

set by the processing


making plant. After this point some of the main equipment

continuous casting unit and its respective operational procedures will be described.

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

The ladles support during the casting may be provided by cranes, cradles, transfer cars or rotating towers. The first two systems are older and rarely used because of their obvious limitations such as time to change the ladles and operational flexibility. The transfer cars are generally used when there is no need to switch from one warehouse to another to transfer the ladle from the refining area to the casting area, making maintenance easier. However, two cars are required, using a larger area.

The rotating tower receives the ladle full of steel from the refining unit, and holds it over the tundish preparation (figure 3.3). With a 1800 spin, the empty ladle is cleared to the a quick switch of ladles and giving continuance to the

area, allowing

process without interruption or even casting speed reduction if there are no problems with the nozzle of the ladle. The rotation speed of the towers is close to 1 rpm to avoid turbulence on the liquid steel. The support towers are large structures, capable of

holding 2 full ladles and are equipped with special bearings, which make these devices more expensive and maintenance more sophisticated. These machines are often

equipped with vertical movement and ladle inclination systems, to make it easier to perform the draining of the steel from the ladle with a minimum transfer of inclusions and the increase in the efficiency of the metal. To help control the process these towers can be equipped with devices to weigh the liquid steel stored in the ladles, serving as a direct indicator of the amount of steel inside the ladle. In some cases, rotating towers with independent arms may be used, allowing for the change of ladles to be made with a 90 degree rotation movement.

The ladles are metallic containers, coated with refractories, with a purpose of storing and transporting the liquid metal. The ladles capacity may vary considerable, between 5 and 400 ton, depending on the steel mill installed capacity. When the ladles are being used for casting, while the liquid steel is still inside them, they may be covered to reduce the heat loss, which could obstruct the ladle's nozzle (steel solidification), causing the production to stop. This process also allows a reduction in the oxidation and the


gas absortion (0 and N), also increasing the operational safety, as it

allows for the partial control of the liquid steel and the slag in case of reactions that


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited cause the excessive agitation of the bath inside the ladle.

Figure 3.6 - Examples of ladle supporting methods in continuous casting machines: (a and b) rotating towers, (c) cranes and (d) transfer cars (image credits: a, b - ArcelorMittal Tubarao; d - ArcelorMittal 8elgo).


The tundish is a container with a metallic frame, coated with refractories to bear high temperatures, like the ladle. It may come in many shapes, depending on the design of the continuous casting installation. It is used as a liquid steel reservoir between the ladle and the mould. The main functions of the tundish are: ,-, - Store the liquid steel to allow the ladle change with no interruption in the casting or steel refining, allowing the flow of heats, making the process effectively continuous. - Feed the strands composition (distribute) with liquid steel with a uniform temperature and

in a way that it is possible to control the flow and flux, enabling the

remotion of inclusions that are harmful to the quality of the steel through the flotation and separation of such inclusions, by directing the lifquid steel and controlling the flow

into the tundish. Antipiping compounds is added to the surface of the liquid metal to absorb the inclusions and protect the steel against oxidation and excessive heat loss.

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited The composition of antipiping compound is basically CaO/AbO:JSi02.This process is

called tundish metallurgy. If the main goal is to prevent heat loss, it is more common to use lids on the tundish and to add rice straw, or, in case the goal is to, as much as possible, prevent the absortion of carbon by the liquid steel (steel with C < 0,005%) other products specially developed may be used. The gases H, Nand

0 may be

eliminated from the tundish by the injection of inert gas. - Avoid the contamination of the steel by atmospheric air using the antipiping compound or the purge cleaning the tundish with argon and/or the sealing of the refratories conduit pipes. - Heat the steel with blowtorchs (plasma type). - Perform an additional deoxidation or desulfurization of the steel. - Addition of alloy elements (such as calcium). - Adding elements that may act as grain refiners during the steel solidification. For a better understanding of the importance of steel flow control in the tundish the

following terms must be defined: - Steel residence time in the tundish: indicates the time gap between the steel inflow to the tundish (through the long tube or open jet) and the steel outflow to the strand. - Steel blending area: area along the length of the cast product where a gradual alteration of the chemical compound occurs, due to the change between heats, which may make the use of the cast product enviable for certain applications, requiring

especial procedures for identification and separation by cuts. The identification during the casting process may be made through the monitoring of the length or the cast weight. If this procedure is not adequate, it may be necessary to to carry out chemical analisys on samples from the edge of products cut to proceed with the sorting out of the cast products. - Stripped flow volume: it is the part of the liquid steel that goes through the tundish at a uniform velocity, without mixing other volumes. - Stagnant flow volume: it is the part of the liquid steel that remains in the tundish for periods longer than the average residence time of the liquid steel. - Mixed flow volume: it's the part of the liquid steel that presents a perfect blend, with a uniform concentration of the chemical elements.

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited The main desired characteristics on the design and use of a tundish are: - Obtain a maximum residence time of the liquid metal. The longer the residence time the longer the available time will be for the inclusions flotation. In some companies the thundish is also called distributor. A high stripped flow volume also favours the flotation of inclusions followed by their absorsion by the slag or by the antipiping compound in the tundish. An extended period of time also provides a smaller contamination probability of the new heat by the old one,


in the case of a change of the quality of the steel in the same tundish. Reduce the variation of the residence time of the liquid steel in the tundish to a minimum to facilitate the set up of a strategy of process control; - Guarantee a minimum stagnant steel volume (dead volume) to reduce steel heat loss and yield loss due to the high formation of crust in the tundish. A reduced stagnant steel volume also reduces the probability of chemical elements separation; - Avoid turbulence on the slag and/or antipiping compound layer to reduce the capture of inclusions or the steel reoxidation; - Provide a reduced mixture rate between successive heats in the continuous casting so as to decrease the steels blending area. - Provide a high mixed flow volume, which favours coalescence (union) of inclusions, facilitating its flotation. The flotation is favoured by the fact that the inclusions are

usually nonmetallic, presenting a lower density than liquid steel which, together with the


increase of its dimension, increases the thrust force or rise force of the inclusion. - Allow measuring of the steel temperature in the tundish with immersion thermocouples (every 10 or 15 minutes, for example) or fixed thermocouples, speed to the liquid steel temperature that transport the liquid steel. Figure 3.7 shows a schematic representation of the main types of tundish used in slabs, to adjust the casting


avoiding the clogging of the refractory conduits

blooms and billets continuous casting.




ArcelorMittoI Point Lisas Limited

Em T, seis veios. Delta, seis veios.

Retangular, seis veios. Circular, seis veios.


Em H, duas panelas, seis veios. Delta. dois veios.

Em V. dois veios.

Retangular, veio unico.

Figure 3.7 - Schematic representation of the main types of tundish.

To allow the steel flow control in the tundish, targeting at

the simultaneous


homogenous feeding of the strands and forcing the liquid steel to emerge at the upper area of the tundish, and increase the steel residence time, docks and barriers made of refractory materials are installed inside the tundish (Figure 3.8). Docks may also be placed at the upper area of the tundish to ensure that a certain amount of the slag that came from the ladle gets retained in the proper compartments, the compartment avoiding its transfer to

next to area of steel outflow into the mould. In case that happens,

there is a risk of accident (skin cracking). The use of docks and barriers must be carefully made because, as some studies show, there may be the formation of dead volume zones behind those devices. Turbulence inhibitors may also be installed at

the region of impact between the liquid steel and the tundish interior (Figure 3.8). These devices are designed to reorientate the liquid flow to the free surface of the tundish decreasing the turbulence on that surface, also providing an increase in the residence time, reduction of splash, a greater fraction of stripped volume, smaller dead volume, a decrease in the tundish refractory material wear rate and the reduction of oxygen and nitrogen pick up.



ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

~ ~ Revestimento Isolante Revestimento permanente ~. Panela de a~o Sistema de deteccao de passagem de escoria


Tampao Calha de seguran~

Inibidor de. turbulancla

Nticleo Iiquido Pele solidiflcada

-;+-- __

Figure 3.8 - Schematic representation of the main components that may be used on a continuous casting tundish

To control the outflow and prevent slags coming from the tundish from entering the mould, floating disks and spheres, injection of inert gas close to the submerged valve, plugs, slag detectors, electromagnetic devices may be used or the temporary

interruption of the flow. The practice of reducing the level of liquid steel in the tundish to a minimum operational requirement when the ladles are been switched, although

effective in the reduction of cast product in the blending area for steels from different heats, may form an apex, dragging the inclusions into the mould. The tundish may present up to three layers of refractory coating:

- Insulating coating: applied on the steel plate to avoid the heating of this metal structure thus avoiding the liquid steel temperature loss and reducing the risk of

accidents for the operators on the casting platform; concret or silicon aluminum firebrick lining may be used. - Permanent coating: applied over the insulation layer to provide extra safety in case of excessive wear of the lining work; concret and alumina firebrick lining may be used.

- Work lining: it is a basic MgO coating, to increase the resistance to wear in the area of contact with the slag derived from the steel refine; may be made of refractory mass or


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited moulded slabs applied over the permanent layer; the paste may be applied with a spoon or projected (Figure 3.9).


Figure 3.9 - Images of a refractory lining in a tundish

In most of the cases, the number of heats that may be cast with one tundish varies from 2 to 6, even though it is possible to reach values higher than 15 heats. The need to switch the tundish is directly connected to the excessive wear of the refractory parts and the flow control valves. The type of steel that is being cast directly influences this wear since it may retain alloy elements that attack more intensively the coating or the refractory components, as in the case of steels treated with CaSi alloys. The kind of set of the submerged valve, that is, fitting outside or inside the tundish, also influences the tundish lifespan, because in case the submerged valves breaks or gets obstructed, it

may allow or not the exchange of this device without interrupting the casting sequence. The amount of metal that is left at the bottom of the tundish vary from 30 to 300 mm or more of height, depending on the restrictions in terms of steel cleaness, equipment for inclusion detection, apex formation at the bottom of the tundish, etc. This material is reused as heavy scrap at steel mill. After applying the coating, the tundishes go through a heating stage to promote the aging and/or drying of the refractories. The tundishes may be used cold or may be
180 ~


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited reheated to reduce the liquid steel temperature loss, when the tapping of the first

tundish heat takes place, with the possibility of clogging the submerged valve, or trying to prevent humidity. However, there are situations where you may choose to use cold tundishes because of the faster return of the continuous casting machines in the event of an unscheduled shutdown (in this case no spare heated tundishes available) or the heating fuel intake reduction or even the reduction of noise pollution caused be the heaters. In this case, the maximum refractory humidity must be controlled through the monitoring of the time elapsed since the drying or even measuring the humidity directly on the lining. In the case of heated tundishes the inner temperature required to start the casting should bee between 1.000 and 1.1 In the preparation


or the acceptance

of the tundishes from the continuous casting


machines you must check for loose refractory bricks, the couplings and leakages in the hidrauliclpneumatic systems, the functioning of the outflow control system, the leakages

on the argon injection tubes and the clearing of the emergency chutes. ,.-..

The storing capacity of the tundish varies from company to company, due to many different factors such as: the dimensions of the ladles used in the steel mill, the relation between the number of strands and the dimension of the product section being cast and the ladle switching system. In Brazil tundishes ranging from 2.5 to 60 tons are used. Usually the tundish transportation and support over the mould during casting are made by tundish cars. This car performs a transverse movement in relation to the machine, moving the tundish from the pre-heating to the moulds and vice-versa, also making the tundish lifting possible. These movements allow the tundish to be placed correctly over the pre-heating and the mould. Another possibility, which has recently been presented is the use of a tundish car designed as a carrousel. On the tundish switching stage, the casting speed mayor may not be zeroed. In the

stage of tundish change, the speed of casting may be zeroed or not. Thus, the greater the tundish lifespan, the shorter the time loss in the change, the smaller the metallic yield caused by the crust left in the tundish, the defects that may arise related to deceleration and acceleration in the casting speed, and the smaller the formation of

splices between heats with successive tundishes, which have to be disposed ofl In a tun dish design it is important to install a safety chute for the outflow of the liquid steel or slag, in the case of a lack of control between the inflow and the outflow of steel


ArcelorMittal PointLisas Limited in the tundish, thus avoiding the liquid steel overflow, which is a very dangerous situation for the workers and the equipment. This control loss may be caused by

clogging or control failure in the steel inflow and outflow systems. The steel may flow from the tundish, through the chute into the ladles, pots or boxes previously installed in the casting area. The flow control from the ladle to the tundish can be made by plugs or, more used nowadays, slide valves. These devices will be described later on this work. To prevent the slag transfer from the ladle into the mould, the following techniques applied: - Control the weight of the liquid steel left in the ladle, cutting the flow of the liquid steel; this option may implicate in a great metallic yield loss. - Follow the vibration variation of the long tube handler, because, if there is slag may be

transfer, there will be a vibration change, indicating the need to cut the liquid steel flow. - Use of electromagnetic devices that induce the formation of a magnetic field around

the liquid steel jet at the hight of the seat brick inside the steel ladle; the slag presents a conductivity lower than the liquid steel and when it flows through the magnetic field It

causes alterations in the intensity of the field, indicating that it is necessary to end the liquid steel flow, allowing the obtention of a cleaner steel or avoiding problems with the

refractory conduits that feed the mould. The flow control from the tundish to the mould may be carried out by three devices: - Plug: even if it is the monolithic type it presents a disadvantage comparing to the slide valve that is a greater wear, not allowing the increase of the tundish life. However, it is simpler to use, because it does not have to be cooled with compressed air during the operation and makes the maintenance of the tundish's refractory bricks easier; inert gas may be injected through a hole made on the head of the plug; the sealing effectiveness is smaller than that of the slide valve. There is less precision in the flow control because the minor variations on the plug's vertical movement provoke big variations in the steel flow. - Slide valve: Usually used in systems with devices that automatically control the steel . level in the moulds, or the automatic start up in the machine. It may be assembled with two or three plates to avoid the movement of the submerged tube inside the mould (billets and blooms casting): Inert gas may be injected in the sliding parts of the valves

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited and/or on the installed valves supports on the tundish to avoid the steel reoxidation with the formation of inclusions. The valves may be activated by hydraulic or electric


commands. The valve can be assembled

in a way that it may be switched quickly

without the need to interrupt the continuous casting operation. The use of hydraulic sliding valves is more common. To increase safety, two hydraulic cylinders are used (one spare), the hydraulic units are mounted in doubles (i.e. with a spare), hydraulic batteries for emergency and manual valves that allow the quick activation in case of an


emergency . - Flow control valve (or regulating): It is a hollow cylinder made of refractory material with a funnel shape at the top and a cylindrical shape at the bottom area. This setup is housed on a ceramic block in a metallic frame. The flow is preestablished by selecting the internal diameter of the flow control valve, which will be used according to the dimensions of the product to be cast, the ladles steel flow, and the desired casting


speed. The wear of the valve must be reduced to prevent the jet from spreading, which

would cause problems to fill the small section mould. This is a simpler system used for billets casting that operate with open jet with no use of flux powder. The blooms are air cooled with hollow cylinders usually made of zirconium (Zr02) or magnesium (MgO) for a higher resistence to wear. The sliding surface is covered with graphite acting as lubricant, decreasing the friction. It is used together with the FNC system (fast nozzle change) or fast valve change, fixed at the bottom of the tundish, with a hydraulic activation and fixed course. The blooms are compressed against the seat with

compression springs. The term open jet is used to indicate that the long tube is not being used to drain the steel from the ladle to the tundish nor the submerged tube from the tundish into the


mould. This is a situation that causes the steel reoxidation, mainly of the elements that present a higher chemical affinity with oxygen and that are part of the steel compound such as AI, Ti, Ca and Cr. In this case inclusions are formed, and if they are

incorporated by the solid steel they will slightly harm the mechanical proprieties of the steel. These inclusions may also obstruct the liquid steel passage through the valves or the refractory tubes.


An open jet also causes a faster cooling of the liquid steel and the absorption


atmosphere gases like nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. Normally the chemical content of the first two elements must be restricted so that they do not harm the mechanical

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited properties of the steel. On the other hand, higher oxygen content may cause the breaking of the skin because of the solid skin fragility during the casting induced by this gas. This fragility occurs due to the smaller thickness and the presence of air bubbles in the solid skin. In this case it may be required to inject aluminum wires to perform the steel's deoxidation inside the mould. This process is shown in figure 3.14. Another aspect to be considered in the use of aluminum wire to perform the steel's deoxidation inside the mould is the fact that this system reduces the risk of alumina formation in the tundish, decreasing the possibility of obstruction in the flow control

valve. Keep in mind that the flow control valve system does not allow the "recovering" of the liquid steel flow during the casting process in case of partial obstruction, unlike the cases where the systems applied are slide valves or plugs. The use of open jet from the tundish to the mould prevents the use of fluxant powder for the lubrication of the solid skin/mould interface. Thus, in general, the use of open jets is restricted to situations where the control of inclusions in the steel is not a determining factor and the costs reduction is the main objective.

Figure 3.14 - Image of a continuous casting process using open jet and aluminum wires injection to perform the steel's deoxidation inside the mould.


The situation described in the last paragraphs shows the importance of using systems to carry out the liquid steel jet protection. This protection can be made with refractory bricks conduits in the form of long and submerged valves, combined or not with the inert gas injection (usually argon). Devices in the shape of "jackets" made of metallic cylindrical tubes may also be used, installed around the liquid steel jet, right below the tundish valve, but

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited without any contact with the jet, to serve as a barrier to the inert gas flow injected through a series of openings, to envolve and protect the jet. In continuous casting machines producing billets with open jet, this protection is fundamental, because due to the small diameter of the jet, there is a high tendency for steel oxidation. It can be observed that the use of submerged valves in moulds for small section billets presents technical difficulties due to the reduced space for valves installation refractory valve. The long tube fixation on the slide valve must allow the liquid steel transportation from the without touching the mould, requiring a thin wall from the

ladle to the tundish, without jeopardizing change and cleaning operations. The long tube is preheated with the tundish, and it is recommended that a spare long tube is also preheated in case of an unexpected need for a change. Before the use, the valve must be dryed at a temperature of approximately 200 C to eliminate humidity. At the beginning of the casting,

the valve temperature is close to 50C. The long tube may be made of synthetic magnesia, except in the slag line area that has a zirconium layer, a material that is more resistant to the wear caused by the slags or anti piping compound that layover the metallic bath on the

tundish. As for the shape, the long tube may be a regular cylinder or a conical type (bell). The bell shape is used at the beginning of the casting. The long valve is currently made of alumina-graphite, zirconia-carbon with the option of receiving on the outside of the slag line a layer of protection to increase the resistance to wear caused by the slag. The sealing

of the ladle and long tube slide valve system may be performed through the injection of an inert gas, like nitrogen or argon. To complete the connection between the long tube and the steel ladle's slide valve we use handlers called long tube handlers (Figure 3.15). These devices maintain the long tube compressed against the slide valve's movable plate,

protecting the steel jet against oxidation and possible liquid steed dripping. The handlers usually use a counterweight as driving, performing the operation manually, even though

semi-automatic systems are being tested to control these handlers. The submerged tube purpose is to guide the liquid steel from the tundish into the mould, without turbulence (strong waves) inside the tube and with no contact with air. These

disturbances would be extremely damaging to the casting operation stability and also to the product quality. The tube is a refractory shackle that is connected to the tundish's bottom valve. The term submerged is used because this refractory tube is placed in the liquid steel, inside the mould. In some works the term SEM (submerged entry nozzle) is used to indicate the submerged tube. The exit angle of the submerged tube may vary in a range from -15 to


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited the steel flow upward, preventing the formation of solid steel layer on the meniscus area, which could cut the feeding of molten flux powder. However, it may cause excessive

turbulence on the layer of flux powder, molten or not, making the inclusions merge into the steel or the formation of cracks that may cause the breakage of the skin: The sealing of the ladle and long tube slide valve system may be carried out through the injection of an inert gas, such as, nitrogen or argon. In figure 3.16 we have examples of submerged tubes.

Synthetic Magnesia may be used on the submerged tubes fabrication, except on the slag line where there is a zirconium layer. The valve must be heated before the beginning of the tundish casting with temperatures up to 10000

to avoid the thermal shock, and at the

beginning of the casting the temperature must be higher than 750oe. After the conclusion of he heating process, if the valves aren't going to be used, they must be scraped.
Tundish upper valve Argon bubbling insertion Argon bubbling insert

Sealing Argon Bubbling Copper Mold

Slide valve Upper plate Sliding plate Lower plate Submerged pipe Fluxing powder

Submerged depth Exit angle



Point Lisas Limited

Valvula superior do distribuidor In opara borbulhamento de rgonio

Inserto para borbulhamento de argonia


(a) Vatvula gaveta: ptaca superior Placa deslizante Placa Inferior

Molde de cobre

Borbulhamento de argonia

Figure 3.16 - (a) Scheme of the setup called submerged tube or valve with highlight of the possible air infiltration points, which would cause the formation of alumina obstructing the liquid steel passage; (b and c) images of submerged tubes; (d) submerged tube being used with the liquid steel outflow under a layer of flux powder forming the system called protected jet; (e) preheating stage of the submerged tube.


The submerged


usually made of alumina-graphite

or cast silica, must be heated

through a specific period of time to avoid the bricks thermal-shock or the cooling of the liquid steel at the moment it is being used. It should not be heated through a long period of time, to avoid the excessive oxidation. Figure 3.17 shows an example of a slide valve and a

submerged tube, and situations where occurred the obstruction by inclusions of this tube.




""' ArcelorMittal

Point Lisas Limited

r--. r-..




Figure 3.17 - (a) examples of submerged tubes vertically cut to show the region corresponded steel flow and the alumina formation; (b) submerged tube obstructed by the alumina formation.

to the

Typical inclusions

found in components

for liquid steel flow to the mould and their specific causes.


Aluminum killed steel. May be caused by the agglomeration, reaction between the steel and the valve or the air suction.

precipitation or

AI203 e Ti203

Aluminum killed steel with subsequent treated with titanium. The presence of titanium indicates reoxidation od the bath.


With the advent of ladle metallurgy practices, this type of inclusion has been detected more frequently.

TiN CaO- AI203

Usually occurs in the stainless steel casting. Found when the treatment with Ca is insufficient or there is reoxidation after addition of Ca.


Common in steel treated with Ca and with high concentration of sulfur.


Common in steel treated with Ca when the soluble Mg concentration on the steel is too high.

Solid steel (not an inclusion) Occurs due to excessive loss of temperature through the valve. ~

The main components of a continuous casting machine are: mould or moulds, pinch rolls and support of the workpiece, workpiece cooling devices and equipment to cut the cast products.







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ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited 3.4 THE MOULD The mould is one of the most important parts in the continuous casting process,

because that is where the steel solidification starts. Thus, the mould is the main device, but not the only one, responsible for the shape and dimensions of the products final


transverse section, strongly affecting the surface quality and exercising an important influence over the clearness and the type of microstructure of the cast product. Only after the formation of a solid skin with enough thickness inside the mould to resist the metalostatic pressure, should the workpiece be transfered to the extraction and support rolls. The minimum thickness of the solid skin depends on the height of the liquid metal column above the mould exit position, casting speed, type of steel being cast, type of cooling and support of the solid skin when leaving the mould and the size of the mould.

This thickness is usually around 10 to 20 mm.The walls of the moulds are usually made of copper with a high grade of purity conserving its high thermal conductivity,


essencial for a fast heat transfer to the cooling water that flows through the face opposite to the one in contact with the solidifying steel. The pure copper thermal


conductivity is 400 W/m.K,

while the low carbon steel is close/to 52 W/m.K,

and the

pure AI is close to 238 W/m.K.

These numbers are considered at room temperature,

which is adequate as a comparison, because the increase in the mould temperature, for the most part, should not be much higher than room temperature to avoid dimensional distortions in the mould, compromising the cast product dimensions and the integrity of the mould itself. The copper's high thermal conductivity explains why the mould does not melt, although the melting temperature for this metal (1.085C) is minor than the temperature the liquid steel at entering the mould (1.500 a 1.600C).


In the case of twin casting, the mould's subdivision into two parts is made by a copper slab and the mould feeding system must also be doubled (Figure 3.19) . In some cases, chemical elements, such as chromium, silver and zirconium, may be added to the copper, improving some of its properties such as hardness, resistance to wear and flow. The copper walls in the mould may also be coated to resist the friction caused by the solid skin oscilating movement. The friction may be even higher due to the presence of non molten or resolidified flux powder. Elements like nickel and cobalt are used because they considerably increase the durability of the mould. The thickness of this coating ranges from 0.05 to 0.10 mm. The internal surface of the mould may be fully coated or only at the bottom, 30 to 50%, because, despite the greater resistance to

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited wear, these materials present a minor thermal conductivity which would harm the heat removes from the steel. Thus, its use at the bottom area, where the heat removal is naturally lower due to the formation of a clearance between the mould and the steel, caused by the solid skin contraction, increases the mould's resistance to wear on areas where there is resolidified flux powder, without compromising the heat extraction. The greater thickness at the bottom area of the solid skin, which presents a smaller thermal conductivity, also reduces the heat transfer.

Troca de Largura Placa Twin

Figure 3.19 - Example of a continuous casting slab mould with a slab width regulating device The water used to cool the mould must be treated to reduce the deposition of particles on the cooling channels to a minimum, which would decrease the outflow and the heat removal efficiency, and also not to cause corrosion of the conduits that transport the water, which could cause severe operation flaws. The water must operate in a closed utilization and treatment circuit to reduce the use of "new water" in the process to a minimum. The steel temperature must be high enough to prevent solidification in the tundish, but not so high that it would prevent the steel solidification inside the mould from happening. The ideal temperature inside the tundish is between 15 to 40C higher than the liquidus temperature of the steel. In the case of slabs continuous casting, the mould is usually made of four

independent copper plates. These slabs usually have a thickness ranging from 40 to 70 mm. The copper slabs are anchored on structures called support or frame, by means of several screws. This anchoring prevents the copper slab from deforming, which could


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited cause serious accidents. Channels may be built vertically on the face that is opposite to the face that is in contact with the liquid steel, through which the cooling water flows at high speed. In the case of blooms, billets and blanks continuous casting, the mould may be

one-piece, also called tubular or monobloc (Figures 3.20 and 3.21), with the thickness of the walls ranging from 5 to 25 mm, growing with the increase of the dimensions of the sections being casted. These moulds are also cooled by water flowing at high speed (10 to 13 m/s) in a pressurized chamber or box wrapping the mould. This cooling may also be performed by water sprays inside a chamber that is not under a lot of pressure. The average life span of this type of mould is approximately 10 km of cast product. The length of the moulds ranges from 500 to 1200mm. This length is usually determined by the casting speed, the type of steel being cast and the solid skin's thickness required to resist the metalostatic pressure. A high casting speed requires a long mould so that the thickness of the formed skin is enough to resist the shaft after leaving the mould. When the mould is too long, it may harm the solid skin formation because, due to the formation of a gap between the solid steel and the internal face of the copper mould, the efficiency to extract the heat from the workpiece slightly decreases. In this situation, the contact with water sprayed over the workpiece surface, contact with the withdrawal rolls and even with air is more efficient to accelerate the solid skin growth. In the case of continuous casting of slabs or even blooms, with the adjustment of the copper slabs positions, it is possible to obtain a variety of transverse sections

dimensions of the cast product. With the opening and closing movement of the narrow copper slabs it is possible to adjust the thickness of the slab or the bloom. Depending on the equipment devices the thickness adjustment may be automatic, that is, during the process, in case it is necessary due to safety reasons, casting speed may be

reduced. On the older machines it is necessary to stop the equipment and open or close the mould in the width direction. In the case of thickness it is required to stop the equipment to switch the mould and open the segment. Such alterations will influence the machines efficiency. However, the equipment manufacturers are already offering

solutions to overcome this limitation. To make up for the workpiece contraction during its solidification and cooling, the thickness and width of the mould must be slightly

bigger than the set value for the final product. In the case of products that are going to be scarfed, a bigger correction must be made.


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited In the case of steel slabs, because the width is big, the solid steel contraction inside the mould causes a gradual width decrease of the slab being formed while the slab is descending to the mould. It is, then, necessary that the width adjusted in the mould is gradually descreased, from the moment the steel enters the mould until it leaves. This gradual decrease of the width is called taper. To make up for the contraction in the thickness direction, the width of the narrow face slabs is slightly smaller at the base than at the top of the mould. This taper is also used in the case of blooms and billets casting using tubular moulds. However, in the case of slabs, it is possible to adjust amount of taper dynamically, that is, during the casting process by altering the moulds' narrow

walls inclination combined or not with the movement in the direction of the mould's width. This is a vital process on the slabs casting, because, with the need for slower casting speed, a thicker solid skin is formed inside the mould, increasing its contraction, which could cause the formation of a bigger gap between the mould's face and the skin, thus reducing its support, and allowing for a bulge on the slabs or even cracks on the skin. The tubular moulds used for blooms and billets are manufactured with a pre-determined taper, which can have a simple taper (linear profile). The taper that is usually applied is 1 mm for every 1 m of the mould's length. Corner radiuses rounding off ranging from 3 to 8 mm are also used. In case of curved continuous casting machines, the curving may begin in the mould, that is, the work faces of the copper slabs are manufactured with the same radius as the machine's curvature. Periodically, the mould must be taken out of operation and be recovered, because its surface tends to present cracks that may cause defects on the surface or the absortion copper by the cast product, or, in a more serious situation can cause the perforation of the mould, which could then cause the contact between the liquid steel and the cooling water resulting in explosions. For example, copper plates used in the casting of steel slabs are usually machined four or five times, and then rebuilt through electrolytic deposition. In the case of curved moulds, the copper slabs are machined back to the original radius and reused afterwards. The mould's cooling system allows only an

unaccurate control of the total heat extraction from the moulds. Tests are performed with thermocouples transferred. at various positions on the mould to estimate the amount of heat

These tests have shown that the greater heat transfer occurs on the

concave area and decreases reaching the base of the mould. To monitor the mould in


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited terms of efficiency in removing heat from the liquid steel and help predict the breaking of the skin inside the mould, a series of thermocouples may be installed inside the mould's wall, but without touching the solid steel skin. For example, the thermocouples may be

installed at two different height levels and in many positions throughout the mould's width, for both narrow slabs and wide copper slabs. This type of configuration identifying skin breaking, because the thermocouples helps

would register a temperature

increase at the lower level of the mould if there was liquid steel leaking in that area, contradicting the temperature decrease throughout the height of the mould towards the withdrawal rolls. This temperature increase is caused by the sticking of the steel to the mould, indicating the need to reduce or stop the workpiece withdrawal so that the solid skin does not 'rip' causing an even bigger liquid steel leak, characterizing an irreversible and disastrous rupture of the skin. The control of the steel level in the mould is very important so that the skin sticking detector system described above is reliable. Major variations of the mould level may cause temperature variations that can be falsely interpreted as a sticking warning. The system also helps indentifying the adequate or unadequate lubrication of the mould's walls. A thinner solid skin, caused by, for example, a high casting speed, increases the friction

due to a minor resistance to deformation by the liquid metal column. The presence of a

peritetic reaction on the steel solidification


tends to reduce the friction, because it

causes a greater contraction of the skin. As mentioned before, the mould's oscilation main function is to prevent the workpiece from sticking to the mould, by reducing the friction between the metal and the mould, which could cause the breaking of the skin. The mould's oscilation has an influence on the surface defects such as powder inclusions and oscilation marks. At any instant, the workpiece in formation inside the mould is suffering two actions: withdrawal, caused by the movement of the withdrawal rolls and oscilation. The

oscilation movement, when the mould is descending, acts as if it were pushing the slab, that is, its speed has the same direction as the casting speed. When the mould is ascending, it acts as if it were stripping the slab, and its speed is contrary to the slab speed, that is why the term negative stripping is used. The mould's oscilation movements are adjusted by a course (8 in mm) and a frequency


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited (f in 1/min). The course or stroke indicates the distance that the mould will cover in the up and down movement. Typical values for this variable are 3 to 10 mm. The frequency represents the rate the mould moves in a certain period of time. Typical values for the frequency are 100 to 500 cycles per minute. The longer the oscilation course, the longer the distance between the oscilation marks formed on the cast product surface and the deeper they are. Deep oscilation marks may cause tranverse cracks on the cast

products or hold flux powder crusts which can cause defects on the rolled products. The distance between the oscilation marks may be calculated dividing the casting speed by the mould's oscilation frequency, with no influence from the oscilation stroke. The steel level inside the mould can be monitored visually or through radioactive or electromagnetic devices. The steel level in the mould may be controlled with the

adjustment of the liquid steel outflow in the tundish and the products withdrawal speed. The steel level monitoring acting as transmmiter electromagnetic devices use special sensors, with heads measuring the intensity of the

and receptor (NKK technology),

stray currents. Electromagnetic used.

devices located on the side of the mould may also be

Because the presence of liquid steel alters the intensity of a field, more than 25% of the continuous ingots casting machines are equipped with electromagnetic stirrings

inside the mould or along the secondary cooling area of the shaft. These stirrings are made of reels or inductors that induce the formation of an intense electromagnetic field,

forming stray currents that provoke the recirculation of the liquid steel next to the solid layer. The electromagnetic stirrings are used to: - Cause the breaking of a structure formed by columnar dendrites, which would

generate rough grains, promoting the formation of equiaxial dendrites, which tend to generate a fine grain structure; - Eliminate the formation of isolated liquid metal pockets (mini-cast); - Induce the formation of a solid skin with a more uniform thickness; - Accelerate the heat dissipation related to the liquid steel overheating; - Promote the agglomeration of small nonferrous inclusions particles, creating bigger

inclusions that float more rapidly; - Reduction of the blow-holes formation next to the solidification.



Point Lisas Limited

These phenomena allow for the generation of the following benefits in the production process and the continuous casting products quality: - Reduce the segregation; - Eliminate the generation of pores caused by the mini-cast phenomenon; - Reduce the formation of a rhomboid or a bulge; - Improve the product's surface and sub-surface quality; - Increase the casting speed;

- Reduce skin rupture; - Increase the internal cleaness of the cast products; - Increase the resistance to the formation of cracks during the solidification or

transportation of the cast products; - Elimination of defects cause by blow-holes. The electromagnetic stirrings positioned in the secondary cooling region of the strand stirring) were implemented first (figure 3.24). These

(S-EMS - strand electromagnetic

stirrings may be installed between the rolls, behind the rolls or on the rolls. Later, the


electromagnetic stirrings located in the mould (M-EMS - mould electromagnetic stirring) became more popular and presented better results, despite its higher cost. The stirrings placed in the mould may be installed in the mould's chamber or around it. The stirrings installed around the chamber have the advantage of being able to move in the vertical direction during the installation, enabling its use at a higher position when using an open jet or at a lower position when using a submerged tube, prventing a premature wear of the submerged tube and the dragging of the dust inside the tube due to a greater liquid steel movement impelled by the electromagnetic stirring. Stirrings may also be installed at the end of the continuous casting machine curved area (F-EMS final


stirring) aiming for the reduction of central macrosegregation

of steel

with a high grade of alloy elements. However, in the case of products with a large transverse section area (slabs and big blooms) the zone called pasty (solid and liquid


phase transition) is very big and making the F-SEM stirrings inefficient, and the soft reduction techniques (mechanical deformation of the workpiece with a partially liquid core) more suitable. In the case of slabs, with the stirrings located in the secondary cooling region of the



Point Lisas Limited movement parallel to the slab's face is created, favouring the

strand, a circular

formation of an equiaxial structure and reducing the macrosegregation

in the center of

the slabs, aspects that are more relevant to slabs that will be used for the fabrication of thick slabs or tubes. If the main objective is the production of steel with a higher degree of internal cleaness and superficial defects reduction on the finished rolled product for stamping or exposed pieces, the stirring is usually placed on the mould. In the last case, many options are available, like using stirrings to promote a steel flow in the vertical direction (favours the remotion of inclusions) or a circular movement on the horizontal plane (to gradually reduce the temperature, favoring the development of a solid skin with uniform thickness).

eil!!1r4l1 .., 0'




."!,glladnf 1!!li!!1 IInl!!tJt(l nD'nnal doll ~m:m'lll I ~ ~~t:O (F'SB'i/) ;# .

Figure 3.24 - Examples of magnetic stirring location on continuous casting machines for blooms and billets.

3.5. THE ROLLS It is observed along each strand of the continuous castig machine different types of rolls are installed, they are (figure 3.26): - Foot rolls; - Support rolls or strand guide; . Strand bending rolls;


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited - Withdrawal rolls;


- Pinch rolls; - Exit rolls. Small diameter rolls, called foot rolls, may be used at the mould's exit so that the distance between the rolls center is the smallest possible, especially in the case of larger sections casting to avoid excessive bulging or the breaking of the solid skin. After leaving the foot rolls region, the shaft penetrates the support rolls or shaft guide regions .. -These rolls are used to guide and support the cast product and the dummy bar from the mould to the withdrawal rolls. The withdrawal rolls are used to extract the strand and introduce/extract the dummy bar.


For that, moving rolls with adjustable speed and rotation direction are used. The pinch rolls are used to flatten the cast product and to disconnect the dummy bar. The rolls are cooled internally so that they do not strain when in contact with the strand surface (temperatures up to 1300C). The rolls are held by bearings on the structure or

frame of the segment and adjusted according to the machine design. On the slab continuous casting machines, the last segments' may be equipped load application with

hydraulic cylinders that enable the compression thickness of the workpiece,

to slightly reduce the Such

when it still presents a liquid core (soft reduction).

procedure is used to reduce defects on the cast products, such as the central and porous macrosegregation. In the case of thin slabs continuous casting, the machines are equipped to the first

to perform the workpiece thickness reduction in the region that corresponds

segments of the slabs (liquid core reduction), enabling a refinement of the cast product


besids reducing the alloy elements


(figure 3.27). The thickness

reduction rate is 0.7 to 1.2 mm for every meter of the shaft length when the percentual of the formed solid phase is between 30 to 70%. The pinch rolls are moving rolls used to remove the strand's tail and guide it to the cutting systems. It is formed by two moving rolls, equipped with hydraulic devices ascending and descending movement to perform the

and are built so that they "float" to follow the

bloom/billet irregularities. The exit rolls are used to move the cast products that had already been cut, guiding them to the transfer table. They usually have individual drive. The transfer table moves the billets to the cooling table.




Point Lisas Limited

Figure 3.27 - Examples of rolls and segments used to withdraw and support the workpiece on the continuous casting machines and the device called roll gap check (d) used to check the shaft alignment (credits: a.dCompanhia Siderurqica de Tubarao-C'ST, b-c-SMS-DEMAG do Brasil Ltda.)











Figure 3.28 - Schematic representation of the system that performs a soft reduction of the solid skin thickness.

'"' .


About the machine's curve radius, we observe that the smaller the relation between the machine radius and the workpiece solid skin, the greater the tension created in the solid region. In the workpiece, compression this tension is a traction force on the external radius and a may arise when values are


~ ,...... ~

force on the internal radius. Two problems

considered too high for the tensions that result from the workpiece bending process: - It increases the risk of cracks on the workpiece; and - It increases the pressure over the strand support rolls, which could cause damage to the roll or to the bearings that hold these rolls.



,..-., r>

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited In the case of thick plates, blomms, billets and blanks continuous casting machines (200 to

300 mm), the machine's curving radius usually ranges from 8 to 12 m. For thin slabs (30 to 100 mm), the curving radius may be reduced to 3 to 4 m. In some machines different radius for the bending region and the workpiece flattening region are used. In this case, the rolls in the bending and/or flattening region are placed so they perform a progressive flattening of the workpiece, bend or

reducing the tensions applied. For example, in a continuous

casting machine for slabs ranging from 200 to 250 mm, 6 bending radius were used (varying

from 62 m for the first roll to 9,6 the sixth roll) and 7 flattening radius (varying from 9.01 m for thefir~t r~" to 42 m for the seventh roll). The workpiece cooling is a fundamental

stage in the control of the continuous


machines, 'because the structure and surface quality of the final product and the equipment we" functioning, as well as the machine productivity depend on that process. It is common to use the terms primary cooling zone (mould) and secondary cooling zone (spray area). Cooling systems formed by spray tips are normally used to spray onlywater ove.r the

workpiece or a mixture of air-water called air-mist, in which water and air are supplied at a high pressure, resulting in small water drops. These smalt.particles aremore efficient in removing the heat than the big drops of the conventiona}system.A:c6"111p~iiqon example


:: ..

between t~E3S~ methods is shown in Figure 3.32.,


In the water spray system the tips are small because they do not have a mixing chamber and they 'have a smaller outflow if compared to the air mist since, for a certain flow, only water goes through the tip. Due of that, these tips are subject to clogging. The main spray tips characteristics that may be controlled are: exit angle, flow (work range), pressure and the distance to the slab surface (that wi" determine the affected region). The spray tips of


the air mist system presents a better water particles atomization, and are larger, because they require an air-water mixture chamber. It is important to avoid a cast product surface temperature variation higher than 50 to 150C (depending on the type of steel), because the expansion inherent to this phenomenon may cause high thermal tensions that cause cracks on the steel surface layer. This temperature variation may happen on the cooling caused by the contact with the rolls and water, and on the heating due to a heat conduction transfer from the cast product interior. The temperature variation on the cast product surface presents a senoidal or sawtooth profile, due to a heat transfer intensity variation along the strand. Besides avoiding big and sudden temperature variations on the surface of the cast products,

ArcelorMittol Point Lisas Limited the cooling strategy must seek a uniform cooling throughout the faces and between the workpiece faces. The required water or air-water flow is determined by the casting speed, the type of steel and the size of the cooling zone. As an example, we can say that in the case of steel slabs the flow is usually bigger in the area just bellow the mould than in the exit region of the machine, being also higher in the upper part of the strand than in the lower part. The way the spray tips are placed inside the spray chambers varies according to the design of the equipment or manufacturer.

Figure 3.32 - Example of cooling on a slabs segment (a) and on a billets spray chamber (b); example of water cooling (c) and air-mist (d)

Before starting the continuous casting process the introduction of a dummy bar is required. This device forms the bottom of the mould and is designed so that it joins the extreme end of the workpiece, moving the workpiece to the withdrawal rolls. Besides that, this format must help the connection and disconnection of the workpiece after solidification and

straightening of the first unit of cast product in a sequence. The dummy bar is divided in two pieces: head, that forms the bottom of the mould, and body, that guides the introduction and extraction of the head. In the case of slabs continuous casting, the body of the dummy bar is usually articulated, as

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited if it were a kind of big bicycle chain. This system enables the use of the dummy bar on vertical and vertical-curved machines. The dummy bar is inserted into the machine through

the top of the mould with the help of a car that slides through the tracks. There are systems that introduce the dummy bar from the bottom, through the last machine roll, next to the cast products cutting regions. When the head is inside the mould (I,?cated near the half of the length), it is then sealed using its own inputs to allow a complete .sealinq when the liquid steel first comes to the mould. There must be a dummy bar head for- every gauge being

casted. Figure 3.42 shows a dummy bar head introduction, extraction and disconnection system for the steel slabs continuous casting. The disconnection is carried out through the activation of a hydraulic system in whose extremity a device shaped as a fluting (half a steel tube) is installed or through the elevation of a roll from the rolls table in the region near the slabs cutting zone. The dummy bar head must be prepared so that it provides a good mould seal, avoiding liquid steel leaks that may damage the rolls, or form small solid fragments over the mould, which can cause defects on the surface of the cast product, or even break the solid skin.

Brick cardboards or pastes and special paints may be used in the seal. Steel shots, grinding chips, pieces of flat bar or rods may also be used to help accelerate the steel solidification. Figure 3.43 shows an example of the dummy bar head seal for steel slabs. After the tailpiece of a sequence connected with a dummy bar comes out of the machine (segments), the disconnection is performed by impact, enabling the slabs movement to the cutting region. In the case of blooms/billets/blanks segmented. continuous casting, the dummy bar may be rigid or

The body of the rigid dummy bar is formed by a single curved piece built radius, with a length compatible with the continuous casting



the machine's

machine's metallurgy length. On the extreme of this curved rigid frame the head of the dummy bar is installed. Each of the machine's strands has an independent dummy bar introduction system. This method requires a curved continuous casting machine. The lifting pin is mounted on the head and holded with a copper tube with low breaking resistance. The


bar disconnection


with the movement

of the straightening

roll. The or links


dummy bar is articulated

because it is made of many segments

connected through the pins. Figure 3.44 shows rigid and articulated dummy bar systems and also a dummy bar head sealing method.


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited

Figure 3.42 - Dummy bar introduction mechanism on a slab continuous casting machine.

Cab~a da barrafalsa


Figure 3.43 - Schematic representation of the dummy bar head sealing and a photograph of a real case.


One of the main continuous casting control process variables is the steel temperature in the casting process. This variable has a major influence on the productivity of the machine and the quality of the product. A low temperature may cause problems like:

clogging of submerged valve and a minor flotation of the inclusions. A high temperature can cause problems macrosegregation. like: breaking of the solid layer, surface defects and central

Thus, it is very important to determine the right temperature on the

various stages of the process and control it throughout the process. The productivity of the continuous casting machine is very affected by the casting


ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited speed. Usually the casting machine is designed with a define speed range. Among the main factors that will influence the setting of the casting speed are: the type of steel, the dimensions of the product, the casting temperature, ratio), besides the design specifications the water/steel ratio used (water of

of the machine. The proper combination

these factors will define the performance of the process. As an example, for the carbon steel continuous casting, common casting speed ranges are: 0.5 to 1.2 m/min for

blanks, 0.65 to 2.0 m/min for slabs, 1.2 to 1.8 m/min for blooms and 3.0 to 5.0 m/min for billets; Thin slabs may be cast with speeds up to 8m/min. VI = 4Kx2 /d2
K= solidification constant (mm.min) 1/2

S = Solid thickness (mm)


= time of residence of steel in the mould (min) = constant that represents a delay in the solidification beginning, caused by heat remotion

related to the steel overheating. Example: calculate the casting speed for a 200 mm thick slab with the solidification on roll 36 distanced 11,892 mm from the metal level on the mould. We have: K=26 mmNmin; x

11,892 mm; d

= 200

mm; so, VI

= 0.8



4.1 - FUNCTIONS In the case of continuous casting, the mould moves vertically with an oscilation

movement and there is an immediate formation of a solid skin. Thus, the movement between the surfaces occurs between the solid skin and the mould's surface, increasing the friction. This friction is caused by the resistance between the two moving surfaces. The friction causes damage to the surface on both the continuous casting product and mould, producing defects or increasing the wear on the mould. The use of lubricants between the metal/mould surfaces reduces the friction and helps prevent the sticking of the solid skin to the mould's surface. The wear on the mould and the defects are also reduced. The friction reduction, combined with the mould's casting

oscilation, helps to prevent breaking the skin, thus, enabling the continuous process.

In the case of continuous casting, the lubricants might be dehydrated vegetable oil (soy

ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, peanut oil, cotton oil or red palm (dende) oil), or ceramic

materials (called flux powder) that the passes to the liquid state when heated. On the conventional casting only flux powders are used. The lubricant oil, used for blooms and billets casting, decomposes when heated in contact with liquid steel, creating a gas layer that prevents the solid skin from sticking to the mould. This oil must be constantly replaced. When decomposing, the oil must

produce a small amount of fumes and it cannot produce toxic gases, a great amount of flames and sparks, it cannot stick to the mould's walls or to the surface of the product so it does not form dirt deposits or pores on the cast product and spread uniformly throughtout the mould's surface. One of the main differences or disadvantages of using

vegetable oil as a metal/mould lubricant in the continuous casting machines comparing to ceramic flux, is the fact that the oil does not absorb inclusions and the flux powder does. However, the use of flux powder in continuous casting machines that are

operating with open jets is not recommended

because the free drop steel flow would


drag the flux powder creating inclusions. It is also not possible to use flux powder on the conventional casting with direct outflow. Briefly, the main functions of ceramic materials in the form of flux powder for continuous casting are: a) To provide thermal insulation for the liquid steel surface in the mould (upper part), preventing solidification; b) To prevent the reoxidation of the liquid steel in the mould (upper part), caused by the contact with atmospheric air, and the absortion of gases like Nand H by the liquid steel, in the case of IF steel (interstice free or ultra-low carbon grade); c) To absorb and dissolve inclusions in the liquid steel; d) To create a liquid ceramic material film to work as a lubricant, preventing the solid steel from sticking to the mould; e) To help control the heat transfer between solid skin and mould, accelerating the cooling and the solidfication of the steel in the mould; f) To protect the operators against the heat emission by thermal radiation on the mould's surface (concave area). A schematic illustration to show the performance mechanism of the flux powders in the



ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited continuous casting proces.s is presented in Figure 4.1. F~/~(~jJ~)
Cordao de eseerta Fluxante IIquido

PO fluxante In natura

P6 fluxa

e sinterizad9


Malde refrigerado de cobre


Marcas de. oscllaC;ao Fluxante resolldificado



Particulas d fnclu Oes e bolh $ de gas

Ac;o IIquido

Pele deac;o sOlldiflcada --;,.--



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Figure 4.1 - schematic representation of the continuous casting process (not in scale) showing the performance scheme of the fluxing agents on the mould: wide side view (a) and narrow side view of a slab (b), image of a mould with the addition of fluxing agents (c).

In figure 4.1 we see the different functions of the flux powder on the side (metal/mould interface) and on the top (concave area). The functions performed by the p6s fluxantes on the steel menisco during the continuous casting (itens a, b and c) are similar to the functions performed by this material on the convetional continuous casting of steel.

However, the flux powder also covers the casting surface, preventing the liquid steel from penetrating the recesses (cracks or pores) on this surface, reducing the formation of defects and the casting wear. This flux powder performance is fundamental in the

case of indirect casting, because in this process it is not usual to paint the ingot mould to cover the defects or reduce the liquid steel oxidation.




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Point Lisas Limited

At the beginning of the continuous casting process, the flux powder is constantly added to the surface of the steel on the mould. During the use, the flux powder is heated and sintered (agglomeration of the powder grains), followed by the formation of melted

material drops. This way, three layers are formed over the liquid steel surface (figure

a) An unmolten, dark layer, composed of non-reacted fluxing agent, on the surface; b) A carbon rich or sinterized layer, in the centre; c) A layer of flux liquid placed directly over the steel surface; This melted fluxing layer flows between the copper mould and the solid steel surface, causing the solidification of part of the fluxing. Thus, there is flux powder consumption, requiring the addition of an amount of new material. On the concave region part of the molten flux powder is solidified forming a paste throughout the mould's periphery called

slag cord. On most cases, the slag cord follows the liquid steel movement, without
sticking to the mould and falling when not pressed by the liquid steel. The material or ceramic minerals mixture, which composes the flux powder, is heated and must necessarily melt when in contact with the liquid steel, creating liquid slags with specific characteristics for each casting condition. Commercially, the ceramic fluxing

agents may be distinguished as grain or powder materials. However, in this work they will be generally treated as flux powders. The flux powders are slag forming compounds mainly composed of A1203, CaO, Si02, MgO, alkalis, fluoride and fusion speed regulators (carbon).








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Tabela 4.1 - Prmooais constituintes dos D6s fluxantes.


Fun~ao do Constituinte


Faixa Tipica de Adi~ao 0-10% 0- '100..10



Forrnadores de Escoria Fe,Q, CaO

O - So"b

Oxides Basieos


0-'10% 0-10%

1 - 20%
Oxides Alcalinos Controladores de Viscosidade

UO, K20


Controlador da velocidade de Fusao tnibidores de desoaste da valvula subrnersa


Beside the six referred flux powder functions, this material must be designed in a

way that: - It does not cause the submerged valve corrosion; - It does not incorporate carbon to the steel in the case of steel with this element (IF steel);

- It presents a low tendency to hydration (hygroscopic capacity) and low humidity (lower than 0.5 to 0.1 %); - It presents loose apparent specific low mass (0.5 to 0.7 q/crrr'); - It presents low thermal capacity; - It presents a granulometry (shape and dimensions of the particles) that enables a uniform distribution throughout the surface and the thickness of the flux powder layer. Another type of ceramical material in the form of powder used in the continuous casting or conventional casting is called antipiping compound. These materials

are used over the slag surface or the liquid steel in the ladles, over the liquid steel in the continuous casting tundishs (tundish powders) or over the flux

powder added to the surface of the liquid steel ascending on the ingot mould, in the case of conventional casting. The antipiping compounds have the same




ArcelorMittal Point Lisas Limited. functions of the flux powder on the liquid steel surface (inclusions absortion,

thermal insulation and contact with atmospheric

air). In the case of tundishes,

which use plugs to control the steel flow to the mould, the antipiping compound prevents the formation of solid steel crusts that might make the movement of the plug difficult. An additional variable in the specifications of the antipiping

compound composition is the fact that we must pay close attention so that the flux powder does not cause wear or form compounds that stick to the brick

coating of the tundish, long tube and the plug. Table 4.3 shows examples of typical antipiping chemical compounds available in the market. It is important to highlight that the rice straw ashes (calcinated rice straw), despite being an excellent antipiping compound due to its low cost and good thermal insulation, it causes the formation of silica inclusions on the casting products, which is an inconvenience. To prevent this, its. addition to the continuous casting tundish and the ingot mould, in the case of conventional casting, must be made over a layer of flux powder.
Table 4.3 - Tabela 4.3 - examples c ie typical chemical compounds (mass %) of antipiping compound available on the market

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Type of antipiping compound MgO Base Tipo de






Na20 +KzO

Total C






For the ladle and tundish.

Rice Straw Ash




For the ladle and tundish.

Silicate-Al (with low C) Calcium silicate.







For the ladle and tundish. Good insulation.






For the ladle and tundish. Free of C.

Silicate-AI-Na (with low C)







Forms a layer of liquid slag. Good inclusion absorption capacity.

Calcium dolomite







Little reduction power.



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Calcium aluminate 4 42 1,5 45 1 1


Little reduction power. Good inclusion absorption capacity.








Little reduction power. Good inclusion absorption capacity.


It has been previously mentioned that one of the main problems for the continuous casting process is the breaking of the skin during the process. This break may happen on the workpiece still inside the mould or, which is more serious, with the workpiece in the secondary cooling region. In the operational point of view, the skin breaking inside the mould is less harmful because there is usually a resolidification of the steel. Still, this phenomenon causes the formation of defects on the cast products (sticker, double

casting, etc). However, the breaking of the skin inside the mould may cause the breaking of the skin in the secondary cooling region, creating an uncontrolled flow of liquid metal that may damage equipment such as rolls, bearings, spray tips, etc. This fact is even more serious in the case of slabs continuous


requiring the


immediate halt of the casting in the affected strand or the termination of the machine's sequence. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, many hours may be required for the machine to return to operation. In the case of billets casting in many strands, it is possible to interrupt the casting only on the affect shaft. To clarify the process that causes the breaking of the skin on the continuous casting, we show on figure 4.5 a schematic representation of many stages of this phenomenon,

considering that the solidification occurred normally during the casting: 1) The solidification occurs normally during the steel casting. 2) Due to an inadequate lubrication of the mould/slab interface there is excessive

friction, causing the slab to stick to the mould. 3) Because the slab is being pulled by the withdrawal rolls and the mould is subjected to vertical oscilation, there is a small breakage just bellow the sticking point. 4) The liquid steel fills the space left by the crack, forming a new skin, which also breaks. 5) This process is repeated throughout the casting. 6) When the breaking cicle reaches the mould's exit, the liquid steel leaks.




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Figure 4.5 schematic representation of the solid steel skin break mechanism (breakout)




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