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Steel Edition

RHI Bulletin >1> 2013


The Journal of Refractory Innovations

50 YEARS

Electric Arc Furnace

ANKERHARTH

COMPAC SOL A100S-15 for


EAF Delta Applications

RH DegasserConcave
Bottom Lining Design

Highly Manoeuvrable
GEKKO Gunning Manipulator

RHI Bulletin >1> 2013


The Journal of Refractory Innovations

RHI Bulletin 1/2013


Steel Edition

Published by:
Chief Editor:
Executive Editor:
Technical Writer:
Proofreaders:
Project Manager:
Photography, Graphics
and Production:
Design and Typesetting:
Printers:

RHI AG, Vienna, Austria


Bernd Buchberger
Alexander Maranitsch, Marcos Tomas
Clare McFarlane
Bernd Buchberger, Clare McFarlane
Ulla Kuttner
Markus Kohlbacher, Christoph Brandner
Universal Druckerei GmbH, Leoben, Austria
Universal Druckerei GmbH, Leoben, Austria


Contact: Ulla Kuttner
RHI AG, Technology Center
Magnesitstrasse 2
8700 Leoben, Austria

E-mail: ulla.kuttner@rhi-ag.com

Tel: +43 (0) 502 13-5323

Fax: +43 (0) 502 13-5237
www.rhi-ag.com

The products, processes, technologies, or tradenames in the
RHI Bulletin may be the subject of intellectual property rights
held by RHI AG or other companies.
2<

RHI worldwide
RHI Publishes Second
Sustainability Report

RHI Acquires a 69.6% Stake in Indian Orient


Refractories

Austria >> For the second time, RHI has


published a sustainability report according to the reporting standards of the
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The
2012 report contains comprehensive
data and facts on good corporate governance, product responsibility, environment and energy, health and safety, and
social responsibility.
With the preparation of a second sustainability report, RHI has taken its sustainability management one step further. The report places strong focus on
the progress of various sustainability
measures, present achievements, and
sets further targets in the individual sustainability areas. Furthermore, RHI
examines in detail challenges and problems in different areas and presents
answers the company provides at pres
ent and for the future.
RHI publishes a sustainability report
according to GRI on an annual basis, in
order to sustainably and regularly communicate trends, developments, and
achievements.
The current report can be found on
RHIs homepage under Group/Sustainability and printed versions can be
ordered using the ordering service in
the internet.

India >> In January 2013, RHI acquired 43.6% of the share capital
of Orient Refractories Ltd., (ORL) and a further 26% by the end of
April 2013 via an open offer. The transaction price for the 69.6%
totalled approximately 50 million.
ORL is an Indian producer of special refractories and monolithics
listed on the National Stock Exchange of India and Bombay Stock
Exchange. ORL develops and produces a wide range of shaped
and monolithic refractories for the iron and steel industry, serving
both domestic and international customers. Headquartered in New
Dehli, ORL has manufacturing as well as research and development facilities, along with eight sales offices located throughout
India.
For RHI the acquisition is key to pursuing its growth strategy
focused on emerging markets and strengthening its global market
position in the flow control business segment. With its strong
presence at Indian mini mills, ORLs business complements RHIs
current market position. In addition to the technical and service
know-how, ORLs production facility in India will further strengthen
RHIs service-oriented sales approach for the growing Indian and
Asian steel industry.

RHI at the China Glass


Expo 2013
China >> The 24th China Glass Expo
was held at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing from May 2427,
2013. The trade fair provided an opportunity for RHI Sales and Marketing to
meet with many customers and discuss
potential projects and the future market
situation.
RHI personnel also presented topics
including refractory trends for the glass
industry, highlighting environmentally
friendly products such as MgCr-free
solutions as well as lining concepts for
pet coke firing.
The general opinion at China Glass
2013 was the market is showing a slight
recovery. RHI is confident the challenges
can be overcome and is looking for new,
future business opportunities.

RHI Committed to Improving Occupational


Health and Safety
Austria >> Starting with RHIs objective to be accident-free by
2016, the decision was made to introduce the Occupational
Health and Safety Advisory Services (OHSAS) standard
18001:2007. This is a British Standard that defines requirements
for the management of health protection and safety at work. The
specification enables RHI to monitor, measure, and improve safety and health in the workplace. It is based on a systematic
approach that encompasses all plant areas.
A year was required to implement OHSAS at the Breitenau and
Hochfilzen plants. Three principal areas had to be introduced
and/or complemented: Preparation and adaptation of process
instructions according to OHSAS; introduction of safety minutes;
and introduction of regular and documented safety inspections.
Whilst creation or adaptation of process instructions was relatively straightforward, the challenge has been to put them into practice. Safety minutes were newly introduced and safety topics are
now discussed with all employees at regular intervals. This
serves to raise awareness and to identify and implement
improvements. Although safety inspections were always carried
out in the past, this procedure has now been standardized.
Measuring safety at work and health protection is based on two
key performance indicators: Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate
(LTIFR), the accident frequency based on 200000 worked hours;
and the Health Projects Rate (HPR), which details participation in
health projects.
The initial certification audits were held at the end of April and
were passed without any major nonconformities. Following the
introduction of OHSAS 18001, accident frequency in these plants
has already decreased by approximately 25% in only about a
year.
>
> 33

RHI worldwide
OMK Vyksa Steel Works
and RHI Sign the First FLS
Contract in Russia

Russia >> In March 2013, RHI signed a


one-year full line service (FLS) contract
with the Russian steel group OMK Vyksa
Steel Works. The expected order volume
for the year amounts to approximately
7 million. The cooperation, which comprises material for steel ladles and slide
gates, was officially launched on
April 15, 2013.
The successful implementation and
signing of the contract were only possible
through the active support and excellent
cooperation of colleagues from the marketing, legal, tax and finance, transport
and logistics departments as well as
internal experts who had previously realized similarly complex projects in Austria
and Switzerland.
The technology partnership with OMK
Vyksa Steel Works enables RHI to strengthen its position in the Russian market and
expand the key account m
arket.

Emirates Steel Signs FiveYear Contract With RHI


UAE >> After more than two years of
intensive negotiations with Emirates
Steel, a five-year contract was signed
with RHI on March 25, 2013. The contract comprises delivery of two EAF
gunning robots (TERMINATOR XL with
laser), servicing the machines, and
exclusive share of EAF refractory deliveries for the next five years. The total
deliveries have an expected value of
US$35 million.
Emirates Steel currently owns three
EAF steel works and produces approximately 3.3 million tonnes of steel annually. Further expansion stages are
already being planned. RHI has been the
main supplier for this steel group since
the start of operations in 2009. In addition to the aforementioned contract for
EAF-related deliveries, RHI also supplies
refractories for other applications.
This is an important strategic step
because with a long-term contract to
supply refractories and provide services,
RHI has a foothold as a technology partner with a renowned, expanding steel
group in the region.
4<
4
<

RHI Participates at AISTech 2013

USA >> AISTech 2013, the Iron and Steel Technology Conference and
Exposition, took place from May 69 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh (USA). Key steel producers, suppliers, corporate executives and leaders, as well as academia gathered to exchange
technical information, network, and view new process and product
technologies.
This year 46 countries were represented at steels premier technology event by over 8000 attendees. Along with more than 500 companies, RHI and INTERSTOP shared a booth at the exposition, which provided a central information and meeting point for existing and potential customers.
RHI also participated in the technical sessions, presenting multiple
topics including BOF lining recommendations, EAF process optimizations, the latest developments in magnesia-carbon bricks for modern
EAFs, and flow control advances. Two of the technical sessions were
also chaired by RHI personnel.
AISTech 2014 will take place at the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, from May 58.

Lifetime Record of CFD-Optimized EBT Tapholes


at EZDK
Egypt >> In December 2012, RHI introduced a newly developed brand
(ANKERTAP YR) for CFD-optimized tapholes at Al Ezz Dekheila Steel
Company - Alexandria (EZDK) SMP1 in Egypt. This led to a spectacular
lifetime record of 251 heats without repair in the 95-tonne tapping
weight EAF. Compared to the initial situation (cylindrical taphole
design with a different brand), this is a lifetime improvement of 186%.
ANKERTAP YR, a new and improved MgO-C recipe, was especially
designed to withstand the high wear rates in EBT tapholes. The carbon-bonded grade is produced at RHIs Radenthein plant (Austria) and
is based on high-quality MgO and graphite, in combination with special antioxidants.

RHI Presents at the International Refractory


Conference in China
China >> From May 1517, the second China International Refractory
Production and Application Conference took place in Wuxi. More than
300 customers, suppliers, producers, and service providers from the
international refractory community represented approximately 170
companies worldwide and used the opportunity to network and discuss current trends and developments in the refractory industry.
The congress focused on areas such as the overall economic situation in China, its impact on the steel industry, and current consolidation activities in the refractory sector. From a technical perspective,
one of the core topics was recycling. RHI presented papers examining
current developments in BOF maintenance and process methods as
well as safety-optimized closing systems (SOC-H) for ladle gas purging. Both these areas are also included in this Bulletin edition (see
pages 29 and 45).
China is the worlds largest refractory materials producer, exporter,
and consumer, accounting for approximately 65% of global production. As a sponsor, RHI was enthusiastic to demonstrate its strong
commitment to this market.

RHI at MagMin 2013 in Oslo

RHI Attends CEMENTTECH

Norway >> From May 1315, 2013,


more than 100 companies and 300 participants discussed the global magnesia
markets, trends, new deposits, applications, the role of China, legal issues
(WTO), and much more at MagMin, the
worlds most important annual trade
show for the magnesia industry.
RHI provided lead sponsorship for
this event and was represented by
speakers and panel discussion participants. The RHI presentations gave
insight into RHIs raw material supply
both externally and internally. Delegates
could also obtain information about
RHIs raw material grades and applications at a small booth within the conference facilities.
In addition, some 60 visitors had the
opportunity to take part in a field trip to
RHI Normag in Porsgrunn (Norway).
They were given a comprehensive guided tour of the sinter and fused magnesia production facilities. The interest in
this field trip was extremely high and
participants were impressed by the
dimensions and importance of this raw
material production site.

China >> The China International Cement Industry Exhibition,


CEMENTTECH, ran from April 2426, 2013. For the 14th time,
Chinas international trade fair for the cement industry was the
meeting point for experts and companies from the Asian region.
More than 400 exhibitors from China, the USA, and Europe gathered in Beijing to showcase the most advanced, international technology and equipment. The event included mine exploration, powder processing, cement manufacture, concrete products, and construction. With more than 10000 visitors, interest in the trade fair
was huge.
The presence of RHI in this market environment was received
very positively by many visitors and provided an occasion for lively
conversations with customers. RHIs stand focused on four major
topics: High-grade sintered magnesia production (HQM 98) from
RHI plants; established standard brick brands including ANKRAL ZC,
ANKRAL RC, and ANKRAL DC; the high-grade brick brands
ANKRAL R1, ANKRAL R2, and ANKRAL Z1 based on HQM 98; and
new products such as ANKRAL R8.
The15th CEMENTTECH will take place in Beijing during March
2014.

Innovative Refractory
Solutions for Direct
Reduction Processes
USA >> A new direct reduction technology for iron ore in North America challenges existing refractory concepts. The
very demanding process conditions
require the development of innovative
refractory solutions. Typically, the furnace roof has been pump cast and the
walls shotcreted with high-grade alumina mixes.
During the April 2013 shutdown, RHIs
initiative was to install a trial brick
RESISTAL RK10-1in the furnace.
RESISTAL RK10-1 is a top brick grade
developed by RHI, giving extremely
high corrosion resistance together with
structural flexibility. The section lined
with RESISTAL RK10-1 included both
inboard and outboard walls and the corresponding roof section. Whilst the wall
sections are a fairly standard design, the
roof section is unique, requiring new
shapes. To reduce installation time and
further improve service life in the future,
development of a new brick/shape
design is under consideration.

Mixed First Quarter Results for RHI in 2013


Confirm Full-Year Guidance
Austria >> RHI Group revenues in the first quarter of 2013 were
down 2.6% on the comparable quarter of 2012 and amounted to
425.5 million. While revenues in the Steel Division fell by 8.1% in
a market environment that continued to be challenging for cyclical
reasons, the Industrial Division recorded growth of 11.7% due to
strong cement business and major project deliveries by the Nonferrous Metals Business Unit. The operating result for the first quarter,
at 49.4 million, was increased by 47.0% compared with the same
period in 2012, despite delayed commissioning of the fusion lines
in Norway. The EBIT margin improved significantly from 7.7% to
11.6%. Due to tax provisions and a higher tax rate, profit was down
28.8%. For the entire year 2013, RHI adheres to the outlook that
revenues will be similar to 2012 and a further improvement in the
EBIT margin can be expected.

RHI at ALUMINIUM MIDDLE EAST


UAE >> ALUMINIUM MIDDLE EAST 2013, the leading exhibition
for aluminium products, technologies, and investments in the Middle East was held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 2325 April. It provided the meeting place for specialists and companies from the aluminium industry and its application sectors.
ALUMINIUM MIDDLE EAST 2013 registered a record turnout of
more than 3000 attendees from over 70 countries and a total of 165
exhibitors from 28 countries. The trade fair serves as a regional
platform, bringing together international industry leaders including
aluminium producers, raw material processors, manufacturers of
end products with aluminium components, as well as suppliers of
technologies and equipment for aluminium production, processing,
and refining.
The RHI booth had many visitors, offering a venue to share
knowledge about the aluminium industry and current market
situation.
>5

50
YEARS
ANKERHARTH

One of the best-known refractory products for lining electric arc furnaces is celebrating an anniversary.
For more details please contact: RHI AG, 1100 Vienna, Wienerbergstrae 11, Austria
50 Phone:
years ago,
the502
foundation
was(0)laid
the successful
development
+43 (0)
13-0, Fax: +43
502for
13-6213,
E-mail: rhi@rhi-ag.com

and market introduction of this proven lining concept.

Excellence
in Refractories

www.rhi-ag.com

Editorial

Contents

This year ANKERHARTH electric arc furnace ramming mixes celebrate 50 years of commercial production and RHI is very proud to
have reached this milestone with a pivotal product used for hearth
lining. Since its introduction back in September 1963, ANKERHARTH
has been continually optimized to provide customers with a range of
products suitable for all and ever-evolving EAF process conditions.
With more than 150000 tonnes sold in 2012, this brand is globally
recognized as the number one EAF bottom ramming mix solution; its
reliability and safety benefits are undisputed. Two main factors have
resulted in this success story: The special alpine magnesia composition available from RHI mines and a longstanding commitment to
research and development. The latter enables both incremental and
novel product advances tailored to customer requirements.

8 ANKERHARTH50th Anniversary of Electric


Arc Furnace Bottom Ramming Mixes

The first paper in this issue focuses on the chronological development of ANKERHARTH as well as the current product portfolio,
including the advantageous properties of this high-grade brand and
how they meet modern EAF hearth ramming mix requirements.
This is followed by the introduction of a new sol-bonded castable for
EAF delta applications. The easy drying and heat-up behaviour of
COMPAC SOL A100S-15, combined with outstanding material properties, generated very successful trial results at Acciaierie Bertoli Safau
(Italy), where top performance roof deltas are now routinely cast onsite with this brand. An additional energy-saving refractory application for EAFs, inert gas bottom purging, is the subject of the third
paper. Numerous case studies are provided, detailing various process improvements realized during diverse steel grade production
with this technology.
Postmortem investigations are essential to understand refractory
wear and develop strategies and new products to extend lining lifetimes. In this edition, one paper describes mineralogical investigations of water-damaged brickwork from an EAF and a second focuses
on the wear phenomena determined in a gunned tundish lining sample and measures that were subsequently recommended to extend
the casting sequence.

14 First Practical Results With COMPAC SOL


A100S-15A High-End Sol-Bonded
Castable Designed for EAF Deltas
20 Benefits of Electric Arc Furnace Bottom
Gas Purging Systems
25 Magnesia-Carbon Lining Wear Following
Water Leakage From an EAF Cooling
System
29 Basic Oxygen Furnace Benchmarking
Maintenance and Process Considerations
33 Effects of Metal Powder Additives on
MgO-C Brick Performance
38 GEKKOAffordable Gunning Manipulator
for Efficient Refractory Maintenance
41 Improved Concave Lining Design for the
Bottom of RH Degassers
45 SOC-H SystemThe New Standard
Solution for Ladle Gas Purging
51 Benefits of a Refractory Coating on Purging
Plug Steel Cones
54 RHIs New Tundish Water Modelling Facility
58 Measures to Improve the Durability of a
Tundish Working Lining Based on Slurry
Gunning Mix

In addition to magnesia-carbon brick grade developments realized


through the application of antioxidants, further advances for the steel
industry described in this issue include the affordable GEKKO gunning manipulator, a concave lining design for RH degasser bottoms
that significantly increases the relining interval, a metering nozzle
changer, BOF maintenance strategies, and ladle purging plug innovations focused on improving plant safety as well as product installation and performance.

63 The New INTERSTOP Metering Nozzle


Changer Type MNC-RSPHot Operation at
Ferriera Valsabbia

RHI continually invests in research capabilities that provide benefits


for the customer, such as technologies for refractory design optimization and quality assurance. The two areas highlighted in this edition
are a new tundish water modelling facility in Leoben (Austria) and
ultrasonic imaging for product development and quality control.

Subscription Service
and Contributions

67 Ultrasonic Imaging of Refractories Using


Different Coupling Techniques

Yours sincerely

We encourage you, our customers and interested readers, to relay your comments, feedback, and suggestions to improve the publication quality using the contact details below.
Furthermore, to receive the RHI Bulletin free of
charge please e-mail or fax your details to the
Subscription Service using the form on the
back page.

Bernd Buchberger
Corporate Research and Development
RHI AG

E-mail: ulla.kuttner@rhi-ag.com
Phone: +43 (0) 502 13-5323
Fax: +43 (0) 502 13-5237

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to all those who contributed to this Steel Bulletin. Through your commitment we are able
to keep our valued readers abreast of RHIs developments, achievements, and services.

>7

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 813

Wilfried Eckstein, Karl-Michael Zettl and David Wappel

ANKERHARTH50th Anniversary of Electric Arc


Furnace Bottom Ramming Mixes
Approximately 50 years ago, the foundation for development of one of the most renowned
refractory products, ANKERHARTH, was laid. Due to the increasing importance of electric arc
furnace (EAF) steelmaking at the beginning of the 1960s, refractory products that could fulfil
the increasing operating requirements such as rapid furnace lining and startup in combination
with sufficient service life had to be developed. This paper describes the chronological development of ANKERHARTH from its early beginnings up to the present day, the properties and
function of various selected raw materials, and modern EAF hearth ramming mix requirements.
Introduction
One of the most famous refractory products used for lining
electric arc furnaces (EAFs) is celebrating an anniversary.
Fifty years ago the cornerstone was laid for the successful
development and market introduction of the proven lining
concept, ANKERHARTH. Since 1905 when the first EAF went
into operation, application areas for electric steelmaking
have continuously increased due to its general applicability
[1]. Whilst initially the EAF was only used to produce special steel grades, steady improvements to this manufacturing process combined with simultaneously decreasing operating costs and increasing capacity have made the EAF,
besides the converter, the most important steel production
unit worldwide.

Lining Developments

used for mixes that were applied with water. Initial trials
using liquid sodium silicate as a binder were not very successful due to the high shrinkage and resultant cracks during heating up. Improvements were realized with sulphate
and chromate bonded mixes; however, they required long
drying times. Therefore, as a result of their easier and
quicker application, doloma mixes became a strong competition to magnesia products.
Doloma Hearth (CRESPI System)
Due to its high sintering activity, it was possible to dry line
hearths with fired doloma. However, the use of oxygen and
intensive operating conditions led to an insufficient service
life in certain cases. Whilst the advantage of magnesia over
doloma was well known for EAF applications, the technology was not in place to produce an appropriate unshaped

Up until the 1960s, open hearth furnaces were the dominant


steel production unit [2]. However, they became continuously substituted by EAFs and BOFs during the subsequent
years because of the inherent slow nature of the SiemensMartin process. The following techniques were commonly
used to line open hearth furnaces.
Brick Lining
A layer of magnesia or doloma fines was installed on the
permanent lining, and bricks (i.e., fired magnesia or chrome
magnesia) were then laid on top in a concave manner, with
particular attention paid to keeping the joints as narrow as
possible.
Sintered Hearth
This lining technique, comprising consecutive layers of sintered magnesia, was very commonly used for open hearth
furnaces. A layer of sintered magnesia was installed, heated
up until the sintering temperature was achieved, and then
once the furnace had cooled sufficiently the next layer was
applied. The advantage of this technique was that a relatively dense sintered hearth could be achieved throughout
the entire lining thickness. However, the disadvantages
were that it was extremely time consuming and very physically demanding, since manual lining was performed in a
furnace that was still hot.
Magnesia Wet Ramming Mixes
Due to the rapid hydration of lime-rich sintered magnesia,
only sintered magnesia with a low lime content could be
8<

Figure 1. Veitscher Magnesitwerke EAF product brochure from 1960.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


product with sufficient refractoriness for dry ramming until
the early 1960s.
Magnesia Dry Ramming Mixes
The development of magnesia dry ramming mixes was primarily driven by the use of magnesia from the RHI mine in
Veitsch (Austria) that was not suitable for brick production
(Figures 1 and 2). However, this product, sold under the
brand name Veitscher Hartherd, did not achieve the performance level of doloma linings.
In September 1963, the ANKERHARTH brand name was
used for the first time to market a high-iron magnesia
mixture. This first ANKERHARTH bottom ramming mix had
a maximum grain size of 15 mm, a lime content of 12 wt.%,
and was installed in a 6-tonne electric arc furnace at AMG
in Traisen (Austria). Water was added to reduce the dust
level during lining. After the Veitsch mine was shut in 1966,
raw materials from RHIs mine in Breitenau (Austria) were
used for ANKERHARTH. It was well established that a low
SiO2 and sufficiently high Fe2O3 content are important for
high refractoriness. Subsequent developments of the brand
concentrated on optimizing the grain size distribution to
achieve a high packing density during lining and thereby
an improved service life. Initially, mixes manufactured with
sintered magnesia from Breitenau only had a lime content
of 410 wt.%. To reduce the dust, oil was added to all
ANKERHARTH mixes.
During this time, a problem associated with the mixes was
disintegration of Ca2SiO4 (C2S) during furnace cooling. As a
result it was necessary to breakout and reline the furnace
after every shutdown. However, it was discovered that this
could be successfully avoided by adding boric acid. In 1967
the first standard product termed ANKERHARTH NB70 was
introduced on the market. This product based on K-sinter
magnesia from Breitenau was produced by RHI up until
2005 (Figure 3).

In 1973, the first mixes with a high lime (ANKERHARTH


NB90) and low iron (ANKERHARTH NB20) content were
added to the product portfolio. The latter advance was realized by using magnesia sourced from RHIs mine in Turkey.
During an economic crisis in 1974, boric acid became un
available and therefore the hearth mixes had to be produced without this stabilizing additive. However, whilst in
part already known from the literature and subsequently
confirmed by laboratory tests, in-service C2S disintergration
no longer occurred in the absence of boric acid due to surplus lime in these newly developed mixes. Subsequently,
boric acid was omitted from the mix and the hot properties
further improved.
As a result of advances in EAF efficiency and the application
of increased amounts of ANKERHARTH to generate thicker
hearth linings, explosive lining separation and thereby high
wear started to occur around 1977. It was established that
this deleterious behaviour resulted from the addition of
dedusting oil. However, densification tests showed that mixtures without dedusting oil had an even higher density that
resulted in better performance regarding erosion, shrinkage,
and infiltration. Therefore, newly developed mixes were
introduced in 1980 without dedusting oil under the brand
names ANKERHARTH NN25 and ANKERHARTH NN95.
Whilst up to this time ANKERHARTH mixes only had a
maximum grain size of 5 mm, in 1987 mixes with grains
up to a maximum size of 8 mm were introduced and have
remained part of the portfolio (ANKERHARTH NN28). Due
to the coarser granulometry more attention must be paid to
avoid segregation and lining steep banks is not possible;
however, less shrinkage and improved thermal shock resis
tance can be achieved.

In the subsequent years, EAFs became increasingly important for steel production because of the numerous productivity and technological improvements to the process. As a
result, the hearth ramming mixes had to be adapted to meet
the more demanding in-service requirements.

In addition to these mixes for standard applications, during


the 1990s mixes were developed for special applications
such as direct current EAFs (ANKERHARTH DC25), lining
steep banks (ANKERHARTH SB25), and the newly invented
Thyssen long-time stirrer (TLS) system that requires high
gas permeability (ANKERHARTH TLS2). Due to the constant
increasing demand for ANKERHARTH, production was
expanded in 1994 to include the Hochfilzen plant.

Figure 2. Veitsch plant and mine in 1974.

Figure 3. ANKERHARTH packing station at the Breitenau plant in 1972.

>9

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Since 1999, a mix has also been available for highly
stressed areas resulting from thermal shock and acidic
slag attack. ANKERHARTH NN18 is characterized by a
low iron and high lime content. This combination was
achieved through the development of a hydration resis
tant, near net shape fired magnesia where the high lime
containing grains are protected against hydration by a
thin MgO layer.
To meet the increasing demands for ANKERHARTH, the last
years have been dominated by capacity expansions as well
as fulfilling the increasing environmental and quality stan
dards. Phase calculation programs and field trials have
shown that a small increase in the ANKERHARTH lime content can lead to further performance enhancement. This
knowledge was implemented at the beginning of 2011 by a
slight revision of the chemical composition, thereby making
ANKERHARTH ready for future demands. A timeline detailing the major ANKERHARTH developments since 1960 is
provided in Figure 4.

Veitscher Hartherd

1960
1963

Introduction of the ANKERHARTH brand name

1967

ANKERHARTH NB70 (based on K-sinter magnesia)

1970
1973
1974

ANKERHARTH NB90 (high lime)


ANKERHARTH NB20 (low iron)
Boric acid removed from ANKERHARTH

ANKERHARTH NN25; ANKERHARTH NN95


(no dedusting oil)

1980

1987

ANKERHARTH NN28 (max. grain size 8 mm)

1990

ANKERHARTH DC25 (direct current EAF)


ANKERHARTH SB25 (lining steep banks)
ANKERHARTH TLS2 (TLS system)
2000

2010

1999

2011

ANKERHARTH NN18 (low iron/high lime)

Revision of ANKERHARTH chemical composition

Figure 4. Timeline of the major ANKERHARTH developments.

10 <

Requirements on Modern EAF Hearth


Ramming Mixes
Technological developments in the last three decades have
transformed the EAF into a large scale, fast, economical
melting unit that has become increasingly used to produce
high quality flat products. A factor contributing to these
advances, having played a decisive role in increasing EAF
steel plant productivity, is the availability of high-grade
refractories [3].
The refractory concept for modern ultra high power EAFs
involves optimizing the furnace lining design by determining the influence of different operating conditions on refractory performance in the various furnace areas, selecting the
most appropriate materials for the conditions, and minimizing overall refractory costs.
The most critical region of the EAF refractory lining, in
terms of operational safety and service life, is the furnace
bottom. The main requirements on modern EAF hearth
ramming mixes are:
>> Easy and quick lining procedure.
>> Excellent sintering behaviour and rapid ceramic
bonding.
>> High bulk density and low porosity during operation.
>> High mechanical stability and high resistance against
scrap impact.
>> High resistance against steel melt and slag attack.
>> High resistance to hot erosion.
These requirements can be fulfilled by the advantageous
properties of ANKERHARTH. The ramming mix behaviour
is positively influenced by various factors including the
periclase (MgO), a high lime content, a sufficiently high
iron oxide content, very low levels of alumina and silica, a
high sinter material density, and a high compaction level
during installation, which is favoured by an optimized grain
size distribution (reducing the wear rate).
The ideal raw material for this application is Austrian sintered magnesia because only temporary liquid phases
exist during the sintering process, which are subsequently
transformed into components with a high refractoriness.
Dicalcium ferrite, which is present in sufficient quantity in
the sintered material used in the ANKERHARTH mixes,
forms these temporary liquid phases (first eutectic melt at
1308 C).
In addition, the ferrostatic pressure of the steel melt further
increases the density of the sintered layer. This results in
densities greater than 3 g/cm and porosities lower than 10
vol.%, which are equivalent to the density and porosity values of fired magnesia bricks.
Below the steel melt, the atmosphere is highly reducing.
In the sintered magnesia Fe3+ is reduced to Fe2+, which
subsequently forms a solid solution with MgO. Thereby,
the low melting phase Ca2Fe2O5 is transformed into CaO,
with a melting point of 2614 C, and magnesiowstite
((Mg,Fe)O), with a melting point of approximately 2600 C,
depending on the MgO/FeO ratio present in the mix. After
the sintering process and interactions between the components of the liquid steel and the bottom ramming mix have
occurred, solid MgO is present (with FeO in solid solution),

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


as well as solid CaO and low amounts of partial liquid
phases, depending on the Al2O3 and SiO2 content in the
mix.
The high lime content in ANKERHARTH mixes inhibits high
silica slag infiltration through the formation of dicalcium
silicate. An additional benefit of the lime level is that at
high temperatures tricalcium silicate is formed that stabilizes the dicalcium silicate and avoids its disintegration during furnace cooling. For this effect to occur, the CaO/SiO2
ratio in the bottom ramming mix must be significantly
higher than 10. If this ratio is < 8, dicalcium silicate disintegration results. As previously described, this was an issue
prior to 1973 when ANKERHARTH mixes only had a low
CaO content.
Currently the ANKERHARTH lime content is in the range of
approximately 2026 wt.% and this is sufficient for the
aforementioned effect, although it is still much lower than
the CaO content in doloma (approximately 4050 wt.%
CaO). However, the high magnesia level present in ANKERHARTH is fundamental to the MgO microstructure formation, and this compound does not exist in doloma refractories. In the EAF reducing atmosphere, the iron oxide in
slag can be absorbed to form high melting magnesiowstite.
In summary, the following factors have the main influence
on ANKERHARTH mix performance:
>> Fe2O3: A certain level is required for the mix to properly
sinter. However, as the amount increases, the refractoriness can be influenced.
>> MgO: The higher the MgO levels, the greater the resis
tance against FeO attack present in the slag.
>> CaO: Calcium oxide neutralizes the infiltrating SiO2 pres
ent in the slag. It stiffens the infiltrated slag already in
the ANKERHARTH layer and inhibits further infiltration.
A high CaO level is necessary to reduce corrosive slag
attack to a minimum.
>> SiO2: An impurity that lowers the refractoriness.

Fe2O3 level

Standard

An overview of the current ANKERHARTH heath ramming


mix portfolio is provided in Table I. The ANKERHARTH
materials are classified in the brand name according to the
application type, Fe2O3 content, and grain size using the
nomenclature detailed in Table II.

Characteristic

Nomenclature

Application type
Standard mixes

NN

Dust-free application mixes

NB

Mixes for steep banks

SB

Chemical content
Low Fe2O3

Middle Fe2O3

High Fe2O3

Grain size
05 mm

5/0

08 mm

Table II. Nomenclature used to classify ANKERHARTH mixes.

SiO2
(wt.%)

Fe2O3
(wt.%)

Al2O3
(wt.%)

Grain size
(mm)

ANKERHARTH NN18

71

26

0.5

2.4

0.1

08

ANKERHARTH NN15

71

26

0.7

2.0

0.1

05

ANKERHARTH NN28

69

26

0.9

3.8

0.3

08

ANKERHARTH NN25

72

23

0.8

3.4

0.4

05

ANKERHARTH NN98

72

22

0.5

5.0

0.4

08

ANKERHARTH NN95

73

21

0.4

5.2

0.4

05

ANKERHARTH NB18

71

26

0.5

2.4

0.1

08

ANKERHARTH NB28

69

26

0.9

3.8

0.3

08

ANKERHARTH NB20

74

20

0.6

3.6

0.3

05

High

ANKERHARTH NB90

73

21

0.4

5.2

0.4

05

Low

ANKERHARTH SB15

71

26

0.7

2.4

0.1

05

Middle

ANKERHARTH SB25

77

19

0.6

3.2

0.2

05

High

ANKERHARTH SB95

73

21

0.4

5.2

0.4

05

Middle

Low
Dust-free
application

Classification of ANKERHARTH Brands

CaO
(wt.%)

High

Steep banks

It must be emphasized that the properties and benefits of


ANKERHARTH cannot be achieved with bottom ramming
mixes that are synthetically prepared from different raw
materials. The desirable benefits are based on the typical
paragenesis in raw materials extracted from RHI mines.

MgO
(wt.%)

Low

Middle

Brand

>> MgO + CaO: Indicates the total amount of refractory


material in the mix.
>> CaO/SiO2 ratio: Indicates the ability to increase slag viscosity and as a result infiltration can be inhibited.

Table I. Current ANKERHARTH portfolio.

> 11

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Application

Fe2O3 Content

RHIs ANKERHARTH portfolio is based on three series:

A very important factor influencing mechanical stability of


the hearth is the thickness of the sintered ANKERHARTH
layer. This is primarily affected by the amount of Fe2O3 in
the mix, namely the higher the Fe2O3 level, the thicker the
sintered layer and the higher the mechanical stability of the
hearth. However, the hearth wear rate increases with the
Fe2O3 level due to the formation of liquid phases. Therefore,
it is important to choose the correct ANKERHARTH Fe2O3
level depending on the average EAF tapping temperature
and the amount of heavy scrap (large pieces) charged.
Classification of ANKERHARTH materials according to
the Fe2O3 level and the sintered layer thickness formed,
depending on the hot face temperature, is depicted in
Figure 6. It is recommended that ANKERHARTH NN15 is
selected for EAFs with very high tapping temperatures and
ANKERHARTH NN95 is used for low to standard tapping
temperatures.

>> ANKERHARTH NN comprises the standard mixes without


any additives providing application options.
>> ANKERHARTH NB was developed to avoid dust formation during handling and densification of the hearth ramming mix. Reducing the dust levels improves working
conditions for steel plant employees. Achieving a dustfree application without a negative influence on the other
mix properties is possible due to a special dust-binding
additive.
>> ANKERHARTH SB, containing a plastifying agent, was
developed to enable steep banks to be generated next
to the EAF sidewall easily and quickly without using a
mould. A direct comparison of ANKERHARTH NN25 and
ANKERHARTH SB25 installation where the maximum slope
angle of 40 is increased to 80 is provided in Figure 5.

Standard banks

ANKERHARTH NN25
Slope angle ~ 40
(a)
Steep banks

ANKERHARTH SB25
Slope angle ~ 80
(b)
Figure 5. Comparison of the application characteristics of (a) standard ANKERHARTH NN and (b) ANKERHARTH SB, developed for
steep bank installations.

25

n High Fe2O3
n Middle Fe2O3
n Low Fe2O3

20

RH

KE

AN

25

ARTH

ERH
ANK

10

NN1

6
5
4
3
2

1
0
1200

1250

1300

1350

1400

1450

1500

1550

1600

1650

1700

Hot face temperature [C]


Figure 6. Hot face temperature influence on the sintered layer
thickness of various ANKERHARTH mixes containing different
levels of Fe2O3.

12 <

n ANKERHARTH NN95 (oxidizing atmosphere)


n ANKERHARTH NN25 (oxidizing atmosphere)
n ANKERHARTH NN15 (oxidizing atmosphere)

N
HN

RT

RHA

KE
AN

15

N9

HN

T
AR

Liquid phases [%]

Thickness of sintered ANKERHARTH layer [cm]

30

1150

1250

1350

1450

1550

1650

Temperature [C]
Figure 7. Temperature-dependent formation of liquid phases in
various ANKERHARTH mixes under oxidizing conditions calculated using FactSage.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


The reason various mix brands demonstrate different sintering thicknesses is evident in Figure 7. ANKERHARTH
mixes with high Fe2O3 levels form higher amounts of liquid
phases at a certain temperature compared to those with
low Fe2O3 levels. The higher the amount of liquid phases,
the thicker the sintered layer, but the lower the hearth mix
refractoriness. An optimum sintered layer thickness is
between 15 and 20 cm.
Grain Size Distribution
The ANKERHARTH mixes are available in two different
grain size distributions. A grain size distribution of 05 mm
results in various advantages during the lining procedure,
compared to that of 08 mm (Table III). However, during
operation, the disadvantages of the 08 mm grain size distribution convert into clear benefits regarding hot performance of the mix.

Summary
Based on 50 years of experience, ANKERHARTH is still the
undisputed, leading EAF hearth ramming mix worldwide,
for all types of EAF processes. This was possible due to
decades of permanent further development of the product
portfolio, reacting to steadily increasing requirements from
the steel industry. The current ANKERHARTH portfolio covers all the prerequisites of EAF operators, providing specific
and customer tailored solutions. With a strong research and
development commitment as well as backward integration
providing secure high-quality magnesia sources, RHI is also
positioned to meet future demands from the electric steelmaking industry.

Grain size distribution


05 mm

08 mm

During lining
+ Steeper banks possible

Less steep banks possible

+ Easier deairing

Intensive deairing necessary

+ Less risk of demixing

Higher risk of demixing

+ Less risk of drop height

Drop height very restricted

In operation
Less resistance against hot erosion

+ High resistance against hot erosion

Less thermal shock resistance

+ High thermal shock resistance

Table III. The effect of different grain size distributions on


ANKERHARTH performance. Advantages (+) and disadvantages
(-) are indicated.

References
[1] Jellinghaus, M. Stahlerzeugung im Lichtbogenofen (3rd Edition); Verlag Stahleisen: Dsseldorf, 1994.
[2] Hdl, F. and Schmidt-Whitley, R. Die Geschichte der sterreichischen Magnesitindustrie und der RHI; RHI AG: Vienna, 2011.
[3] Eckstein, W., Kronthaler, A. and Silbernagl, M. ANKERHARTH Mixes for the Electric Arc Furnace Designed for the Future. RHI Bulletin. 2004,
No. 1, 1619.

Authors
Wilfried Eckstein, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Karl-Michael Zettl, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
David Wappel, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Corresponding author: Wilfried Eckstein, wilfried.eckstein@rhi-ag.com

> 13

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 1419

Markus Hochegger, Milo Blajs, Birger Nonnen and Peter Zottler

First Practical Results With COMPAC SOL


A100S-15A High-End Sol-Bonded Castable
Designed for EAF Deltas
RHIs new generation of sol-bonded castables and gunning mixes (COMPAC SOL and
CARSIT SOL) offer a variety of application advantages [13], the most important being an
easy drying and heat-up behaviour. The alumina-based mixes also demonstrate outstanding
material properties including excellent thermal shock resistance, high refractoriness, as well
as hot erosion and corrosion resistance. In 20112012 a further innovation in the field of solbonded alumina monolithics, the carbon-containing oxycarbide mixes (COMPAC ROX and
CARSIT ROX), were introduced for various steel applications [4]. The newly developed
COMPAC SOL A100(S)-15 (without and with steel needles), intended for electric arc furnace
(EAF) delta applications, represent the latest innovation in the field of sol-bonded mixes tailored to the very demanding conditions experienced by the EAF roof lining, which include
high thermal radiation, mechanical wear, and thermal shock.
Introduction

carbon-containing oxycarbide mixes (i.e., COMPAC ROX and


CARSIT ROX) show extremely impressive results and durabilities in several hot metal and steel industry applications [4]
and are the best example of innovative research and product
development with new technologies in the field of alumina
monolithics. The latest castable development, COMPAC SOL
A100S-15 (Table I), has a special matrix design and is
intended for monolithic EAF delta applications.

The most important concerns regarding cement-bonded


castables are the curing and dewatering steps, which must
be conducted carefully to reduce the danger of explosive
spalling. The initial idea behind the development of solbonded castables (COMPAC SOL and CARSIT SOL) was to
completely replace the traditional calcium aluminate
(cement) binding system in alumina-based refractory
castables, thereby providing a wide range of advantages
including:

COMPAC SOL A100S-15Sol-Bonded Castable


With In Situ Mullite Formation

>> Longer shelf life than cement-bonded castables.


>> No curing or predrying requirements.
>> Fast and easy heat-up procedure.
>> Higher refractoriness compared to equivalent cementbonded refractory products.
>> Improved chemical resistance (e.g., to alkalis and
sulphur).
>> Reduced brittleness leads to an increased thermal shock
resistance compared to equivalent cement-bonded
products.

The special material design of the new COMPAC SOL A100S-15


refractory castable is characterized by the following facts:
>> The use of a high-alumina raw material (i.e., sintered
alumina) as the main component in combination with
the special matrix design enables very high maximum
application temperatures.
>> The chemical composition and type of matrix components in the primary material are specifically adjusted
for an effective in situ formation of mullite at elevated in
service temperatures.
>> The matrix structure of this castable type comprises
designed micropores with an average pore size distribution approximately one-tenth that of traditional cementbonded systems. This enables rapid and simple drying
procedures.

The COMPAC SOL and CARSIT SOL products are a great


success worldwide. In the last years, RHI has extended the
product range and is now able to provide sol-bonded castables and gunning mixes for all main applications in the
cement line [13]. These sol-bonded refractory mixes have
also provided the basis for further innovations and developments in the field of new bonding technologies and innovative matrix design for alumina monolithics. RHIs

Brand

Al2O3

SiO2

Fe2O3 Steel needles

(wt.%) (wt.%) (wt.%)

Figure 1 is a micrograph of COMPAC SOL A100S-15 showing the microporous matrix between the tabular alumina

CCS (N/mm2)

LTE (%)

TC (W/mK)

110 C 1000 C 1000 C 400 C

800 C 1200 C

ATL

SL

(C)

(Months)

Raw material

COMPAC SOL A100S-15

99.5

0.0

0.1

80

180

0.7

3.25

2.55

2.65

1850

24

Sintered alumina

COMPAC SOL A100-15

99.5

0.0

0.1

80

180

0.7

3.05

2.45

2.40

1850

24

Sintered alumina

Table I. Chemical composition and physical properties of sol-bonded castables for EAF delta applications. Abbreviations include cold
crushing strength (CCS), linear thermal expansion (LTE), thermal conductivity (TC), application temperature limit (ATL), and shelf life (SL).

14 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


grains after treatment at 1500 C. Clearly visible are the high
level of sintering and well-embedded alumina grains in the
mullite matrix. A more detailed image of the matrix components after heating at 1500 C can be seen in Figure 2. The
main phases in the matrix are calcined alumina, in situ
formed mullite, and an Al2O3-SiO2 reaction zone on the rim
of alumina grains.
The material characteristics generate a cement-free refractory castable with extremely low brittleness despite the
very high refractoriness and extremely high strength
(> 150 MPa) over a broad temperature range. The specific
in situ phase formations at elevated temperatures also
result in a special matrix design with a microporous structure. This makes the product highly suitable for EAF delta
applications where high temperature load and thermal
shock are common.

EAF Steelmaking Influences on the Roof Delta


During the EAF process, electrical and chemical energy are
used to melt the charged raw materials (basically scrap).
The combined high energy input is transformed to thermal
energy and thermal radiation melts the raw materials as
well as having a massive impact on the refractory lining.
The main function of the roof is to enclose the EAF furnace
(heat insulation) and minimize energy losses as much as
possible. Therefore the refractory material used for the roof
delta (Figure 5), which acts as an electrical insulator surrounding the electrodes, has to withstand high temperatures (thermal wear) generated by the process. Besides acting as a heat insulator, the roof also protects the external
environment from the hot dust particles and acoustic

Figure 2. Matrix detail of COMPAC SOL A100S-15 after firing at


1500 C. The main matrix phases are calcined alumina (1), in situ
formed mullite (2), and an Al2O3-SiO2 reaction zone on the rim of
alumina grains (3).

100
90
80
70

Emitted water [%]

The simplified and safe drying behaviour is due to the fact


water is not bonded after the sol-bonded castables have set.
Therefore, it is easily removable, with the main water component in the gel structure being released at very low temperatures (Figure 3). The pore size distribution in solbonded castables provides high permeability at low temperatures, further facilitating dehydration (Figure 4). As a consequence, these castables are far less susceptible to dangerous high steam pressures, and the drying time can be
significantly reduced.

60
50
40
30
20

n Sol-gel
n Cement (8 wt.%)

10
0
0

Time [hours]
Figure 3. Drying behaviour of a cement-bonded castable (8 wt.%
cement) compared to a sol-bonded castable at 150 C. The amount
of water incorporated in both concretes was approximately the
same. In the case of sol-bonding, weight constancy was achieved
after a very short drying period at a constant temperature of only
150 C due to the high permeability at low temperatures.

100

Vaporization rate [ppm/minute]

0
-200
-400
-600
-800
-1000
-1200

n Sol-gel
n Cement

-1400

400 m
Figure 1. COMPAC SOL A100S-15 matrix after firing at 1500 C.

100

200

300

400

500

600

Temperature [C]
Figure 4. Determination of vaporization rates using thermal
gravimetric analysis illustrating that sol-bonded castables
release all the water at temperatures below 100 C.

> 15

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


is directed to the casting lines. The production portfolio from
the 100-tonne electric arc furnace consists of ingots; as-cast
blooms; and rolled, forged, and cold finished bars.
The main target at ABS was to increase the lifetime of the
roof delta and guarantee a simple, easy, and rapid on-site
execution of the roof delta casting process. In January 2012,
the first trials to cast the roof delta on-site with COMPAC
SOL A100S-15 were started. The results not only show a
significant lifetime increase (Table II and Figure 6) compared
to a competitor product (average lifetime of 194 heats) but
also that considerable time and energy can be saved due to
the simple, quick drying procedure. The combination of top
performance and an easy casting procedure convinced ABS
to adopt RHI as the standard supplier for this application.
Figure 5. Section of a monolithic EAF roof delta.

emissions produced. Due to strong thermal turbulences the


hot particles affect the roof delta by causing hot erosion
(mechanical wear). This effect can be intensified by the
exhaust system. Since the EAF process is not a continuous
operation (e.g., power off times for charging and maintenance), the roof delta has to withstand various thermal
shocks (thermomechanical wear). It also has to be chemically resistant against splashed slag, an additional factor
associated with the process. COMPAC SOL A100S-15 was
specifically developed for these very demanding conditions
experienced by the EAF delta.

Operation
start

Operation
end

Lifetime
(heats)

Casting
thickness
(mm)

Minimum
residual
thickness
(mm)

21.01.2012

09.02.2012

274

400

150

08.03.2012

22.03.2012

267

500

50

29.03.2012

15.04.2012

222

500

190

Table II. First three trial results casting EAF deltas with COMPAC
SOL A100S-15.

References
References and performance data have been obtained from
various steel plants where COMPAC SOL A100S-15 has
shown very impressive results in roof delta applications.
Furthermore, all the results have confirmed the advantageous properties of this castable in terms of drying and
heating up, as well as its uncomplicated installation. The
following sections describe trial results from Acciaierie
Bertoli Safau SpA (ABS) (taly) and provide a step-by-step
introduction regarding how to cast a roof delta on-site with
COMPAC SOL A100S-15.

Trial ResultsOn-Site Casting of Roof Deltas


at Acciaierie Bertoli Safau

(a)

ABS has an AC EAF steel plant located in the province


Udine (Italy), less than one hours drive from the Austrian
border. RHI has maintained a successful contract business
(FLS) with ABS for more than 13 years. One of the two
melting lines comprises a 100-tonne EAF located in a doghouse, to provide noise containment, suction, and fume
reduction [5]. The melting process is fed by scrap loads
selected on the basis of Norma Fabbricazione Acciaieria
(NFA norms), the steelworks manufacturing standard,
according to the different steel grades produced. Additive
and ferroalloy addition is performed by automated plants
connected to the process supervision and monitoring system, which constantly controls all the production parameters (i.e., technical, metallurgical, and consumption).
Depending on the various cycles, production is completed
with refining processes outside the melting furnace as well
as with vacuum degassing, in order to guarantee a particularly low hydrogen content. At the end of the melting phase,
after checking all the metallurgical parameters, molten steel
16 <

(b)
Figure 6. (a) roof delta after 130 heats in operation with no problematic wear visible and (b) roof delta after 274 heats in operation showing a residual thickness between 100 mm and 300 mm.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Casting a Roof Delta On-Site With


COMPAC SOL A100S-15
General Product Description and Storage Details
COMPAC SOL A100S-15 is a dry, fine-graded mix of refractory raw materials that is delivered in moisture-proof packaging. Depending on the requirements, the packaging size
can vary from 25 kg bags up to 1 tonne big bags. After casting, the prepared mix hardens due to the reaction with the
liquid binder (DIVASIL) at room temperature. The special
binder has to be ordered separately and is delivered in various sized canisters. The mix and binder should be stored in
a frost and moisture free environment. Under these conditions the storage period is at least 24 months. Comprehensive details regarding storage are provided in the working
instructions.
Casting
It is possible to cast the mix either directly into the watercooled supporting ring (Figure 7a), which is currently the
preferred method, or to cast it into a prepared mould construction (Figure 7b). Both methods use cylindrical shaped

(a)

moulds for the electrode mouths. Casting into the supporting ring requires a flat base plate that should be covered by
plastic film to facilitate lifting. All adjoining surfaces (e.g.,
Pyrostop board) that could absorb water from the mix have
to be impregnated or covered by some type of water-repelling material (e.g., oil or wax). Since the mix will shrink
slightly after casting, it is recommended that the electrode
mouths are coated with rubber material having a minimum
thickness of 10 mm (Figure 8) to avoid any crack formation.
A compulsory mixer (Figure 9) is recommended for mixing.
All the DIVASIL liquid binder should be added without any
interruption. The optimum mixing time is 23 minutes. To
determine if the mix consistency is in the intended range as
well as to get a better feeling regarding the optimum consistency, a consistency test should be performed (alternatively a ball-in-hand test) before the start of casting. The
amount of binder used must comply with the levels detailed
in the technical data sheets. Adding less binder than stipulated reduces the flowability and exceeding the recommended value can cause segregation and influences further
handling of the mix. The workability time is approximately

(b)

Figure 7. (a) supporting ring with base plate and electrode moulds and (b) mould construction.

(a)

(b)

Figure 8. (a) rubber coated electrode moulds positioned in a water-cooled supporting ring and (b) electrode mould prior to assembly
in a mould construction.

> 17

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


30 minutes and is dependent on both the amount of binder
added and the ambient temperature.
To de-air the mix, standard hand vibrating units (Figure 10)
are sufficient; however, overuse of de-airing equipment can
in some cases also cause segregation. A shiny surface indicates a well de-aired mix.
A 12-hour setting period is mandatory when casting into a
supporting ring whilst 24 hours is required when using a
mould construction. However, for both casting methods the
electrode moulds should be lifted out earlier, ideally immediately after the concrete has set and the material has
become inherently stable. The optimum time period for
removing the electrode moulds is dependent on the ambient temperature and the liquid binder content. This procedure should avoid any shrinkage onto the moulds and
increases the surface area for water evaporation. After the
12- or 24-hour period, the refractory mix will have obtained
a good green strength and can be removed if it has been
cast into a mould construction. The drying procedure can
start immediately after demoulding, since no further curing
is necessary.

Figure 9. Compulsory mixer recommended for COMPAC SOL


A100S-15.

(a)

Drying
A simple heating pipe under the mould, consisting of steel
tubing with holes drilled into it for the gas flames (Figure
11a), is sufficient for the drying procedure. To avoid any
thermal losses the electrode mouths should be caped
(Figure 11b) and a simple heating vessel, which supports
and encloses the bottom of the roof delta should be used. It
is also recommended that the drying procedure is monitored
using thermocouples attached to the delta upper surface.
After 2448 hours, with a surface temperature of 110 C, the
roof delta should have finished drying and can go into
immediate operation. The drying period always depends on
the on-site conditions. For a fully automated drying procedure, using a preprogrammed thermal profile, RHI offers a
temperature-controlled (domestic) gas burner (Figure 12).

Conclusion
In the last years, a new generation of castables with solbonding (COMPAC SOL and CARSIT SOL) have provided
enormous advantages regarding processing and performance, especially in cement applications. These castables
were also the basis for further innovations in the field of

Figure 10. Standard hand vibrating units for de-airing the mix.

(b)

Figure 11. (a) simple heating pipe for the drying procedure and (b) delta with caped electrode mouths on the heating vessel.

18 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


bonding technologies for alumina monolithics, such as the
oxycarbide mixes (COMPAC ROX and CARSIT ROX) for
steel applications.
The most recent innovation based on sol-bonding technology is the in situ mullite forming castable COMPAC SOL
A100S-15. Superior properties including impressive thermal
shock resistance, reduced brittleness, a microporous structure, and high hot strength caused by in situ mullite formation, make COMPAC SOL A100S-15 highly suitable for EAF
delta applications and can lead to significantly improved

lifetimes. Combined with the simplified heat-up procedure


of the sol-gel binding system and the uncomplicated processing during casting, with this new type of castable RHI
provides a solution with enormous advantages regarding
the cost-benefit ratio for the customer.
Due to the very successful application results, the product
range of mullite-bonded castables based on sol-gel binding
technology will be further developed to include bauxite and
high-alumina fireclay products for EAF delta applications
with lower thermal loads.

1000 mm

Monolithic delta

350 mm

Heating vessel
Burner

Floor

(a)

(b)

Figure 12. RHIs heating appliance comprising a temperature-controlled gas burner and heating vessel. (a) schematic diagram and
(b) on-site equipment.

References
[1] Blajs, M., von der Heyde, R., Fritsch, P. and Krischanitz, R. COMPAC SOLThe New Generation of Easy, Safe, and Fast Heat-up No Cement
Castables. RHI Bulletin. 2010, No.1, 1317.
[2] Fritsch, P., von der Heyde, R. and Krischanitz, R. COMPAC SOLOperational Experiences With the Easy, Fast Heat-up No Cement Castable. RHI
Bulletin. 2011, No. 2, 4245.
[3] Von der Heyde, R., Krischanitz, R., Hall, D. and Zingraf, E. COMPAC SOLThe Success Story Continues With Gunning Mixes and New Product
Developments. RHI Bulletin. 2012, No. 2, 1216.
[4] Schtz, J., Maranitsch, A. and Blajs, M. New Oxycarbide Refractory Products Demonstrate Outstanding PropertiesFirst Practical Results. RHI
Bulletin. 2012, No. 1, 1619.
[5] http://www.absacciai.it

Authors
Markus Hochegger, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Milo Blajs, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Birger Nonnen, RHI AG, Steel Division, Mhlheim-Krlich, Germany.
Peter Zottler, RHI AG, Steel Division, Leoben, Austria.
Corresponding authors: M
 arkus Hochegger, markus.hochegger@rhi-ag.com
Milo Blajs, milos-michael.blajs@rhi-ag.com

> 19

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 2024

Marcus Kirschen, Ashraf Hanna and Karl-Michael Zettl

Benefits of Electric Arc Furnace Bottom Gas


Purging Systems
Modern electric arc furnace (EAF) processes are subject to the cost-optimized production of
raw steel melt in combination with very flexible productivity. Excellent mixing of the steel
melt helps to improve mass and heat transfer, in order to accelerate the melting of scrap and
direct reduced iron (DRI), decarburization, homogeneous superheating, alloy distribution, and
to avoid skull formation. Direct bottom gas purging not only promotes efficiently mixing of
the steel melt in the entire steel bath but also provides constant gas bubble columns to avoid
CO boiling retardation. The benefits of direct purging plug (DPP) systems in modern EAF processes are described in the paper and numerous case studies are presented.
Current EAF Technology and Production
Constraints in the Steel Industry
In 2011, approximately 30% of steel (i.e., 446 million tonnes)
was melted in electric arc furnaces (EAFs). The increasing
tendency to use this process is due to the large flexibility it
provides regarding production volume and raw materials.
With recent ferrous raw material price increases, the requirement to produce high-quality steels from low-quality scrap,
direct reduced iron (DRI), and varying quality ferrous scrap
blends has increased. Maximizing the yield from ferrous raw
materials, oxygen, carbon, and alloys as well as minimizing
energy costs are of the highest priority. At modern high productivity levels, even small process improvements provide
considerable cost savings. Such improvements can be realized, for example, by efficiently increasing mass and energy
transfer in the EAF. Therefore, optimizing flow patterns in the
steel bath is important for efficient scrap and DRI melting
and high melt homogeneity [14].

EAF Bottom Gas Purging Technology


Since the early 1980s, various oxygen and inert gas injection
systems have been introduced to improve melting efficiency
in the EAF. However, typical EAF technology provides few
sources of momentum to move and mix the steel melt and
slag. For example, AC electric arcs and oxygen injectors
affect the surface of the steel volume with restricted efficiency as a viscous slag layer covers the steel melt.

In addition, although a DC electric field is applied to the central steel bath above the bottom electrodes, by far the most
efficient movement of the entire steel melt is generated by
gas purging, where columns of bubbles rise from the bottom
to the top of the steel bath (Figure 1).
Bottom purging systems based on gas injection through a
single tube or multihole plugs have been developed that are
either buried in the EAF hearth ramming mix (i.e., indirect
purging) or are in contact with the steel melt (i.e., direct
purging). However, currently direct purging systems with a
multihole design represent the majority of bottom purging
systems in EAFs in the steel industry worldwide; for example
RHIs direct purging plug (DPP) series. Overall, approximately
9% of EAFs are equipped with bottom gas purging systems
today and with a common trend towards more cost-efficient
EAF operations in the steel industry, the tendency towards
bottom gas purging is increasing (Figure 2). Globally, RHI
delivers DPPs to more than 80 customers for EAFs with tap
weights between 6250 tonnes.

Safety
Gas purging plugs are installed into the EAF hearth
through a channel comprising surrounding blocks (Figure
3), thus (1) facilitating exchange of the purging plug in the
EAF hearth and (2) increasing safety standards as the
hearth ramming mix is installed, de-aired, compacted, and
sintered without interfering with the purging system.

100

Customer number

90
80
70
60
50
40
30
2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Year
Figure 1. Efficient steel melt mixing in the lower and upper bath
using 3 DPPs.

20 <

Figure 2. Increasing number of customers using direct EAF


bottom gas purging systems (based on RHI deliveries).

2012

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


The remaining gap around the purging plug is filled with
two special filling mixes, optimized for the special sintering behaviour required near the slightly cooled DPP (see
Figure 3). By using this standardized lining strategy, the
highest safety requirements are fulfilled and breakout
incidents have become a thing of the past.

Special ramming mixes


for gap filling
Hearth ramming mix
Surrounding bricks
DPP

The DPP consists of the highest quality fused magnesia


and high-quality graphite. The plug porosity is as low as in
other high-quality MgO-C bricks used in the EAF walls;
namely the plug density of 2.9 g/cm3 is in exactly the same
range as that of EAF wall bricks.
Gas is supplied to the steel bath through a maximum of 19
steel tubes with a diameter of 1 mm (Figure 4). By providing multiple small holes, infiltration of the brick by melt or
slag at low gas flow rates is restricted to the upper few millimetres of the plug. The reopening of blocked tubes, by
melt movement caused by gas ingress through neighbouring tubes, occurs and is reported as common during DPP
gas purging operations. In contrast, single-hole purging
plugs typically remain blocked after deep infiltration of the
one tube.
A wear indicator in the purging plug is based on a pressurized gas line. A pressure drop through the opened wear line
indicates a remaining minimum brick length of approximately 350 mm and the purging plug can be closed by
interrupting the gas supply.

Stirring gas
Wear indicator

Figure 3. Schematic of an installed DPP in the EAF hearth lining,


showing the surrounding brick channel, central purging plug,
and special gap-filling ramming mixes.

Gas Injection
Typical DPP gas flow rates range from 10100 l/min or
higher if required (Table I). Nitrogen gas is applied in most
cases, although sometimes argon is used. The initial
momentum of the gas jet is dissipated into the steel melt a
few centimetres above the hot face of the plug and the gas
is divided among a large number of well-distributed gas
bubbles that rise to the steel surface. Consequently, the
impact of gas flow on melt movement depends primarily
on the gas volume applied and to a lesser degree on the
tube number, tube diameter, or tube arrangement.

Figure 4. DPP for EAF bottom stirring.

Direct gas purging plugs


Type of EAF bottom purging

Multihole design

Single-hole design

(DPP)

(DVS)

Purging plug position


Gas supply refractory

Hot face in contact with steel melt

Indirect gas purging


(VVS or TLS)
In hearth ramming mix

MgO-C brick

MgO-C brick

Special ramming mix

Tube configuration

Multiple tubes

Single tube

Open tube diameter

1 mm

2.55 mm

Typical gas flow rates per plug

10100 l/min

100120 l/min

3070 l/min

Gas injection mode

Soft bubbling

Jetting

Soft bubbling

Stirring efficiency per m3 gas

High

Medium

Low

Plug infiltration characteristics

Low

High

n.a.

Likely to reopen

Unlikely to reopen

n.a.

Main objective

Reopening during campaign


EAF hearth cooling
Influence on hearth lining
Purging plug wear rate
Lifetime

No or slight increase in wear rate

Decreased wear

0.51.0 mm/hour purging

n.a.

300900 heats (equivalent to hearth lining)

As permanent lining

Table I. Characteristics of EAF bottom gas purging systems. Abbreviations include not applicable (n.a.).

> 21

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


A large number of small tubes decrease the risk of blocking
and provide a high number of gas bubbles even at very
low gas flow rates. In addition, a low gas flow rate not only
provides maximum gas efficiency but also avoids the formation of an open eye at the steel surface. This so-called
soft bubbling is the common mode of operation in most
DPP applications. However, some customers apply higher
gas flow rates to reach their targets under special EAF
operating conditions.
A typical gas control station to supply three DPPs is shown
in Figure 5. Each plug is controlled separately. The gas flow
rates can be regulated independently of the EAF control, by
using particular EAF operating parameters, or by incorporating it into the level 2 control system.
In small EAFs used at foundries, very low gas flow rates
are applied to avoid an open eye in the steel melt, due to
the decreased slag thickness. Very low gas flow rates
require that the gas supply tubes have small diameters in
order to decrease any risk of melt infiltration at low gas
pressure. The requirement for precise gas control also
increases with decreasing gas flow rates to avoid splashing
at high gas flow rates and to avoid infiltration and blocking
at low gas flow rates. DPPs with an optimized number of
gas tubes have performed very well in small EAFs when
operated at very low gas flow rates.

Furnace control system


PLC connection

Process-Related Benefits
The EAF process benefits realized using direct gas purging
systems are related to an overall increased steel bath movement as well as increased mixing between the lower and
upper steel melt volumes. The specific reported benefits of
DPP bottom gas purging systems can be subdivided into
three principal areas.
Increased thermal and temperature homogeneity in the steel
melt:
>> Decreased melting time of scrap and DRI.
>> Increased heat transfer during the superheating period.
>> Increased power transfer.
>> Decreased specific electrical energy demand.
>> Decreased deviation between the measured steel temperature in the EAF and the ladle furnace.
>> Avoidance of skull formation or debris in the EAF hearth
after tapping (i.e., clean furnace).
Increased chemical homogeneity in the steel melt:
>> Increased metal yield.
>> Increased use of secondary ferrous raw materials.
>> Decreased deviation between the measured carbon content in the EAF and the ladle furnace.

Electric control box

Gas control box


or

ga

in

in

St

irr

ea
W

at

c
di

Operation box

Figure 5. Setup of a gas control station to operate three DPPs.

22 <

Argon

thernet

Nitrogen

MPI/Profibus/E

DPP stirrer 3

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


>> Increased yield from alloy addition.
>> Increased rate of carbon oxidation, in particular for hot
metal charges.
>> [C] x [O] levels closer to equilibrium conditions, resulting in less alloy addition, better alloy prediction, and
more stable ladle furnace operations.
>> Increased dephosphorization (decreased rephosphorization).
>> Decreased oxygen consumption.
Generation of gas bubble columns in the steel melt:
>> Avoidance of instantaneous or retarded CO boiling in
the steel melt.
The typical benefits observed from a series of case studies
at customers with very specific targets for the DPP system
included a higher than 5 kWh/tonne electrical energy saving, a 0.51 minute decrease in the power-on-time, and a
0.5% increase in the yield. The corresponding overall cost
savings were customer-specific, with a minimum value in
the order of 1.5/tonne, and higher savings often achieved.
Bottom gas purging systems are claimed to have the shortest payback time compared to other measures that increase
EAF energy efficiency [5].

Case Studies of Unalloyed EAF Steelmaking


Recent DPP system installations provided the following specific improvements to the EAF process.
A 250-tonne EAF used for the production of construction
steels, based on 100% steel scrap melting, was equipped
with five DPPs operated at a gas flow rate of 4070 l/min.
The productivity increased by 0.9 heats a day, the tapping
weight increased by 1.6 tonnes, and the yield increased by
1.6%.
A 130-tonne EAF was equipped with four DPPs. The electrical energy consumption decreased by 7.3 kWh/tonne with
a slightly increased oxygen input of 0.9 m3/tonne. The temperature control during EAF tapping was improved.
Three DPPs were installed in a 45-tonne EAF. The electrical
energy consumption decreased by 8.7 kWh/tonne at an
increasing mean transformer rate (e.g., + 0.23 MW). Coal
addition was decreased by 0.4 kg/tonne and the total oxygen consumption reduced by 0.25 m3/tonne. Concurrently,
the rate of decarburization increased by 0.05%/hour. The
yield was improved by 0.6%, the power-on-time decreased
by 1.5 minutes, and the productivity increased by 1.9 tonne/
hour.

Metallurgical Constraints During Special and


Alloyed Stainless Steelmaking
Additional constraints apply to the production of alloyed or
high-alloyed Cr or Cr-Ni molten metal in the EAF. Melting
the stainless steel scrap requires a higher specific electrical
energy input due to the higher specific heat capacity of Cr
alloys and due to the lower heat conductivity of stainless
steel scrap. Therefore, optimizing the stainless steel melting
process necessitates, for example, increased bath movement to maximize heat transfer.
As carbon and chromium oxidation in the molten metal
occurs at very similar oxygen activities, special care is taken

to minimize chromium loss during oxygen injection. A


homogeneous distribution of carbon, chromium, and oxygen in the molten metal significantly helps avoid concentration gradients and improves yields.
A low FeOx content and a high Cr2O3 content in the EAF
slag often inhibits efficient slag foaming during stainless
steel production. This is due to the low Cr2O3 solubility in
basic EAF slag that results in precipitation of Cr2O3 bearing
solids and a higher slag viscosity. A lack of FeO in the slag
also decreases the formation of CO gas [6]. A high Cr oxidation is in most cases caused by carbon deficiency in the
molten metal area that is affected by the oxygen injector.
Improved mixing improves decarburization and the chromium yield.
In foundries, metallurgical fine-tuning of the molten metal is
often performed in the EAF. The yield of ferroalloys is
dependent on the activity of the metal alloy in the steel melt
and the activity of its oxides in the slag. Compositional gradients in the molten metal lead to higher alloy oxidation
than necessary. Stirring the melt using DPPs increases
homogeneity of the melt and the yield.

Case Studies of Alloyed EAF Steelmaking


In the last two years, DPP gas purging systems have also
been installed in EAFs used for stainless and special steel
production as well as in foundry EAFs. For these applications, the EAF bottom gas purging systems rapidly proved
to be sustainable EAF technology for the customers.
The recent installation of a bottom purging system with
three DPPs in a 100-tonne EAF used for stainless steel production resulted in a yield increase of 0.5% as well as an
oxygen consumption decrease of 0.5 m3/tonne and a
5 kWh/tonne reduction in the electrical energy demand.
Depending on the EAF process step, gas flow rates
between 50 and 110 l/min were applied.
Three DPP bricks were installed in a 140-tonne EAF
used for stainless steel production and operated at a constant gas flow rate of 100 l/min. By increasing the bath
agitation and thermal exchange, the electrical energy
transfer efficiency was increased and the chemical energy
input, namely oxygen, was significantly decreased by
10 m3/tonne. The most important result of the decreased
oxygen input was the 4.5% yield increase and a reduction
in the tap-to-tap time of 9 minutes. With a decrease in
Cr deslagging, the lime requirement was reduced by
2 kg/tonne.
Three DPP purging bricks were installed in a 75-tonne EAF
used for specialty steel production. The most important
improvement was a significant reduction in the steel temperature scatter in both the EAF and ladle furnace as well
as an overall higher temperature level, indicating improved
homogeneity in the steel melt. The electrical energy savings were 3.15 kWh/tonne in the EAF and an additional
1.78 kWh/tonne in the ladle furnace.
The application of a single DPP bottom gas purging system
in a 6-tonne foundry EAF used for specialty steel and highalloyed steel products resulted in a significant yield
increase from the alloy addition. A 10 l/min gas flow rate
was applied.
> 23

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Finally, the installation of a DPP system in a 10-tonne EAF
increased the ferroalloy yield and decreased both the tapto-tap time and electrical energy demand. One DPP was
installed at a gas flow rate of 710 l/min.

Conclusions
In the steel industry, DPP bottom gas stirring systems have
been installed in a variety of EAFs used to produce unalloyed
and low-alloyed steels as well as specialty and stainless steels,
for tap weights ranging between 6250 tonnes. Especially in
EAF steelmaking where metallurgical constraints exist, bottom
gas purging provides cost benefits by increasing the yield
from alloying elements, as well as decreasing electrical energy
demand and oxygen consumption. The additional advantage
of this technology includes a more homogeneous melt,
enabling improved process monitoring and control.

References
[1] Ricci, M., Waterfall, S. and Sun, S. Optimization of Bottom Stirring in the 165-Tonne Electric Arc Furnace at Arcelor Mittal Dofasco. RHI Bulletin.
2008, No. 1, 2228.
[2] De Santis, M. and Giavani, C. Bath Mixing in EAF Through Proper Lances-Plugs Gas Stirring Policies. Presented at Innovation in EAF and in
Steelmaking Processes, Milan, Italy, May 2728, 2009.
[3] Dong, K., Zhu, R. and Liu, W. Bottom-Blown Stirring Technology Application in Consteel EAF. Advanced Materials Research. 2012, Vols. 361363,
639643.
[4] Kazakov, S.V., Gulyaev, M.P. and Filippov, V.V. Hydrodynamics of Electric Arc Furnace Bath at Stirring With Inert Gases. Presented at 21st
International Conference on Metallurgy and Materials, Brno, Czech Republic, May 2325, 2012.
[5] Available and Emerging Technologies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions From the Iron and Steel Industry. Prepared by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Sector Policies and Programs Division, North Carolina, Sept., 2012.
[6] Badr, K., Kirschen, M. and Cappel, J. Chemical Energy and Bottom Stirring Systems Cost Effective Solutions for a Better Performing EAF.
Presented at METEC InSteel-Con 2011, Dsseldorf, Germany, June 27July 1, 2011.
Reprinted with permission from the AISTech 2013 Conference Proceedings. Copyright 2013 Association for Iron & Steel Technology, Warrendale, PA, USA.

Authors
Marcus Kirschen, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Ashraf Hanna, RHI Canada Inc., Steel Division, Burlington, Canada.
Karl-Michael Zettl, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Corresponding author: Marcus Kirschen, marcus.kirschen@rhi-ag.com

24 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 2528

Erna Hausner, Johann Eder and Marcus Kirschen

Magnesia-Carbon Lining Wear Following Water


Leakage From an EAF Cooling System
Introduction
Water-cooled sidewall panels are common technology in
modern electric arc furnaces (EAFs) as they represent the
most cost-effective solution to withstand harsh process conditions during steel scrap melting and molten metal overheating (Figure 1). These demanding conditions include:
>> Significant temperature changes during furnace opening
and charging with cold steel scrap.
>> Thermal shock and temperature changes due to erratic
electric arc radiation on the scrap pile during meltdown.
>> Arc radiation from unshielded electric arcs during melt
overheating when there is insufficient foamed slag.

Refractory solutions based on high-quality magnesia-carbon


bricks and magnesia mixes are state of the art for EAF
lower sidewalls, whereas water-cooled panels in the upper
sidewalls provide the necessary furnace volume to accommodate the steel scrap (Figure 2). The water volume flow
rate in the EAF sidewall panels is in the order of 10 m3/(hm2),
providing sufficient cooling to maintain a lifetime in the
order of a few thousand heats. However, occasionally the
water-cooled tubes are damaged by arcing, temporary
superheating of tube sections, or mechanical impact from
heavy scrap, resulting in water leakage. The leaking water
may affect the magnesia-based lining of the EAF sidewall.
Common MgO-C brick wear in an EAF is due to:
>> Erosion by steel melt, slag, and occasionally material
jets from the electric arcs and oxygen injectors.
>> Corrosion due to MgO dissolution from the lining, especially in the case of undersaturated process slag at high
temperature.
>> Oxidation and loss of carbon binders as a result of
excess oxygen input from misaligned injectors or due to
a reaction with FeO present in a high oxidation state in
the process slag.

Magnesia-Carbon BricksDetailed
Investigation of Water Damage

Figure 1. Gunning the refractory sidewall (1) below water-cooled


wall panels (2) in an EAF during production.

Recently, in the magnesia-carbon lined sidewalls of a 130tonne EAF, used for the direct reduced iron-based production of long products, the bricks showed partial signs of
binder coke decarburization and the entire residual brick
had a crumbly structure. In this investigated case, a leaking
water panel in the upper split shell was observed. The EAF
sidewall lining consisted of carbon-bonded high-quality sintered magnesia MgO-C bricks with 10 wt.% C (96.1 wt.%

Water-cooled
wall panel

MgO-C refractory
lining

Ramming mix

(a)

(b)

Figure 2. Typical refractory lining design of (a) EAF hearth and (b) sidewall with water-cooled wall panels in the upper region and
magnesia-carbon refractories below.

> 25

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


MgO; 1.8 wt.% CaO; 4.5 vol.% apparent porosity; and
2.98 g/cm3 bulk density) and 14 wt.% C in the hot spots (97
wt.% MgO; 1.9 wt.% CaO; 4 vol.% apparent porosity; and
2.93 g/cm3 bulk density). As the reported type of EAF sidewall wear was rather uncommon, a mineralogical postmortem study was performed on a worn MgO-C brick in order
to investigate and document in detail the wear mechanisms
that had occurred following the water leak. The brick sample was taken from the cold face of the sidewall and had
been affected by steam. Three different wear mechanisms
were characterized.

General information
Furnace

EAF

Brick type

Magnesia-carbon

Sampling position

4060 mm from cold face

Typical values

Chemical analyses (wt.%)


Loss on ignition
Determination by XRF

11.0
(1)

MgO

96.0

97.0

Al2O3

0.37

0.3

Investigation Methods

SiO2

0.75

1.2

The polished sample (Figure 3, region 1) was taken from


near the cold face and investigated by light and scanning
electron microscopy. A sample was also taken from position
CA, to examine the bricks chemical composition. The
chemical analyses were carried out using X-ray fluorescence analysis on samples that had been finely powdered,
ignited at 1050 C, and dissolved in Li2B4O7. The carbon
content was determined from the original sample.

P2O5

0.05

SO3

0.06

CaO

2.15

MnO

0.07

Fe2O3

0.46

The postmortem EAF sidewall brick showed a residual


thickness of ~ 70 mm. The brick cold face was rough and
strongly decarburized. A crumbly, loose grain material from
the completely degenerated brick cold face (not visible in
the picture) was evident. The decomposed material was
also investigated microscopically on a polished section.

Chemical Analyses and Carbon Content


No slag penetration was detected in the brick. The carbon
content was slightly lower than the composition of an
unused brick (Table I).

Determination by C-S elemental analysis


Total carbon content

1.7
0.8

(2)

10.8

12.0

Table I. Chemical analysis of MgO-C postmortem brick. On ignited sample (1050 C) by X-ray fluorescence analysis (1) and on
original sample (2).

Mineralogical Investigation
The mineralogical examination performed on polished sections from the brick and crumbly loose material gave indications of the wear mechanisms described below.
Carbon Whisker Formation
In a reducing atmosphere, a high CO partial pressure promotes the formation of new solid carbon precipitations at
temperatures of 600800 C [1]. Especially under the catalytic presence of iron, so-called carbon whiskers with typical
iron droplets at the end had formed (Figures 4 and 5). When
there is a certain level of whisker generation, cracks occur
resulting in the complete destruction of the refractory
material.

CA

1 m
Figure 3. Postmortem MgO-C brick with the cold face uppermost.
Sampling positions for the polished section (1) and chemical
analyses (CA) are indicated.

26 <

Figure 4. Example of carbon whisker formation detected by scanning electron microscopy. Newly formed carbon structures with
the typical bright iron drops at the whisker ends are visible.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Formation and Decomposition of Brucite

Carbon Oxidation

Another wear factor was predamage of the brick due to


the formation and decomposition of brucite (Mg(OH)2)
following reaction of the MgO with humidity in the
critical temperature range between 40 C and 120 C,
(MgO + H2O Mg(OH)2). This reaction results in a volume increase of approximately 115% and brick destruction [1] and can occur during each heating up and cooling
down phase in the furnace. Since the chemical reaction is
reversible and brucite decomposes during operating temperatures above 350 C to MgO, no brucite was found
using X-ray diffraction. However, periclase hydration
was detected microscopically on polished sections
(Figure 6).

A third possible wear factor was carbon oxidation by steam.


The technical team on-site reported ingress of moisture due
to a leaking water panel. It is highly probable the crumbly
structure was additionally caused by a degree of binder
coke loss due to oxidation by steam (according to the reaction C + H2O CO + H2), under particular physical conditions (at temperatures > ~ 670 C) in the EAF. In this temperature range, the oxygen partial pressure of the reaction
2H2 + O2 2H2O is considerably higher than that of the reaction 2C + O2 2CO, so that C is oxidized by H2O (Figure 7).
The steam required for this reaction diffused continuously
through the lining; its origins in this case from the leaking
water panel.

10 m

H2 /H2O ratio
CO/CO2 ratio

1/108 1/107

+O 2
4Fe 3O 4
M

-40

DG* = RT ln PO2 [kcal]

-80

-140
-160
-180
-200
-220
-240
-260

2Cu2O A
4Cu+O2
C

-60

-120

1/106

1/105

1/106

1/105

1/104

S2+O2 SO2 B

+O 2

6FeO

2PbO
2Pb+O 2

2P 3O 4

6Fe 2O 3

B
M
2Ni+O 2

1/103

1/103

1/102

B
2NiO M
2CoO C
M M
2Co+O 2
M

C
O B
Sn+O2 Sn 2
O3 B
B
A
B
2/3Cr 2
2Fe 3O 4
1/
D
4/3Cr+O 2

O
B
2K 2O
3/2Fe+ 2
M
S

M
O C
4K+O 2
M
O C
2Na 2
M
B
2/5P 2 5
B 4Na+O 2
2MnO
+O 2
2ZnO
2Mn+O 2
M T
2/5P 2
O
2
+
n
2Z
B
M
O
Ti 2
Ti+O 2
T
O C
2/3V 2 3
4/3V+O 2
M
S
B
C
SiO 2
B
Si+O 2
B
2/3Al 2O 3
O
2
l+
4/3A
B
M
C
B
2MgO
O C
C
O
2Ca
iO
2Mg+ 2
A
2Ca+O 2
2L 2
O
2
i+
4L
M
M
M

2Fe+O2 2FeO

1/102

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

M
M
D

C B
M

10-80

10-60

10-50

102/1

10-6

104/1

103/1

10-8

10 /1
6

2000

2200

2400

10 /1
7

108/1
109/1

1015/1

1014/1

H2 /H2O ratio

1014/1

10-42

10-38

10-34

104/1
105/1
106/1

1011/1
1012/1

10-12
10-14
10-16

108/1
10-18
109/1
1010/1

10-20

1011/1

10-22

1012/1

10-24

1013/1
10-30

10-10

107/1

1010/1

1013/1

CO/CO2 ratio

10-100

103/1

105/1

Suggested Accuracies
A +/- 1 kcal
B +/- 3 kcal
C +/- 10 kcal
D +/- > 10 kcal
Change of state Element Oxide
M
Melting point
M
B
Boiling point
B
S
Sublimation point
S
T
Transition point
T
1800

10/1

102/1

1600

1/1

10/1

Temperature [C]

Absolute zero

10-200

2CO 2

2H O
2H2+O2 2

M
2C+O
2
2CO

-300
0

2CO+O 2

1
10-1
10-2
10-3
10-4

1/10

1/1

C+O2 CO2
M

-280

PO2 [bar]

1/104

H2 /H2O ratio

-100

1/107

1/10

-20

H2 /H2O
CO/CO2

1/108

CO/CO2 ratio

Figure 6. Electron micrograph of a periclase grain destroyed due


to hydration. On the grain rims, newly formed MgO is visible following brucite decomposition (arrows).

PO2 [bar]

Figure 5. Light microscopy of a cut section through an area with


extensive carbon whisker formation. The bright specks are
reflective iron droplets.

10-26
10-28

Figure 7. Richardson-Ellingham diagram [1,2]. The free energy of the reaction 2H + O2 2H2O (green line) is at > ~ 670 C, considerably higher than for 2C + O2 2CO (red line), so that carbon is oxidized by steam.

> 27

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Due to the different microstructure of the carbon types, the
coke (from the binding agent) was initially affected. Graphite flakes are more resistant to this reaction.

Conclusions
This postmortem study of a worn MgO-C brick from the
sidewall cold face of a 130-tonne EAF indicated three main
wear factors:
>> Brick decomposition by carbon bursting (carbon whisker
formation).
>> Hydration and decomposition of periclase (possibly
starting during the furnace heat up).
>> Oxidation of the carbon binder.
The three wear mechanisms are only possible at this particular position in the sidewall lining because of the varying
temperature profile, beginning with the lining heat up during production start and the temperature changes during
operation (e.g., the significant influence of the cooling elements as well as differing cooling rates depending on production cycles and idle times).

There was a strong indication that all three main wear


mechanisms occurring in the brick were a result of water
ingress, in this case due to leakage from the EAF cooling
system. All three wear factors significantly decreased the
brick strength.
These wear mechanisms have been documented in detail to
sensibilize steel producers to the possible damage that may
occur in the EAF sidewall lining following water leakage
from water-cooled elements, such as wall panels or copper
blocks in the slag zone. Although these wear patterns are
difficult to observe during the production campaign by optical inspection of the EAF lining, since the brick is attacked
at the cold face, they are extremely important because the
consequences may be an increased risk of breakout.
As these wear mechanisms impact directly on the MgO
crystals and carbon binders, the most effective measure to
prevent this type of MgO-C bricked lining wear is to avoid
any water leakage by careful monitoring and to ensure any
water leaks from EAF sidewall panels are repaired as quick
as possible.

References
[1] http://www.industrialheating.com/articles/85273-nitrogen-on-site-generation-for-heat-treatment-of-aluminum
[2] White, J. Refractories Research IV, the Thermodynamic Stability of Oxide Refractories. Journal of the Australian Ceramic Society. 1974, Vol. 10,
No. 1, 14.

Authors
Erna Hausner, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Johann Eder, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Marcus Kirschen, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Corresponding author: Erna Hausner, erna.hausner@rhi-ag.com

28 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 2932

Thomas Kollmann and Christoph Jandl

Basic Oxygen Furnace Benchmarking


Maintenance and Process Considerations
A higher level of product sophistication and unstable charging material quality require an economically optimized basic oxygen furnace (BOF) process operation. Technological benchmarking to assess different operating philosophies (e.g., bottom gas purging versus no bottom
purging) as well as various maintenance approaches (e.g., slag maintenance and maintenance using unshaped refractory products) and their influences on process stability are discussed in detail. Based on an international benchmark study, metallurgical results achieved
using different setups such as blowing practices, and the efficient and effective use of bottom purging plugs are compared using key performance indicators (KPIs). The advantages,
disadvantages, and limitations of each philosophy are highlighted. The wear pattern of a BOF
refractory lining varies, depending on the operating philosophy. Therefore, common maintenance methods are evaluated and compared, whilst also considering the influences on the
steelmaking process and achievable metallurgical results.
Introduction

Metallurgical and Maintenance Slag Requirements

Over 350 basic oxygen furnace (BOF) shops are operating


worldwide, equivalent to approximately a 65% share of
total crude steel production [1]. The vessel operation and
maintenance philosophy vary depending on regional
trends, raw material quality and analysis, layout and availability of secondary metallurgy facilities, and finished product requirements. Figure 1 shows the different processes in
use.

Principally, BOF slag has two essential functions: Metallurgical and maintenance, the latter including slag splashing,
washing, or foaming. For an efficient slag maintenance
practice, a (MgO) oversaturated slag with good adherence
to the lining is required. To minimize the wear rate during
the initial stage of slag formation, it is necessary to charge
or rather provide a MgO carrier in the form of fluxes and
avoid <MgO> dissolution from the lining. (MgO) saturation
in the slag is limited by the sequence and amount of lime
addition and hence the slag basicity and tapping temperature. Rising (MgO) levels in the slag result in increased viscosity and lower metallurgical slag activity. The (MgO) slag
level also has an essential influence on the [P]/(P2O5) ratio.
A considerable impact on the [P] levels is noticeable when
the (MgO) content in the slag exceeds more than 6% (Figure
2). As a result, a compromise between refractory wear stabilization and metallurgical requirements has to be found.

The vessel wear rate influences the metallurgical results,


converter availability, and hence steel plant productivity.
Primarily, the aim is to maximize the refractory lining lifetime whilst minimizing repair time. The converter lining
concept or design is determined by three main wear mechanisms: Thermal, mechanical, and chemical. With appropriate converter maintenance practice, using different and
vessel area specific methods, the vessel wear rate can be
stabilized and controlled systematically. Besides gunning,
patching, and the use of self-flowing mixes, BOF processrelated slags are conditioned to achieve the required composition and also applied as a vessel maintenance option.

Top only
Oxygen lance

Top-blown
(BOF) process

Soft

Lining Maintenance Strategies


To perform slag splashing, the slag remaining after tapping
is splashed with a high-pressure nitrogen jet onto the lining

Strong
Oxygen lance

Combined

Oxygen lance

Bottom only

Oxygen lance

N2

N2

Hydrocarbon

Hydrocarbon

Ar

Ar

Oxygen

Oxygen

Top lance plus


permeable elements in bottom

Top lance plus


uncooled bottom tuyeres

Top lance plus


cooled bottom tuyeres

Bottom-blown
(OBM or Q-BOP) process

Figure 1. Oxygen steelmaking processes [2]. Abbreviations include oxygen bottom Maxhtte (OBM), which is equivalent to Q-BOP [3].

> 29

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


In contrast, maintenance methods using refractory products
have a reduced impact on BOF operations because less
material is used and the repair is focused.

0.018

0.014
0.012

Based on visual controls and vessel profile laser measurements, different maintenance methods can be selected
depending on the vessels wear situation. The efficiency of
available maintenance options have been evaluated for the
specific BOF regions in terms of suitability as well as the
machinery investment costs, physical stress on the operator, and metallurgical influence (Table I).

0.010
0.008
0.006
0.004
0.002
0.000
0

10

12

14

16

Comparison of Different BOF Operating Methods

(MgO) in slag [%]

The differences and similarities between two globally wellestablished BOF operating philosophies are summarized in
Table II. Whilst the top blowing process is characterized by
a higher refractory lifetime, achieved by excessive slag
maintenance using slag splashing, the combined blowing
process focuses on rapid slag formation, increased yield,
higher refining flexibility, and precise process control.
Both processes cause lining wear in similar areas (i.e., slag
line, slag crosses, trunnions, charge pad, and tap pad), with
the exception that combined blowing causes additional
wear to the bottom area. However, slag splashing is performed in a completely different manner for the two processes: Whilst shops running the top blowing process
splash for an extended period of time after almost every
heat, the combined blowing practice requires a much lower
splashing frequency of limited duration.

Figure 2. Influence of the (MgO) level in slag on the [P] level at


the end of blowing [2].

for a period of 15 minutes, leading to nondirected buildup


of a solid slag layer on the refractory lining. The quality of
both slag and repair are influenced by different factors and
vary from heat to heat. Depending on the viscosity, amount
of slag, and deslagging practice, a buildup on the vessel
bottom may occur.
This maintenance method was developed in the USA in the
1980s. In North America, more than 60000 heats with a lining are achievable, but it requires an excessive slag splashing practise with splashing after every heat. As a result converter availability is reduced. Slag splashing also causes
several other problems such as decreased yield, bottom
buildup (negative for bottom purging performance), as well
as lance and mouth skulling.

The achievable results for both operating philosophies are


compared in Table III. Whist at a glance the top blowing
process has tremendous advantages in terms of relining
frequency and the associated basic brick costs, the
improved process control of the combined blowing process
results in benefits such as a substantially increased yield,
lower re-blow rates, reduced slag weight, lower flux addition, more efficient dephosphorization, and significantly
lower deoxidation costs. All these metallurgical benefits
result from the use of bottom gas purging elements.

None

Slag foaming
Manual gunning

Slag
maintenance
Maintenance using
refractory material

Manipulator gunning

++

High

++

+++

++

++

++

None

Intermediate

++

++

++

++

None

None

Intermediate

++

++

++

Low

High

Low

+++

+++

Intermediate

Intermediate

Low

++

++

++

++

++

++

++

++

++

Lip ring

Lower cone

Slag washing

Trunnion

None

Tap pad

High

Bottom without plugs

Slag splashing

Bottom with plugs

Intermediate

Bottom joint

None

Charge pad

Metallurgical influence

None

Upper cone

Physical stress on operator

(MgO) sat. slag

Method

Machinery investment cost

In the case of slag coating, also termed slag washing, a


small amount of liquid slag is retained after deslagging.
This slag is enriched with dolostone or raw dolomite to cool
the slag and increase its adhesive properties. The vessel is
then rocked several times to cover the bottom, bottom joint
(if applied), and tap and charge pads with a thin layer of
slag. Excessive slag coating also leads to a bottom buildup.

+
+

+++

+++

Automated gunning

High

Low

Low

+++

+++

+++

+++

++

+++

Hot repair mix

None

Low

Low

+++

++

++

+++

++

Patching with bricks

None

Low

Intermediate

+++

++

Appropriate (+), good (++), ideal (+++), and the specific area cannot be maintained with the method (blank)
Table I. BOF maintenance matrix [4] including the investment cost, operator stress, and metallurgical influence.

30 <

Taphole replacement

[P] in end blow sample [%]

0.016

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


The indicator (KPI) for efficient gas purging performance
is the product of the dissolved carbon [C] and oxygen [O].
[C] x [O] levels < 25 x 10-4 are realized without any problems
if the process is run efficiently [2,5]. Figure 3 compares
evolution of this KPI for three different operating modes.
Without slag splashing, the lifetime of the vessel with

well-performing bottom purging is limited to 15002000


heats (Figure 3a). Introducing slag splashing at a very moderate frequency of 1015% for only 12 minutes each time
(Figure 3b) provides the potential to extend the lining lifetime to 4000 heats whilst retaining the benefits summarized
in Table II. The results obtained using a slag splashing

Top blowing process


(original LD process)

Combined blowing process

O2

O2

(Ar/N2)
System

Oxygen top blowing onto the liquid metal bath

Oxygen top blowing onto the liquid metal bath combined with
bottom purging elements through which N2 or Ar are injected

Characteristics

High slag volume


High iron oxidation
High slopping potential
Low bath mixing force

Rapid slag formation


Decreased slopping potential
Increased yield
Enhanced refining flexibility and process control
Improved bath kinetics and metallurgical results

Critical prewear areas

Charge pad
Tap pad
Slag line and slag crosses
Trunnions

Charge pad
Tap pad
Slag line and slag crosses
Trunnions
Bottom

Vessel lifetime (heats)

3000 to > 10000 with excessive slag splashing practice

2000 to 4000 with an adapted slag splashing practice

Slag splashing rate per campaign

80100%

1020%

Slag splashing duration

Up to 5 minutes

13 minutes

Required additional equipment

Gas/control box
Rotary union
Piping
Bottom purging elements

Table II. Comparison of two well-established BOF operating philosophies.

Key parameter

Top blowing process


(original LD process)

Combined blowing
process

(%)

10000

4000

- 60

Dependent on the slag splashing practice

Linings
(no.)

1.0

2.5

+150

Due to different number of heats per campaign


Bottom purging requires a more frequent lining change

Gunning mix consumption


(kg/tonne)

0.7

0.3

-57

Lining of lower lifetime vessels can be more easily balanced leading to


lower gunning mix consumption

Yield
(%)

88

92

+5

Lower iron oxidation


Reduced melt over-oxidation and slopping potential

Re-blow rate
(%)

23

18

-22

Improved process control


Higher accuracy of the tapping temperature and element levels

Slag weight
(tonne)

14

12

-14

Lower iron oxidation


Reduced flux requirement

Flux requirement
(kg/tonne crude steel)

63

56

-11

Shorter and quicker reaction pathways between the slag and steel bath
Better slag formation and conditions for flux addition and melting

[O] at end of blowing


(ppm)
[C] at end of blowing
(%)

900

680

-24

0.037

0.034

-8

Reactions can be driven closer to the equilibrium at the end of blowing:


Decarburization effect is improved
Less oxygen is required

Relative deoxidation cost


(/tonne crude steel)

100%

83%

-17

Lower [O] levels at the end of blowing lead to decreased


deoxidation agent requirement

[P] at end of blowing


(%)

0.012

0.008

-38

More effective movement of [P] into slag caused by quicker lime dissolution and lower refining temperatures
2[P] + 5[O] + (CaO) (CaO.P2O5)

Lifetime
(heats per campaign)

Explanation

Table III. Comparative results of two well-established BOF operating philosophies.

> 31

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

100

40

Specific slag weight [kg/tonne]

[C] x [O] level x 10-4

35
30
25
20

Shutdown of the bottom gas


purging system between
1500 and 2000 lining heats

15
10
5
0
500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

Lining heats without bottom maintenance

(a)

40
20

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

(Fe)total in slag [%]

40

Figure 4. Relationship between gas bottom purging and (Fe)total


in slag.

35

[C] x [O] level x 10-4

60

0
0

30

operation with a frequency higher than 90% (Figure 3c) are


clearly distinguishable from those realized with bottom
purging.

25
20
15
10
5
0
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

Lining heats with 1015% slag splashing rate

(b)
40
35

[C] x [O] level x 10-4

80

Achievable specific slag weights and (Fe)total levels in the


slag for a BOF vessel operating with and without bottom
purging are compared in Figure 4. The results are significantly different for the two operating methods, over the
same steel grade production portfolio: A nonpurging mode
is directly linked with a decreased yield, an increased melt
over-oxidation, and a higher slopping potential.

Conclusion

30

The maintenance philosophy and metallurgical results are


correlated and influence each other. Especially slag maintenance and extended refractory lifetime negatively affect
yield, [P] distribution, and generate additional demands for
fluxes, alloys, and deoxidation agents whilst simultaneously
reducing productivity. The main target for successful BOF
steel shops is to find an effective compromise between
maintenance, metallurgical activity, and productivity.

25
20
15
10
5
0
0

500

(c)

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

Lining heats with > 90% slag splashing rate

Figure 3. Relationship between the lining maintenance strategy


and the [C] x [O] levels. (a) bottom purging without bottom
maintenance [6], (b) bottom purging with 1015% slag splashing
during the entire campaign [6], and (c) > 90% slag splashing
without bottom purging.

References
[1] PLANTFACTS Stahlinstitut VDEh. http://www.stahl-online.de/Deutsch/Stahlinstitut_VDEh/Technische_Fachinformation/Anlagendatenbank.php?Z_
highmain=2&Z_highsub=9&Z_highsubsub=3
[2] Kollmann, T. Influence of Bottom Purging on the Metallurgical Results, Masters Thesis, University of Leoben, Austria, 2010.
[3] Fruehan, R. (Ed) The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel: Volume 1 - Steelmaking and Refining. 11th edition; AIST Publications: Warrendale, 1998.
[4] Lammer, G., Jandl, C. and Zettl, K. Maintenance MatricesOverview of Common Refractory Maintenance Methods for BOFs and EAFs. RHI
Bulletin. 2011, No. 1, 1217.
[5] Schoeman, E., Wagner, A., Ebner, W. and Berger, M. Implementation of Basic Oxygen Furnace Bottom Purging at Mittal Steel Newcastle. RHI
Bulletin. 2006, No. 2, 711.
[6] Kollmann, T., Jandl, C., Schenk, J., Mizelli, H., Hfer, W., Viertauer, A. and Hiebler, M. Comparison of Basic Oxygen Furnace Bottom Gas Purging
Options. RHI Bulletin. 2012, No. 1, 815.
Reprinted with permission from the Fifth Baosteel Biennial Academic Conference, June 46, 2013.

Authors
Thomas Kollmann, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Christoph Jandl, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Corresponding author: Thomas Kollmann, thomas.kollmann@rhi-ag.com

32 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 3337

Andreas Rief, Stefan Heid and Matthias Hck

Effects of Metal Powder Additives on MgO-C


Brick Performance
Metal powder additives are widely used in the production of resin-bonded magnesia-carbon
bricks. Initially, these additives were introduced because of weaker oxidation resistance in
resin-bonded MgO-C bricks compared to carbon-bonded equivalents. As a result of adding
highly reactive metal powders, the carbon is protected from oxidation and therefore wear
rates are lowered. Nowadays, these metal powders not only function as antioxidants, their
properties are also more widely applied to improve brick performance in vessel linings.
Resulting effects like spinel formation increase brick strength or induce permanent controlled
brick expansion, thereby increasing magnesia-carbon brick performance. Furthermore, with
the addition of boron carbide, formation of protective liquid films in the pores provides a very
effective oxidation inhibitor.
Introduction
MgO-C bricks are mostly used to line different metallurgical
vessels in the steel industry because of their excellent
resistance against slag corrosion and thermal shock. Carbon, in the form of graphite, carbon black, or as a binder,
plays an important role in generating these excellent properties. The advantages of carbon-containing bricks include
the nonwetting characteristics to slag and steel as well as
high thermal conductivity. These properties reduce the infiltration depth and minimize the thermal expansion gradient
in the brick (i.e., providing better thermal shock resistance)
[1]. However, oxidation is a serious drawback of carbonbonded refractories. The typical wear patterns at the hot
face of a MgO-C brick caused by decarburization are clearly
visible using light microscopy (Figure 1). Therefore, the
main reason for adding antioxidants to magnesia-carbon
bricks is to improve the oxidation resistance. Furthermore,
high temperature strength can be optimized by including
metallic powders.
The most common antioxidants used in MgO-C grades are
aluminium and silicon powders. Other less frequently used
additives include Al-Mg, Al-Si, Mg-Si, carbides, and borides.
Due to their varying melting points and chemical reaction
mechanisms, different oxidation behaviours can be
achieved during service. It is well known that these additives react with different brick components and gases in the
pore structure to form carbides in the first step. Subsequently, at operating temperatures, oxides are formed that
increase the structural strength and form dense protective
layers near the hot face. Due to the great success achieved
through antioxidant addition in resin-bonded bricks, the
technology has now also been introduced in carbon-bonded
materials. Initial field trials demonstrated a positive influence of antioxidants on the service performance of carbonbonded bricks and some grades like SYNCARBON C
F1T15SX are already available. In addition, several other
grades are under trial.

form Al2O3. Together with MgO, magnesium aluminate spinel is then generated [2]. These newly formed reaction
products increase the hot strength, thereby having a positive effect on abrasion resistance. Furthermore, oxidation
resistance is increased due to the reduced apparent porosity. However, a disadvantage is the susceptibility of Al4C3 to
hydration (equation 1). This reaction with water (also from
ambient air) can destroy the microstructure and as a consequence the entire brick. As a result, problems can occur
when the vessel is out of operation and has cooled down
for a long period of time.

Al4C3 + 12H2O 4Al(OH)3 + 3CH4(1)

Aluminium
Aluminium is a very effective antioxidant. It melts at 660 C
and forms Al4C3 and AlN at approximately 800 C. At higher
temperatures Al4C3 decomposes and reacts with O2 or CO to

Figure 1. Light micrograph of a MgO-C brick after etching the


CaO-rich slag phases. Erosion caused by decarburization and
slag attack. (1) slag coating, (2) decarburization, and (3) partial
decarburization (e.g., binder) are indicated.

> 33

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Silicon powder behaves in a similar way to aluminium,


although its melting point is comparably high at 1410 C. In
combination with aluminium powder, the formation of silicon carbide or mixed aluminium silicon carbides occurs
below 1000 C, a reaction that also results in higher structural strength. Near the hot face, silicon carbide is oxidized
and together with MgO forms a dense forsterite zone that
protects the brick against oxidation. Furthermore, the mixed
Al-Si carbide has an increased hydration resistance. However, the disadvantages of such additives can be higher brittleness, increased expansion, and lower corrosion resis
tance to slag attack, necessitating appropriate antioxidant
selection based on the application area and specific steelmaking conditions (Figure 2) [3,4].
RHI offers several brick grades containing different amounts
of graphite, all MgO raw material types, and antioxidant
additives. In principle, each resin-bonded grade is available
with or without standard antioxidants. For special applications, the amount and type of antioxidant is varied to
closely meet the demands in the vessel and the production
process, since the optimum balance needs to be found
between the effects on various brick properties (Figure 3).

adding special additives that result in slow spinel formation


at temperatures above 1200 C. Since the spinel has a
slightly larger volume than the original brick components,
this leads to an increase in total brick volume. As a consequence, the lining is more rigid and has a smoother surface
during operation, significantly increasing the lifetime.
Nevertheless, the controlled expansion grades have to be
applied with care as these bricks have a high tendency to
spall. If the bricks in a newly lined ladle are too tightly
installed, brick expansion can cause spalling at the hot face
and wear is increased. Therefore, controlled expansion
bricks are only useful in applications where severe joint
opening and crack formation has been observed and prior
changes to the carbon content or antioxidant additives have
not been able to solve the problem. It must also be noted
that the controlled expansion technology is only available in
combination with antioxidant addition.
In Figure 4 the slow permanent thermal expansion of a controlled expansion MgO-C grade is compared to the behaviour of a standard MgO-C grade containing antioxidants.

High

n Oxidation resistance
n Brittleness
n Chemical durability

The specially designed bricks slowly expand in a controlled


and irreversible manner during operation, resulting in joint
closure and minimized crack formation. This is achieved by

Optimum

Low

Antioxidant level
Figure 3. Relationship between the amount of antioxidant and
various brick properties. There is an optimal range of antioxidant
that can be added.

Linear change [%]

Especially in ladle linings, vertical crack formation and joint


opening are sometimes reasons for increased wear rates
and often cause early breakout of the wear lining [5]. The
reasons for these wear phenomena are insufficient lining
tightness or too tightly installed bricks, as well as improperly finished backfilling or back lining. To reduce crack formation, changing the back lining or ladle construction can
help. However, as such radical measures are often not
applicable for existing ladle designs, special MgO-C grades
have been developed to counteract crack formation and
joint opening.

Brick properties

Controlled Expansion

3.0

1800

2.5

1500

2.0

1200

1.5

900

1.0

600

n Standard MgO-C grade containing antioxidants


n Controlled expansion MgO-C grade
n Temperature

0.5

0.0

Temperature [C]

Silicon

300

0
0

10

15

20

25

30

Time [hours]
Figure 2. Ladle lining showing the disadvantages of antioxidantcontaining MgO-C bricks. (a) standard MgO-C grade and (b)
high-grade antioxidant-containing MgO-C bricks with greater
wear due to spalling.

34 <

Figure 4. Cyclic thermal expansion of a standard MgO-C grade


containing antioxidants compared to a controlled expansion
MgO-C grade.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


The graph shows the linear change in response to multiple
heating and cooling cycles and it is evident that the longer
the controlled expansion brick is exposed to operating temperatures the more the brick expands. In contrast, a stan
dard brick grade with the same raw materials but without
special additives shows slight shrinkage over time. The inservice benefits of controlled permanent expansion are
visible in Figure 5, which compares a standard MgO-C brick
ladle lining and a ladle lining comprising the controlled
expansion grade.

Boron Carbide

Boron carbide is a very effective antioxidant and provides


excellent oxidation protection (Figure 6) in combination
with the commonly used Al and Si metal powders. The B4C
reacts with oxygen to form boric acid, which in turn reacts
with fine oxidic components in the matrix to generate viscous, low temperature melting phases (melting points
between 1000 and 1300 C). In theory, these phases form a
protective film covering the pore walls and carbon components, thereby reducing oxygen attack. Essential for the
effectiveness of this antioxidant is primarily the amount of
B4C added; however, the physical characteristics and particle grain size are also important.

Recently, boron carbide was introduced as an antioxidant in


MgO-C bricks. Initially this development was to withstand
high oxygen attack in certain converter linings in Brazil. The
new grades were introduced in 20092010 at several customers in South America with highly satisfactory results.
Therefore, the application field was expanded to include
ladles and electric arc furnaces (EAFs) with grades based on
different raw materials types (e.g., fused and sintered MgO).

6010 m

1 mm
(a)

4104 m

(a)

1 mm
(b)

2786 m

1 mm
(b)
Figure 5. Beneficial effect of controlled expansion on brick performance. MgO-C grade (a) without controlled expansion and
(b) with controlled expansion.

(c)
Figure 6. Comparison of the oxidation depth in MgO-C bricks.
Oxidation of carbonaceous components results in increased
matrix porosity at the hot face. The decarburization depth is
indicated (arrows). (a) without antioxidants, (b) with standard
antioxidants, and (c) B4C addition in combination with Al and Si.

> 35

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Bricks with antioxidants are normally more brittle and have
a higher tendency to spall than bricks without. The formation of boron-containing liquid phases appears to lower the
brittleness of the brick and reduce the probability of
spalling. A further positive side effect of boron carbide addition is very effective hydration protection of the antioxidantcontaining bricks (Figure 7). As previously described, the
hydration of typical antioxidant phases present in bricks is a
particular concern regarding cold ladles under high air
humidity.
Several grades containing B4C are available from RHI (e.g.,
ANCARBON F1T14B). They are designed for highly oxidizing areas in the converter, EAF, and ladle. The B4C increases
the oxidation resistance and slightly reduces the brittleness
of the brick compared to standard antioxidant addition. B4C
is also available in combination with the metal ceramic
bonding technology described in the next section.

(a)

(b)

Figure 7. Hydration of MgO-C brick samples after 24 hours in a


climate chamber. (a) standard MgO-C grade containing antioxidants and (b) increased hydration resistance with B4C addition to
the MgO-C grade.

A MgO-C grade containing boron carbide (i.e., ANCARBON


F1Q14B) was installed in the trunnion and slag line area of
a converter (Figure 8) at Nizhniy Tagil Iron and Steel Works
(NTMK) (Russia) and a new record lifetime of 7543 heats
was achieved. The residual thickness would have enabled
an even higher lining lifetime to have been reached. The
maintenance strategy was mainly slag splashing, with no
gunning in the trunnion area.

Metal Ceramic Bonding


Very high brick strength is desirable in certain regions of
various steelmaking vessels. These include the impact area,
functional products exposed to highly abrasive steel flow,
and areas with excessively high oxidative attack. For such
applications a very strong matrix is beneficial. This can be
generated by adding special metallic additives that react
over large areas forming ceramic bonds between the MgO
grains. This is analogous to a fired brick where the bonding
is created by sintering of the grains. In a MgO-C brick with
this so-called metal ceramic bonding technology, the matrix
is partly strengthened by the ceramically bonded structure.
Due to this sintering process, the matrix is stable even after
carbon has burned out. In addition, there is improved oxidation resistance compared to standard antioxidants.
Although the reactions occurring are similar to those used
for the controlled expansion technology, the type and
amount of additives used to generate the newly formed
spinel are completely different.
Successful trials have already been carried out in EAF side
wall and converter impact areas. Particularly impressive
were the results obtained with a metal ceramic bonded
grade applied in an EAF area showing prewear caused by
oxygen lancing. The SYNCARBON R F1T10MB used in an
EAF burner area was dubbed superbrick by one customer.
Positive feedback was received from a customer in North
America where RHI achieved new record lifetimes with significantly higher residual brick thickness and much lower
gunning mix consumption in the burner area of an EAF,
when compared to a competitor product.

Residual lining
thickness [mm]

900 - 950
800 - 850
700 - 750

600 - 650
500 - 550

400 - 450
300 350
200 - 250
100 - 150

0 - 50

Figure 8. Converter wear lining thickness profile. The newly developed ANCARBON F1Q14B (resin-bonded, high-quality fused MgO
brick containing B4C) was tested in large areas at the trunnions and slag line (areas 13 within the red delineated region).

36 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


However, application of this material is only recommended
for areas with low thermal stress and reduced slag attack
because these bricks are more brittle than grades with common antioxidants. In the case of spalling or high thermal
stress these bricks tend to severe spalling.

RHI has a number of grades with metal ceramic bonding in


the current portfolio and several trial grades are awaiting
field tests. Whilst many of the current grades comprise top
quality MgO, RHI has also created some brands with lower
grade MgO for further trials.

Other Applications
Apart from resin-bonded MgO-C bricks, antioxidant addition
has also proved to be beneficial for alumina-magnesia-carbon (AMC) bricks. AMC bricks, developed mainly for ladle
bath areas, are characterized by in situ spinel formation
with MgO and demonstrate higher strength compared to
MgO-C. However, they are more brittle and show significantly lower slag resistance. Especially in the impact area of
ladles, deep decarburization and steel infiltration of antioxidant-free AMC bricks have been observed (Figure 9).
The first trials with antioxidant-containing carbon-bonded
MgO-C bricks in EAF taphole and sidewall applications were
successful.

Figure 9. Postmortem AMC brick sample from the impact area in


a ladle. Severe decarburization and steel infiltration are visible
(area 1). Antioxidant addition reduces such wear patterns.

Conclusion
Whilst metal powder additives in carbon-bonded bricks can
have very beneficial effects, the disadvantages must not be
ignored. It is essential to identify the type of primary wear
occurring in the refractory lining and assess if and what
type of antioxidants would be the best countermeasure,
since the wrong application can even reduce performance.
The commonly applied combination of Al and Si is a wellstudied technology and widely used in steel plants. Further
developments including controlled expansion and metal
ceramic bonding are also highly successful for certain applications. However, they must be applied appropriately, taking into account their drawbacks.

References
[1] Routschka, G. and Wuthnow, H. (Eds) Praxishandbuch Feuerfeste Werkstoffe. 5th Edition; Vulkan-Verlag: Essen, 2011.
[2] Baudin, C., Alvarez, C. and Moore, R. Influence of Chemical Reactions in Magnesia-Graphite Refractories: II, Effects of Aluminum and Graphite
Content in Generic Products. J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 1999, 82, No. 12, 35393548.
[3] Watanabe, K., Yabuta, K., Okamoto, H. and Yamamoto, H. Oxidation Behaviour of MgO-C Bricks With Various Additives. Presented at UNITECR
95, Kyoto, Japan, Nov., 1922, Vol. 2, pp. 100107.
[4] Zhang, S., Marriott, N.J. and Lee, W.E. Thermochemistry and Microstructures of MgO-C Refractories Containing Various Antioxidants. J. Euro.
Ceram. Soc. 2001, 21, 10371047.
[5] Majcenovic, C., Eder, J. and Rotsch, J. Microscopic Examination of Premature Wear Caused by Joint Opening and Vertical Crack Formation in
Magnesia-Carbon Steel Treatment Ladle Linings. RHI Bulletin. 2012, No. 1, 3438.

Acknowledgement
The authors would like to express their gratitude to Mr Sizov at NTMK (Russia) for providing Figure 8.

Authors
Andreas Rief, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Stefan Heid, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Matthias Hck, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Corresponding author: Andreas Rief, andreas.rief@rhi-ag.com

> 37

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 3840

Gregor Lammer, Christian Spiel and Alexander Ratz

GEKKOAffordable Gunning Manipulator for


Efficient Refractory Maintenance
Introduction
Applying refractory maintenance methods is crucial for efficient, reliable, and cost-effective campaign planning in
modern steelmaking. However, the level of lining maintenance among different steel producers worldwide still varies from almost zero to intensive repair after each heat
depending on the chosen process philosophy. If effectively
utilized, maintenance techniques can help to achieve one or
more of the following goals:

available from RHI is called GEKKO and is available in both


a ladle and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) version.

GEKKO Gunning Manipulator


The aim behind the development of GEKKO was to create
an affordable and versatile gunning manipulator. It is possible to use the GEKKO both for BOF and ladle gunning
because three different lance types are available that are
customized to the different vessels (Figure 2). All lance

>> Ensure a predictable and reproducible lining lifetime.


>> Reduce specific brick consumption.
>> Enable targeted repair of premature wear areas.
>> Increase breakout safety.
Investment cost [x e1000]

In its most basic form, refractory mix gunning can be performed by plant personnel operating a manual gunning
lance. However, this task in front of a metallurgical vessel at
elevated temperature puts considerable physical and mental stress on the operator. Furthermore, the performance
and accuracy of manual gunning can be problematic, and
due to the limited length of a manual gunning lance, certain
converter areas can be inaccessible.

CONREP

Super
gunning

TERMINATOR
500

SHOOTER
ANKERTWIN
GEKKO

Manipulator
gunning

Hand lance

25

Machine-Assisted Gunning
To overcome these difficulties, specialized machines have
been developed for the purpose of minimizing or even completely eliminating human influence and physical effort. At
the moment, RHI offers a wide range of different manipulators for gunning maintenance and the investment costs are
compared to the gunning equipment performance in Figure 1.
The smallest and most affordable gunning manipulator

TERMINATOR XL

2000

40

150

Gunning performance [kg mix/min]


Figure 1. Investment costs versus gunning equipment performance. Typical configurations include one pressure vessel for a
hand lance, two pressure vessels for a gunning manipulator, and
four pressure vessels and a laser measurement system for an
automated gunning manipulator.

(a)

(b)

Figure 2. (a) standard ladle and (b) BOF versions of GEKKO. The differences between both versions are detailed in Table I.

38 <

450

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Ladle A (standard)

Ladle B

Maximum reach

4.1 m*

4.1 m*

8 m*

Telescopic boom

None

None

Variable reach (3.6 m8 m)*

Gunning lance diameter

Lance movement
Lance height
Water and refractory mixing position

BOF

Nontiltable

Tiltable

Tiltable (+/- 15)

Adjustable (1.6 m2.4 m)

Fixed

Fixed

Front end

Front end

Rear end

Table I. Main differences between the individual lance types available for GEKKO. The length from the heat shield to lance tip is indicated (*) and can be extended by 1 m with a different lance type.

types are hydraulically operated and can be rotated through


+/- 350.
GEKKO is based on components with proven reliability: It
features a compact undercarriage, which is the same for all
versions. A flexible joint enables the manipulator to
manoeuvre even on converter platforms with limited space.
The undercarriage is diesel-powered, moves on four wheels
(i.e., all-wheel drive), and can be controlled by a remote
control (available both in wired and wireless versions).
Despite the similarities, there are several differences
between the BOF and standard ladle version of GEKKO: The
BOF version of the gunning lance (see Figure 2b) features a
telescopic boom (enabling variable reach of the lance,
namely the length from the heat shield to the end of the
lance is between 3.6 m and 8 m, with the option to further
extend the range to 9 m by installing a longer telescopic
boom) and can be tilted horizontally (90 +/- 15). In contrast, the lance for the standard ladle version (see Figure 2a)
has a fixed total length and horizontal tilting angle but its
height can be vertically adjusted (between 1600 mm and
2400 mm) according to customers demands. For special
applications, another ladle version of GEKKO featuring a
tiltable boom is also available. The maximum reach of both
ladle GEKKOs is 4100 mm; however, it can be extended by
up to 1 m with a different lance type. Table I summarizes
the characteristics of all three versions.

cooling system design. Due to fundamental differences in


construction, mixing the water and refractory material is
performed at the rear end of the BOF lance but at the front
end of the ladle versions.
Whereas GEKKO is ideally suited for all ladle gunning operations, the BOF version is designed for either maintaining
the wear lining of small converters (i.e., with a tapping
weight of up to 150 tonnes) or for mouth and upper cone
gunning in order to avoid skull sticking. The average mix
throughput with GEKKO is approximately 100 kg/minute,
but can reach up to 140 kg/minute under ideal conditions
(depending on several parameters such as the length and
diameter of the mix and water feed hoses, and the vessel
and feed pressures of the ANKERJET machine).

GEKKO Track Record


After successful trials at ArcelorMittal Eisenhttenstadt
(Germany), the BOF version of GEKKO entered the market
in November 2011 at ArcelorMittal Bremen (Germany). It
has been in continuous operation since this time and is
used for BOF gunning on a daily basis, mostly for mouth
maintenance (Figure 4).

The GEKKO cooling system is based on the water used for


gunning: It is first transported through the boom before
being used to wet the mix. Figure 3 shows an infrared picture that was recorded during the test phase to validate the

692.6 C

96.5 C
97.3 C

117.9 C
88.1 C

80.0 C
Figure 3. Infrared image of GEKKO during a gunning operation.
Lance temperatures are indicated.

Figure 4. BOF gunning at ArcelorMittal Bremen (Germany).

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RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Figure 5. Ladle gunning at ArcelorMittal Eisenhttenstadt (Germany).

The ladle version has been on a demonstration tour


throughout 2012 and was in successful operation at ArcelorMittal Belval and Differdingen (Luxembourg). Ladle gunning
with GEKKO is also being performed at ArcelorMittal Eisenhttenstadt (Figure 5).

Summary
GEKKO is a cost-effective, highly manoeuvrable gunning
manipulator for both BOF and ladle applications. It enables
the targeted maintenance of prewear areas whilst minimizing physical operator stress. Following its market introduction in 2011, GEKKO has been a continual maintenance
method at ArcelorMittal Bremen and additional European
steel plants are benefiting from its compact, reliable capabilities.

Authors
Gregor Lammer, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Christian Spiel, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Alexander Ratz, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Corresponding author: Gregor Lammer, gregor.lammer@rhi-ag.com

40 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 4144

Alain St-Jacques and Michael Heiligenbrunner

Improved Concave Lining Design for the Bottom


of RH Degassers
Introduction

RH Degassing Process

Vacuum degassing was first introduced in the 1950s and is


now an essential part of secondary steel refining. It enables
the removal of unwanted gaseous impurities (especially
hydrogen and nitrogen) as well as other metallic and nonmetallic trace elements from steel. Its increasing importance
in modern steelmaking is principally due to the rising
demand for high-grade steel with improved mechanical
properties [1]. The Ruhrstahl Heraeus (RH) process, named
after the two companies where it was developed, has
become the optimum secondary metallurgy process, with
more than 250 vacuum degassers operational worldwide.
Whilst the dominant unit is the RH degasser (Figure 1),
there are also modified versions of this recirculation technology in operation that enable oxygen blowing (e.g.,
RH-OB, RH-OTB, and RH-KTB degassers).

The RH process is based on molten steel movement


between the ladle and degassing unit (Figure 2). The RH
degasser comprises a refractory-lined reaction vessel with
an inlet and outlet snorkel attached to the bottom. The
inlet snorkel has a number of gas pipes (lift gas tuyeres)
through which inert gas is injected. The steel ladle is
transported to the vacuum degassing station and placed
under the snorkels. Prior to immersing the snorkels into
the steel, inert gas injection is started in the inlet snorkel.
During snorkel immersion, the reaction vessel is evacuated. As a result of atmospheric pressure exerted on the
ladle surface, the steel rises up both snorkels into the vessel to a ferrostatic height of approximately 1.4 m under
deep vacuum conditions.

Under deep vacuum, the C + O CO reaction occurs in the


steel melt producing carbon levels < 15 ppm (0.0015 wt.%)
and oxygen < 10 ppm (0.001 vol.%). In addition to decarburization and deoxidation, the vacuum process enables hydrogen and nitrogen removal as well as alloy adjustment and
improved steel cleanliness (i.e., inclusion removal). Precise
alloying with expensive metals such as Ti, Vn, Nb is a further advantage of this process. Typical steel grades produced using RH degassing are detailed in Table I.

Steel grade/application

Characteristics

Heavy plate steel


Mild steel strips

Hydrogen < 2 ppm

Rail steel

Hydrogen ~12 ppm

Case hardened steel


Heat treatable steel
Ball bearing steel

Oxygen < 10 ppm


Hydrogen < 2 ppm

Tube steel
Electrical steel
Interstitial-free steel

Carbon 1030 ppm

Table I. Typical steel types produced using the RH degasser.

Vacuum chamber
Burner
opening

Leg

Recirculating steel

Alloy
chute

Bottom
Vacuum
Upper
vessel

Inert gas
injection
Inlet snorkel

Lower
vessel

Leg

Bottom

Snorkel

Outlet snorkel
Ladle

Figure 1. RH degasser.

Figure 2. Schematic view of the RH degasser reaction zone.

> 41

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


The recirculation effect is produced by the injected gas
decreasing the steel density in the inlet snorkel. This
causes the steel to accelerate through the inlet snorkel at
a velocity of more than 5 m/s. The steel then flows
through the degasser, returning to the ladle via the outlet
snorkel. The steel recirculation rate determines the velocity of the metallurgical reactions and the process duration.
It is dependent on the equipment geometry, such as the
snorkel diameter and equipment radius, as well as the
inert gas flow rate. Alloys and deoxidation agents are
added at a later stage in the degassing process through
the alloy chute.
The specific advantages of the RH process include:
>> Reduced primary metallurgy requirement.
>> Short treatment times.
>> High equipment availability.
>> Achievable metallurgical results (e.g., ~ 1.5 ppm H2,
~ 15 ppm C, and ~ 10 ppm O2).
>> High yields from alloy addition.
>> Steel homogenization.
>> Improved steel cleanliness.

RH Degasser Lining
The RH degasser is lined with various types of magnesiachromite bricks, selected to meet the specific wear mechanisms occurring in different areas of the reaction vessel. For
example, the snorkel is subjected to thermal shock, erosion,
and corrosion, whilst bricks in the lower and upper vessel
must withstand redox reactions.
During operation, thermal expansion of the wear lining
bricks in the bottom area can cause the bricks to lift, since
they are constrained by the external metal shell (Figure 3).
In addition, stresses resulting from brick expansion in the

Centre piece

centre piece (i.e., crotch) can cause damage to the brickwork


in the upper region of the legs (i.e., throat). This allows steel
infiltration to occur that permeates between the wear and
permanent lining over the entire bottom region. As a result
large sections of the bottom brickwork can lift, necessitating
early breakout of the lining.

Improved Bottom Lining Design at


ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor
The RH-OB degasser facility at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor
East (USA) BOF plant 4 was built and commissioned in 1987.
As a result of the wear mechanisms described above, the
lower vessel lining was only achieving approximately 250
heats and a hot spot was identified on the steel shell between
the legs. Since the type of lining damage was related to thermal brick expansion, RHI performed extensive finite element
analyses to determine the stress distributions occurring at
operating temperatures [2]. The results enabled a new bottom
lining concept to be introduced that has dramatically increased
the lining lifetime to an average of 630 heats. The following
sections describe various aspects of the new lining design.

Concave Bottom Lining and Radial Brickwork


The bottom steel shell of the RH degasser unit is concave;
however, the old bottom wear lining design was flat in this
region (Figure 4a). Therefore, to minimize the possibility of
the brickwork lifting, the new wear lining design follows the
curvature of the steel vessel by using key arch shaped bricks
(Figure 4b). Furthermore, installation of the safety lining was
modified to follow the bottom shape and insulation was
included to avoid hot spots occurring on the steel shell
(Figure 5).
The centre piece in the crotch of the wear lining was redesigned to facilitate radial bricklaying in the bottom region

Steel infiltration at
damaged throat bricks

Steel shell

Bricks constrained
at knuckle

Lifting bricks
(a)

(b)

Figure 3. Schematic diagram of the brick lining in the bottom region of a RH degasser. Section through (a) legs and centre piece and
(b) bottom region perpendicular to the legs. Potential steel infiltration is indicated in red.

42 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


(Figure 6). As a result, any thermomechanical stress (expansion) in the bottom lining is directed downwards as well as
towards the centre and legs, providing a tight smooth lining
that avoids steel penetration.

Knuckle Region
The brick shape and bricklaying in the knuckle region were
also modified (see Figures 4b and 7). This dissipates any

(a)

thermomechanical stress up into the lower vessel wall lining, providing additional benefits. The new vessel bottom
and lower wall working lining design is depicted in Figure 8.

New Lining Design Performance


As a consequence of the new design, the lower vessel lining lifetime at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor has increased
from approximately 250 heats to an average of 630 heats

(b)

Figure 4. Schematic diagram of the bottom wear lining. Sections through the (a) old and (b) new lining designs.

Figure 5. Installation of the concave safety lining on insulation


material in the crotch area.

Figure 6. Centre piece with radial brick installation.

> 43

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

(a)

(b)

Figure 7. (a) knuckle brick installation and (b) completed knuckle brick ring.

plant operators for their vigilance in maintaining the refractories.


Subsequent to the success of this new bottom lining
design at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor, the following steel
plants have also converted to the concave radial bottom
lining design:
>> ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor (USA).
>> AK Steel, Ashland Works (USA).
>> AK Steel, Middletown Works (USA).
>> Severstal Dearborn (USA).

Summary

Figure 8. The vessel bottom and lower wall lining installation.

(equivalent to 15120 minutes of steel circulation). To date,


the record lining lifetime is 684 heats. This exceptional
achievement can only be credited to the Masonry Department for their excellent bricklaying skills as well as to the

The RH degassing process has been in industrial use for


nearly 60 years. However, the refractory lining in the bottom
region of the degasser is subject to thermomechanical
stresses that have been found to limit the refractory lining
lifetime. Therefore, an improved bottom lining design was
developed by RHI that has resulted in dramatic lining performance improvements, providing both cost and time-saving benefits for multiple customers.

References
[1] http://www.millennium-steel.com/articles/pdf/2008/pp104-108%20MS08.pdf
[2] Marschall, H.U. and Jandl, C. Design Evaluation of BOF Linings With the Aid of Thermomechanical Simulation. RHI Bulletin. 2010, No. 2, 1519.

Authors
Alain St-Jacques, RHI Canada Inc., Burlington, Canada.
Michael Heiligenbrunner, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Corresponding author: Alain St-Jacques, alain.st-jacques@rhi-ag.com

44 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 4550

Bernd Trummer, Leopold Kneis, Michael Pellegrino, Michael Klikovich and Martin Kresadlo

SOC-H SystemThe New Standard Solution for


Ladle Gas Purging
SOC-H (Safety Operating Closing system
with Hinged door) is a second generation,
complete standard system solution based on
the original SOC design. SOC-H, for ladle gas
purging, consists of purging ceramics, a safety closing system, the plug setting device, a
plug extraction device, and all auxiliary tools
and accessories. High quality and an exact fit
between all the individual components result
in optimum performance and easy handling
under harsh steel mill conditions. Maximum
safety and operational reliability is achieved
by the closing system design and the highquality purging plugs. Perfectly aligned installation of new plugs is realized using the setting device, whilst removal of used plugs is
facilitated by an extraction device. Outokumpu Americas Inc., (Calvert, USA) decided to
equip all its ladles with this new standard
gas purging solution and has been running
SOC-H since November 2012.

(a)

(b)

Introduction
The introduction of bottom gas purging into ladle metallurgy was a major step in steel secondary metallurgy. Purging plugs were integrated into the ladle bottom in order to
feed purging gas into the liquid steel. From a refractory
standpoint, two major design families were established:
Plugs for cold exchange and plugs for hot exchange. Bottom
gas purging started with cold exchangeable purging ceramics, which were considered to be maximally safe in operation. Their design allows plug exchange only when the ladle
is taken out of circulation and completely cooled down.
Therefore, numerous ladles are necessary to keep productivity at a high level. The implementation of hot exchangeable
plugs was a revolution that significantly improved productivity. The time necessary to get the ladle back into circulation
after plug exchange dropped dramatically from a minimum
of two days to about half an hour. However, major safety
concerns had to be resolved. The closing system was introduced into the ladle bottom to guarantee high productivity
and high safety during operation.

Ladle Plug Closing Systems


RHI has a very long history with closing systems, having
developed several different types in the past, starting with a
wedge gate closing system. Subsequently, the bayonet system and the bayonet hinged cover system were introduced.
In 2000, SOC was developed to achieve a maximum safety
level during operation. An overview of available RHI ladle
closing systems is given in Figure 1. Each closing system
has its own major advantages and also specific drawbacks.

(c)

(d)
Figure 1. Overview of RHI closing systems for ladle purging
ceramics (a) wedge gate closing system where the purging plug
is held in position by a removable closing plate locked with
wedges, (b) bayonet hinged cover where the purging plug is
held in position by a hinged cover that is bayonet locked and
secured by a bolt, (c) bayonet system where the purging plug is
held in position by a bayonet locked closing plate that is secured
by a bolt, and (d) SOC-System where the purging plug is held in
position by a removable cover that is secured by four bolts.

> 45

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


A comparison of the advantages and drawbacks of different
RHI closing system types is provided in Table I. The difficult
major task of all closing systems is to combine operational
safety, reliability, and easy handling within one system.
SOC-H (Safety Operating Closing system with Hinged door)
is RHIs latest and most modern development in this field,
combining operational safety, reliability, and easy handling
to the maximum level technically possible today.

SOC-H System Solution


SOC-H is not only a closing system, it is a complete system
solution for ladle gas purging. SOC-H consists of specially
designed purging plugs, a safety closing system, a plug setting device, a plug extraction device, as well as the required
tools and accessories. All components were designed to fit
perfectly with each other and provide smooth, reliable performance.

SOC-H Closing System


The new SOC-H closing system is shown in Figure 2. It was
designed for maximum operational safety. All refractory and
metal joints are arranged in a labyrinth design and are filled
with mortar to prevent any kind of steel penetration. Additionally, the voluminous cross section of the closing plate
acts as a cooling device, which is able to freeze steel penetrations in the closing system itself. Feedback from RHI customers has confirmed the effectiveness of SOC technology.
The SOC-H closing system was designed for easy handling.
The operating procedure is simple and straightforward.
There are no heavy parts that have to be lifted and no loose
parts that can fall down and get lost; thereby, a high degree
of operational safety is guaranteed.
Implementing the SOC-H closing system into the ladle steel
shell is quick and easy, with a standard implementation

Wedge gate

Bayonet hinged
cover

Bayonet

SOC-System

SOC-H System

Safety level

++

+++

+++

Operator handling

++

+++

Safety against application error

++

++

+++

+++

Ease of operator handling

++

++

+++

Operational safety

+++

+++

Full system solution (setting and extraction device)

++

+++

Implementation time

++

+++

+++

++

++

System costs

+++

+++

+++

++

++

Maintenance efforts

+++

++

++

++

++

Main features

Additional features

Appropriate (+), good (++), ideal (+++)


Table I. Comparison of different RHI closing system properties versus SOC-H.

Gas

Gas seal
Interlocking device

Spindle
Locked position

Holding ring
with hinge
Locking plate

Base plate

Figure 2. The SOC-H closing system for ladle purging plugs.

46 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


time of approximately 3 months. Existing SOC systems can
be easily upgraded to SOC-H, since the existing base plate
can be used for SOC-H, and no further modifications to the
ladle steel shell are necessary.

prevents any steel infiltration into the plug caused by pressure fluctuations in the gas supply. The purging gas is fed
via the check valve into this configuration.
Purging Plug With Refractory Distance Ring and Safety
Check Valve With Standard Gas Connection

SOC-H Plug Configurations


SOC-H can be operated with various plug configurations,
safety devices, and auxiliary connections. This enables a
customer-specific solution to be installed based on existing
experiences and specific steel mill preferences.
Purging Plug With Safety Pad and Gas Connection
Without Check Valve
The purging plug with a safety pad and gas connection
without a check valve (Figure 3a) is the traditional configuration used in the SOC-System. A reusable safety pad with
a copper loop is screwed to the plug and protects against
steel breakout. A connecting pipe feeds the purging gas into
this configuration.
Purging Plug With Safety Pad and Gas Connection With
Internal Check Valve
The purging plug with a safety pad and gas connection with
an internal check valve (Figure 3b) is an improved configuration that integrates a reusable check valve. Again the
safety pad protects against steel breakout. The check valve

The purging plug with a refractory distance ring and safety


check valve with a standard gas connection (Figure 3c) comprises a newly developed massive, fixed check valve that
prevents steel infiltration into the plug and protects against
steel breakout. The purging gas is fed via a connecting pipe
into this configuration.
Purging Plug With Refractory Distance Ring and
Exchangeable Safety Check Valve With Standard Gas
Connection
The purging plug with a refractory distance ring and
exchangeable safety check valve with a standard gas connection (Figure 3d) is an improved configuration containing
RHIs newly developed massive, reusable check valve that
prevents steel infiltration into the plug and protects against
steel breakout. A connecting pipe feeds the purging gas into
this configuration.
In all designs, the gas connection with the integrated check
valve is maintenance-free, has no seals to be replaced, and
avoids potential leaking.

Safety pad

Safety pad

Standard gas connection


(a)

Safety check valve

(c)

Gas connection
with internal check valve

(b)

Distance ring

Standard gas connection

Exchangeable safety
check valve

(d)

Distance ring

Standard gas connection

Figure 3. (a) purging plug with a safety pad and gas connection without a check valve, (b) purging plug with a safety pad and gas
connection with an internal check valve, (c) purging plug with a distance ring and safety check valve with a standard gas connection,
and (d) purging plug with a distance ring and exchangeable safety check valve with a standard gas connection.

> 47

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

The SOC-H Plug Setting Device


The SOC-H system includes a plug setting device (Figure 4),
which facilitates purging plug installation. After opening the
hinged door, the setting device is mounted by a bayonet
coupling to the closing system. The process of plug installation is explained and depicted in Figure 5.
The plug setting device enables easy handling of the plug
during mortar application and insertion into the block. It is
no longer necessary to manually insert the purging plug
into the block because the setting tool supports the weight
of the plug during insertion. After installation with the setting device, the plug is precisely centred in the well block
(also termed pocket block). Scraping off any mortar from
the plug during insertion is also avoided. Therefore, a
homogenous mortar gap with constant thickness all around
the plug is achieved. This is a major safety aspect.

Figure 4. The SOC-H plug setting device.

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

(f)

Figure 5. Schematic demonstration of plug installation using the SOC-H setting device. (a) install RHI plug in centreline of SOC-H,
(b) shut closure plate, (c) turn locking device to keep locking plate closed, (d) tighten spindle clockwise to secure plug into position,
(e) tighten gas connection, with threaded gas seal, using hook wrench, and (f) mount interlocking device to secure locking device.

48 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

SOC-H Plug Extraction Device


The SOC-H system contains a plug extraction device
(Figure 6), which enables easy extraction of worn plugs
from the well block. After opening the hinged door, the
extraction device is mounted by a bayonet coupling to the
closing system. The process of plug extraction is explained
and depicted in Figure 7. There is less manual work required
with no possible damage to the well block, unlike when the
plug is pushed out with a Grant or Gradall machine. The permanent availability of the SOC-H extraction device saves
time and eliminates waiting for the Grant or Gradall machine.
The SOC-H extraction device is connected by a simple adaptor to the plug. After the connection has been established
the plug can be pulled out, assisted by a hydraulic pump.
This pump can be driven manually, electrically, or with compressed air.

Figure 6. The SOC-H plug extraction device.

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)
(e)

(f)

Figure 7. Schematic demonstration of plug removal with the SOC-H extraction device. (a) open threaded gas seal with a hook wrench,
(b) turn spindle counterclockwise to release gas connection, (c) remove interlocking device, (d) unlock locking device by turning,
(e) open closing plate, and (f) remove plug with RHI extraction device.

> 49

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Purging Plugs for SOC-H


All available RHI plug grades and designs can be used
within the SOC-H system. Plugs for SOC-H have a special
gas connection adaptor, and its compact design eliminates
long connecting pipes, reducing the weight of the plug and
enabling very compact packaging. Figure 8 shows two
plugs with SOC-H gas connection adaptors. There are different wear indicator systems available for added safety and
efficiency.

SOC-H System Experiences at the


Outokumpu Americas Steel Mill
RHI began the installation procedure at Outokumpu Americas (USA) by training the onsite RHI staff about the SOC-H
system. PowerPoint presentations explained the basic theory behind gas purging and the actual closing system in
use. Hands-on training regarding how to install a purging
plug safely and correctly was performed prior to the startup.
The SOC-H system has been in operation since November
2012 and is part of the daily process at the melt shop.
The most significant improvements achieved, compared to
the SOC-System, are:
>> The closing door is hinged; therefore, the door does not
have to be lifted manually.

(a)

>> Almost no tools are required to work with the system.


>> No bolts are required to close the door.
>> System maintenance is possible without special tools or
requirements.
>> The modular design enables both setting and extraction
tools to be attached using the same platform as the
hinged door.
>> SOC-H combined with the setting tool provides accurate
alignment of the purging plug in the well block during
installation.
>> The newly designed gas connection with an integrated
check valve is included in the SOC-H system to provide
additional safety against steel infiltration.

Summary
SOC-H is the new state of the art ladle gas purging system
from RHI, which has recently been introduced into the market. It consists of purging ceramics, a safety closing system,
a gas connection with internal check valve, plug setting and
plug extraction devices, with additional tools and equipment necessary for a safe, reliable, and easy to handle ladle
purging system. SOC-H has proven its efficiency in tests in
several steel mills and has been installed on all ladles at the
brand new Outokumpu Americas steel mill in Alabama.
Since the startup of this new steel mill in November 2012,
SOC-H has demonstrated its reliability.

(b)

Figure 8. Purging plugs with SOC-H gas connection adaptor. (a) SOC-H purging plug for use with a safety pad or exchangeable check
valve and (b) SOC-H with fixed check valve.

Authors
Bernd Trummer, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Leopold Kneis, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Michael Pellegrino, Veitsch-Radex America Inc., Steel Division, Hammond, USA.
Michael Klikovich, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Martin Kresadlo, RHI US Ltd., Steel Division, Pittsburgh, USA.
Corresponding author: Bernd Trummer, bernd.trummer@rhi-ag.com

50 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 5153

Bernd Trummer, Michael Pellegrino and Leopold Kneis

Benefits of a Refractory Coating on Purging Plug


Steel Cones
A ceramic refractory coating on the outer steel cone of ladle purging plugs significantly
improves their performance properties. The refractory coating not only increases refractoriness of the mortar gap, the rough plug surface provided by the coating improves plug fixation
in the well block. Furthermore, mortars used for installation adhere well to the plug surface
and do not slip off as is often the case with untreated steel cones.
Introduction
Purging plugs are used in ladle secondary metallurgy. The
purging gas (mostly Ar or N2) is fed via channels through
the purging plug refractory into the liquid steel. Plugs are
available in many different designs and material grades,
each with its own advantages and weaknesses during performance. A very approximate classification distinguishes
between plugs with random porosity and those with directional porosity. A more detailed description of plug designs
and the influence of plug design on performance is given
by Kneis et. al., [1]. However, there is one aspect that the
different plug designs and grades have in common: All
purging plugs for ladle metallurgy are shipped within a
metal casingthe steel cone.

Retaining the Purging Gas Inside the Plug


Plugs are installed in the ladle bottom, most frequently into
a well block (also termed pocket block), or less often,
directly into a monolithic lining. The ceramic plug is housed
in a steel cone and the purging gas is fed by a steel pipe
into the bottom of the plug (Figure 1). Thereby, a gas tight
connection is achieved. The purging gas is directed through
the purging ceramic and exits the plug, as required, through
the plug hot face, subsequently stirring the molten steel. In
the past there have been several attempts to reduce the
length or even work without steel cones. There are very
good reasons for this including the fact steel has a lower
refractoriness than the surrounding refractory materials,
bonding between steel and the surrounding refractories
is not as strong as the bonding between refractory ceramics, and the steel cone is a major cost factor.

Figure 1. Ladle purging plug

However, plug ceramics can become brittle under


mechanical or thermal stress, causing crack formation in
the plug. Since cracks are always favoured passageways
for gases and horizontal cracks direct the purging gas into
the lining and not into the liquid steel, the purging effect
can be seriously affected. Housing the ceramic plug in a
steel cone overcomes this problem. When subjected to
mechanical or thermal stress, the steel cone normally
remains ductile and intact, encasing the purging plug so
the purging gas is always directed through the plug into
the liquid steel.

Steel Cones for Purging Plugs


Steel cones ensure that no purging gas can leak into the
lining. Thermal shrinking of the steel cone onto the
ceramic plug was developed by RHI and has become state
of the art. As a result, no gap can form between the steel
cone and the ceramic plug. This is proven technology that
guarantees reliable gas purging. However, steel cones
also have major drawbacks. The negative influences on
refractoriness include:
>> Low refractoriness of the steel cone: Refractoriness of
the steel is significantly lower than the surrounding
ceramics.
>> Consumption of the steel cone due to oxygen cleaning
and formation of low melting phases in the mortar
gap: Oxygen lancing a plug preferentially consumes
the steel cone and generates high iron oxide levels in
the mortar gap. This results in the formation of lower
melting refractory phases.
>> Premature wear of the mortar gap: The mortar gap
strength is weakened and premature wear of the mortar gap occurs. This has a negative influence on plug
handling and safety.
>> Mortar slips off the plug: The steel cone surface is
very smooth. Mortars often do not adhere well to the
plug surface and slip off when applied.
>> No solid bonding between the mortar and steel cone:
Some mortars do not form a solid bond with the steel
cone and mechanical stress may loosen the plug,
thereby negatively affecting the safety level. There is
also a detrimental influence on plug/block repair.
>> Gunning repair material does not adhere to the plug:
The effectiveness of a well block gunning repair significantly depends on the surface quality of the replacement plug. If the gunning mix does not stick to the
plug surface, the block repair will be eroded very
quickly.
> 51

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Ceramic Plug Surface


All the aforementioned drawbacks can be easily overcome
if the purging plug has a ceramic rather than steel surface.
As previously mentioned, the steel cone is mandatory to
ensure gas tightness. However, applying an additional
refractory coating onto the steel cone provides favourable
properties that can be expected from ceramic surfaces.

Refractory Coated Plugs


Applying refractory oxides to the plug surface creates a
refractory coating with many positive properties. Furthermore, by carefully selecting the materials used for the coating a tailored refractory coating is generated. The refractory
layer can be prepared from refractory oxides such as Al2O3,
MgO, and spinel, as well as from carbides like SiC or
nitrides including AlN. From a practical perspective, Al2O3 is
the most important refractory material for this coating.
The thickness of the refractory layer can vary from nearly
zero to almost 3 mm. Thick refractory layers are especially
beneficial for improving refractoriness of the mortar gap
since they provide large amounts of refractory oxides. Only
thin refractory layers are required when the main purpose
is to provide a rough sandpaper-like surface. As a compromise, the refractory coating should not be thicker than 1
mm, and the best properties for steel mill conditions are
achieved with a layer thickness between 0.2 and 0.5 mm.

Improving Refractoriness at the


Plug/Mortar Interface
The refractory materials from the coating layer react with
the mortar and increase the liquidus temperature of low
melting phases originating from the mortar, especially in
the case of air-setting mortars with sodium silicate bonding. This is particularly true when oxygen lancing is taken
into consideration. Oxygen lancing consumes the plugs
steel cone and produces large amounts of FeO directly in
the mortar gap. This FeO jeopardizes the stability of the
mortar gap by forming low melting phases. The refractory
coating reacts with the iron oxide generated from oxygen
lancing the steel cone and forms high melting phases. The
iron oxide becomes incorporated in high melting, stable
phases.

the ceramics. Premature wear may be enhanced since


the iron oxide generated from oxygen lancing softens
the mortar gap.
Magnesia
>> In cases where the mortar to install purging plugs is
based on MgO, a refractory coating comprising MgO is
the appropriate choice.
>> Magnesia from the coating reacts with iron oxide from
the consumed cone to form magnesioferrite and the
minimum melting temperature of the components
involved increases from 1380 C to 1750 C:
MgO + Fe2O3 (melting point 1380 C) MgO.Fe2O3
(melting point 1750 C).

Improving Plug Handling and Safety


Generating a sandpaper-like surface provides the following
advantages:
>> In contrast to the smooth steel cone, a refractory surface
coating is rough. This provides improved grip and helps
the operator to avoid accidentally dropping the plug
when lifting it from the crate.
>> Comparison of a standard steel cone surface and a cone
with refractory coating is pictured in Figure 3.
>> Installation mortars adhere perfectly to the rough refractory coating.
>> Adherence of installation mortar to a standard steel surface and a surface with refractory coating is shown in
Figure 4.
Forming a tight bonding between the plug and mortar has
the following benefits:
>> Even when the mortar does not slip off the steel cone it
is possible that no tight bonding forms between the
steel surface and mortar; a refractory layer circumvents
this problem.
>> After the mortar has hardened, the plug is no longer
fixed by the mortar in the block. This may be a serious
safety hazard if the plug becomes loose within the
block.

SiO2

Depending on the precise composition of the coating material, the typical reactions occurring with corundum or magnesia are given in the sections below.

1698

Two liquids

52 <

1698

1470

Mullite
Trd

0
140 1210 1205 Fe2Al4Si5O18
1083

1380

Iron cordierite
1470
1178
1088
1200 Fa
Fe2SiO4 (1205 )
1150
1177
0
1200
150
1148
Wustite
Hercynite

170
0

(1369 )
0
FeO

20

40
wt.%

Al6Si2O13
(~1850 )
~1840

Corundum
190

>> Corundum is the optimum refractory material for steel


cone coating as most of the mortars are based on raw
materials in the alumina-silica range.
> Corundum in the coating reacts with iron oxide generated from the consumed cone to form hercynite. The minimum melting temperature of the components involved
increases from 1380 C to 1780 C:
Al2O3 + FeO (melting point 1380 C) FeO.Al2O3 (melting point 1780 C).
>> A phase diagram of the FeO, Al2O3, and SiO2 system
shows the influence of iron oxide on the melting temperature (Figure 2).
>> Increasing the iron oxide content significantly lowers the
melting temperature and may result in a softening of

Crs

160
0

Corundum

(1723 )
~1590

FeAl2O4
(~1780 )

~1750

80

(~2020 )
100
Al2O3

Figure 2. Phase diagram of FeO, Al2O3, SiO2 showing the influence of iron oxide on the melting temperature [2].

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

(a)

(b)

Figure 3. Surface detail of a purging plug with (a) standard polished steel cone and (b) refractory coating on the cone.

(a)

(b)

Figure 4. Mortar application to (a) the standard stainless steel cone and (b) a cone with refractory coating.

Improvement of Block Repair Efficiency

Summary

Repairing a worn well block by gunning or casting is mandatory to achieve high purging ceramic lifetimes. Tight
bonding between the repair mix and plug surface assures
proper support and results in low wear of the replacement
plug. Otherwise a gap between the gunning repair and
plug forms that will speed up wear of the repair at a later
stage.

Applying a refractory coating to the outer steel cone of ladle


purging plugs provides many advantages regarding the
handling and performance of these ceramics. The installation mortar can be easily applied and tight bonding
between the mortar and plug is guaranteed. Gunning
repairs can be carried out more efficiently, resulting in better performance of the repair. In addition, refractoriness of
the mortar gap is increased, which improves the lifetime
and safety of the system.

References
[1] Kneis, L., Trummer, B. and Knabl, B. The Hybrid Plug An Innovative Purging Plug for Steel Ladles. RHI Bulletin. 2004, No. 1, 3438.
[2] Osborn, E.F. and Muan, A. Oxide Phases in Equilibrium with Metallic Iron, Phase Equilibrium Diagrams of Oxide Systems, Plate 9; The American
Ceramic Society and the Edward Orton, Jr., Ceramic Foundation; Columbus, Ohio, 1960.

Authors
Bernd Trummer, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Michael Pellegrino, Veitsch-Radex America Inc., Steel Division, Hammond, USA.
Leopold Kneis, RHI AG, Steel Division, Vienna, Austria.
Corresponding author: Bernd Trummer, bernd.trummer@rhi-ag.com

> 53

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 5457

Gernot Hackl, Wolfgang Fellner and Bernd Petritz

RHIs New Tundish Water Modelling Facility


Introduction
The tundish is an intermediate vessel in the continuous
casting machine, used to transfer liquid steel from the ladle
to the mould. Its primary function is to guarantee a continuous operation and even steel distribution to the mould(s).
Besides this main purpose, its importance as a refining
reactor has increased over the last decades, since it fulfils
several metallurgical functions such as efficient removal of
nonmetallic inclusions as well as thermal homogenization.
With respect to these operations, fluid flow in the tundish
plays an important role. However, due to the harsh operating environment, direct measurements cannot be conducted in an effective manner. Therefore, modelling techniques such as water modelling or computational fluid
dynamics (CFD) are key to deepening the understanding of
flow-related phenomena in this vessel, providing the ability
to improve existing systems in a stepwise and efficient
manner in order to derive maximum metallurgical benefit
tailored to the customers needs.

The Importance of Flow Phenomena


in the Tundish
Fluid flow in the tundish is closely linked to the metallurgical performance and as a consequence the final product
quality. Therefore, a detailed understanding of flow phenomena is crucial to optimize the process. With respect to
the operating conditions, one can distinguish between
two types of event: Steady-state casting and transient
periods. For the performance under steady-state casting
conditions, the approach of measuring the residence time
distribution (RTD) has been commonly applied by many
researchers. The residence time of a fluid in a reactor,
such as the tundish, is defined as the time a single fluid
element will remain in the reactor. Usually flow in any
tundish is accompanied by different residence times for
different fluid elements, resulting in a distribution function
of residence times. From this curve important parameters
to characterize the performance can be derived, which are
listed in Table I [1].
In order to maximize the flotation behaviour of inclusions
and avoid reoxidation in a given tundish under steadystate casting conditions, it is necessary to ensure the following points [2]:

Transient casting conditions, such as the start of casting


and a ladle or grade change, are well established as being
detrimental to the steel quality. These events frequently
result in the formation of additional inclusions due to reoxidation. Splashing at the beginning of a cast, slag emulsification during a ladle change, or vortex formation at the
end of a sequence, which can all be the source of additional contamination, need to be avoided as much as possible.

Basics of Water Modelling


Physical modelling, by means of water modelling, is an efficient way to understand steel flow inside a tundish. The
fundamentals of water modelling require the model system
to approximate, as closely as possible, conditions in the
actual system. To achieve this, certain similarities between
the real application and the model must be fulfilled, which
include geometric, dynamic, kinematic, and thermal considerations, as previously described [1,3]. In general, not all
these criteria can be fulfilled simultaneously; however,
either full or scaled-down models are able to provide useful
information about the tundish flow characteristics and can
help optimize tundish performance.
Several studies have been performed that compared the
results of full and scaled-down models. From the observations it can be concluded that a model tundish scaled down
on the basis of geometric similarity and fulfilling the Froude
similarity criteria is likely to simulate flow phenomena of
the corresponding full-scale system quite accurately [3].
The Froude number, Fr, which is the ratio between inertial
and gravitational forces, is defined as:

v2
Fr = .
gl

(1)

Parameter

Symbol

Description

Minimum residence time

tMIN (sec)
MIN (-)

Shortest time a fluid element stays in the vessel.

Peak time

tPEAK (sec)
PEAK (-)

Time at which the peak concentration of the tracer occurs at the outlet.

AV (-)

tAV (sec)

Weighted average of the RTD curve. The value for the mean residence time, up to twice the theoretical
residence time, is important to calculate the dead flow fraction.

Plug flow volume

VP (%)

Flow with the same residence time. No longitudinal mixing exists (back mixing effect).

Well-mixed flow volume

VM (%)

Maximum mixing is possible, rather high turbulence.

Dead flow volume

VD (%)

Corresponds to the volume in a tundish that is moving very slowly and therefore nearly stagnant.

Mean residence time

Table I. Residence time distribution (RTD) parameters.

54 <

>> Minimum spread of the residence time.


>> Minimum dead volume.
>> Large ratio of plug to dead volume and plug to mixed
volume.
>> Surface-directed flow.
>> Quiescent slag layer.
>> Contained regions of mixing.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


Where v is the flow velocity (m/s), g is the gravitational
acceleration (m/s), and l is the characteristic length (m).

The Model
Comprising all the aforementioned phenomena, a state of
the art tundish water model was established at the Technology Center Leoben (Austria). The model is setup in such a
manner that any specific tundish geometry, ranging from a
single strand slab up to an eight strand billet tundish, can
be investigated. This provides the basis for tailored product
development. Each process variable, such as the water temperature, the throughput of incoming water through the
ladle shroud, the throughput exiting each individual strand
as well as the level in the tundish are accurately controlled
by a PC. The highly automated setup guarantees an accurate operation and is indispensable for reproducing any
result. A front view of the model during a dye injection test
and the PC control interface can be seen in Figure 1.

(a)

Modelling Examples
Typical examples of modelling results for steady-state and
transient casting conditions are described in the following
sections.
Dye Injection
The method of measuring the residence time distribution
(RTD) is a very common practice to assess tundish performance during steady-state conditions. In such studies a
tracer (e.g., dye) is injected into the incoming water stream
and its concentration at the exit is recorded as a function of
time. Besides the concentration measurement, a video is
recorded synchronously to generate a visual impression of
the general flow characteristics. Using this approach, differences between furniture configurations can be efficiently
studied. As an example, the comparative setup and general
flow in a bare and TUNFLOW-equipped single strand
tundish are shown in Figure 2. The corresponding RTD

(b)

Figure 1. (a) snap shot during a dye injection test and (b) PC control interface.

(a)

(b)

Figure 2. Snap shot during a dye injection test. (a) bare tundish and (b) tundish equipped with TUNFLOW.

> 55

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


curve and flow-related parameters are detailed in Figure 3.
A remarkable improvement using the TUNFLOW is
revealed. The minimum residence time (MIN) was almost
doubled, the plug flow volume (VP) more than tripled,
whereas the dead volume fraction (VD) was significantly
reduced.
Splashing
Splashing at the start of a sequence needs to be suppressed
as much as possiblenot only regarding safety, but also in
relation to quality aspects. High turbulence in conjunction
with splashing may lead to a higher reoxidation rate and
higher nitrogen pick-up when compared to smooth conditions at this stage. In Figure 4 the positive effect of a
TUNFLOW can be seen. Splashing is suppressed and the
entire filling scenario is considerably smoother.
1.1

n Bare
n TUNFLOW

Dimensionless concentration

1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7

Surface Turbulence and Slag Emulsification


Surface turbulence also plays an important role in steel
cleanliness, since it causes the interaction of melt and slag.
Especially the impact zone is of significant importance
regarding this aspect. Unbalanced flow conditions may
result in break-up of the slag layer, also known as openeye, due to excessive turbulence. The performance of different flow modifiers can be investigated, for example using
an oil layer on top of the water to simulate the slag film. In
Figure 5 the behaviour of two impact pot designs is shown,
in which a competitor product (Figure 5a) is compared with
a RHI TUNFLOW design (Figure 5b) optimized for maximum
surface turbulence reduction.
Another important aspect is the behaviour during a ladle
change. The operation of a nonsubmerged ladle shroud
opening is common practice. This can have a far-reaching,
negative impact on quality. During the nonsubmerged
period, severe emulsification of the tundish slag can take
place, leading to a significant increase in the inclusion number. However, appropriate furniture installation will inhibit
potential slag entrainment and reduce the number of inclusions during this transient period. The impact on emulsified

0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
0.0

VD

(b)

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

Dimensionless time

(a)

Bare

TUNFLOW

34.3

21.4

VP

8.4

31.6

VM

57.2

47.0

MIN

0.08

0.13

AV

0.73

0.88

VP/VD

0.24

1.48
(a)

Figure 3. (a) RTD curves and (b) corresponding RTD parameters


for a bare and TUNFLOW-equipped tundish.

(a)

(b)

Figure 4. Snap shot during the start of casting showing splashing


in the (a) bare tundish and (b) tundish equipped with TUNFLOW.

56 <

(b)
Figure 5. Top view showing the tundish surface above the impact
zone. (a) competitor impact pot and (b) optimized TUNFLOW
design.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


slag transport is shown for tundish arrangements without
and with a TUNFLOW in Figure 6.

the surface. In Figure 7b it is evident that one of the particles


has been pulled down into the bath. Under such conditions
the risk of slag carryover increases significantly.

Vortex Formation
Slag carryover is an issue especially when the tundish level
decreases during a ladle change or at the end of casting.
However, improper installation of tundish furniture can also
lead to vortex formation and consequently slag transfer
down to the mould during steady-state operating conditions.
With the aid of water modelling such unfavourable flow conditions can be revealed and measures to minimize the detrimental effects can be undertaken. Figure 7 shows the behaviour during tundish draining. The formation of strong swirling and the onset of vortex formation above the strand exit
could be visualized following dye injection (Figure 7a). When
the tundish level was further reduced, strong vortex development was seen during the video footage. It caused
entrainment of the lightweight particles initially floating on

(a)

(b)
Figure 6. The impact on emulsified slag transport in the (a) bare
tundish and (b) tundish equipped with TUNFLOW.

Conclusions
As a global partner for the steel industry, RHI is always
striving to offer the best customer solutions, based on individual conditions and needs. Technology in the steel industry is constantly developing and topics such as clean steel
are becoming ever more important. This is affecting all metallurgical vessels including the tundish. Simulation techniques can help further develop existing products or invent
new solutions in an efficient way. Not only do they save
costs, but also time. With the aid of a water modelling facility at the Technology Center Leoben, as well as extensive
experience with CFD simulation, RHI is in the best position
to develop the most appropriate and tailored technological
solutions for steel customers worldwide.

(a)

(b)
Figure 7. (a) vortex formation during draining and (b) entrainment of lightweight particle.

References
[1] Sahai, Y. and Emi, T. Melt Flow Characterization in Continuous Casting Tundishes. ISIJ International. 1996, 36 No. 6, 667672.
[2] Ahuja, R. and Sahai, Y. Fluid Flow and Mixing of Melt in Steelmaking Tundishes. Ironmaking and Steelmaking. 1986, 13, 241247.
[3] Mazumdar, D. and Gutherie, R. I. L. The Physical and Mathematical Modelling of Continuous Casting Tundish Systems. ISIJ International. 1999,
39, No. 6, 524547.

Authors
Gernot Hackl, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Wolfgang Fellner, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Bernd Petritz, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Corresponding author: Gernot Hackl, gernot.hackl@rhi-ag.com

> 57

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 5862

Aida Mahmutovi, Johann Eder, Maid Henjakovi, Izet Kari and Omer Kablar

Measures to Improve the Durability of a Tundish


Working Lining Based on Slurry Gunning Mix
Determining interactions occurring between the refractory working lining, liquid steel, and
slag is important to achieve long-sequence casting and clean steel production. Longer casting
sequences inevitably cause erosion, primarily of the tundish working lining, due to the chemical action of slag and liquid steel as well as additional thermal and mechanical effects. Therefore, detailed analyses were performed to investigate the potential mechanisms occurring in
a tundish working lining, comprising the ANKERTUN 217 slurry gunning mix, installed at the
ArcelorMittal Zenica steel plant (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Results of the postmortem study
enabled measures to be taken and suggested to increase the working lining durability and
thereby the casting sequence duration. For example, installing a tundish protection plate,
manufactured from ANKOFORM S90 0-6, in the zone experiencing high impact from the
incoming steel stream has been highly beneficial.
ArcelorMittal Zenica Steel Plant
Carbon and low-alloy steels (e.g., low- and medium-carbon
steels, silicon killed, for common applications) are dominant
in the production programme at ArcelorMittal Zenica (AMZ)
(Bosnia and Herzegovina). The various grades are produced
using two 100-tonne basic oxygen furnaces and a 100-tonne
EAF, with steel processing performed in the ladle furnace.
The continuous caster, with the main characteristics detailed in Table I, generates billets of 120 mm x 120 mm and
130 mm x 130 mm.

Continuous Caster and Tundish Lining


The designed capacity of the continuous caster at AMZ is
900000 tonnes per year. It was commissioned in 2004 as
a five-strand caster, and in 2008 an additional sixth strand
was installed. Casting is sequential, with the maximum
sequence duration restricted to 17 hours due to the tundish
refractory lining. This casting duration depends on both
the tundish refractory lining quality as well as steel

cleanliness. The general tundish refractory lining concept


is presented schematically in Figure 1. The tundish at
AMZ has a nominal capacity of 26.3 tonnes and a working
level of 800 mm. The working lining is based on the
ANKERTUN 217 slurry gunning mix, principally comprising dead burned magnesia and olivine. It is installed with
a maximum thickness of 80 mm. Whilst ANKERTUN 217
is very economical, depending on the slag chemical composition, infiltration may lead to corrosion of the basic
magnesia matrix and modification of the olivine. As a
result of liquid steel turbulence and slag corrosion, collapse of the refractory lining can occur (Figure 2).

Working lining (2080 mm)


Insulation lining (2080 mm)

Casting machine parameter


Number of strands

Nominal/unbending radius

9 m/16 m

Distance between strands

1100 mm

Productivity

140 tonne/hour

Billet cross section

120 mm x 120 mm
130 mm x 130 mm

Billet length

612 m

Casting method

Open stream
Submerged casting

Casting speed

45 m/min

Lubrication

Oil

Ladle capacity

120 tonne

Anchors

Tundish capacity

26.3 tonne

Steel shell

Working tundish level

800 mm

Mould

Curved 1000 mm

Table I. Main characteristics of the continuous caster at AMZ.

58 <

150
200
300
150

300

Permanent lining (100200 mm)

Figure 1. General tundish refractory lining concept [1].

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Tundish Cover Powder


At AMZ, rice husk ash tundish covering powder, based on
SiO2, was replaced by TERMEX B powder (Table II) to
decrease wear of the working lining. This powder favourably influences the slag chemical composition (see Table II),
thereby decreasing the corrosive effect on the working lining. Chemical and mineralogical investigations were performed on a postmortem sample of ANKERTUN 217
gunned lining taken from a region above and near the slag
line (Figure 3) to examine potential corrosion mechanisms
occurring with this tundish slag. The lining had been used
to cast 19 sequences [2].

below the slag line, a decrease in the MgO content was


detected as well as elevated levels of CaO, Al2O3, and to a
lesser extent SiO2. These results indicate slag infiltration
into the lining and corrosion of the magnesia component.
However, since the tundish powder had negligible levels
of CaO and no Al2O3, it can be concluded that these compounds originated from ladle slag carried over into the
tundish. A slight decrease in the MgO level was also
detected in area CA2, situated above the slag line, along

Investigation Methods
Several areas of the postmortem sample were investigated
by chemical and mineralogical test methods [2]. Chemical
analyses were performed on areas CA1 and CA2 using
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) after dissolution of the sample in
Li2B4O7.

CA2
1
2

CA1

The mineralogical investigations were carried out on polished sections, prepared from areas 1 and 2, using an optical light microscope and scanning electron microscopy
(SEM), combined with an energy dispersive X-ray (EDX)
analyser to provide chemical microanalyses.

Chemical Analyses
The chemical analyses carried out on areas CA1 and CA2
(see Figure 3) are detailed in Table III. In region CA1, just

Figure 3. Postmortem sample of the ANKERTUN 217 working lining after 19 casting sequences [2]. The hot face is uppermost
and the slag line position is at area 1.

General information
Brand/raw materials
Sampling position
Determination
by XRF

ANKERTUN 217
Olivine, dead burned magnesia
CA1
(below slag line)

CA2
(above slag line)

Typical values

(wt.%)

(wt.%)

(wt.%)

0.12

0.24

Na2O

Figure 2. Measuring the tundish working lining profile at AMZ to


assess damage due to the thermochemical and mechanical
action of liquid steel and slag.

TERMEX B
Tundish slag

SiO2

CaO

MgO

31.036.0

0.6

45.049.0

29.6

42.6

21.48

MnO

MgO

51.0

66.9

78.8

Al2O3

7.25

1.81

0.5

SiO2

24.1

20.1

16.0

P2O5

0.05

0.04

SO3

0.29

0.19

CaO

14.1

7.13

TiO2

0.21

0.06

Cr2O3

0.13

0.15

MnO

0.25

0.06

Fe2O3

2.37

3.06

NiO

0.06

0.09

2.2

2.5

Table III. Chemical analyses of the ANKERTUN 217 working lining below and above the slag line. The X-ray fluorescence analysis was performed on an ignited sample (1050 C).

FeO

Al2O3

P2O5

Fe

1.5
1.65

1.44

3.02

Fe2O3
7.08.0

0.087

0.098

1.12

Table II. Chemical composition (wt.%) of the TERMEX B tundish cover powder [1] and tundish slag.

> 59

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


with enrichment of CaO. Therefore, a degree of slag infiltration had also occurred in this region causing magnesia corrosion. These results were confirmed by SEM.

Mineralogical Investigation
Polished sections from areas 1 and 2 (see Figure 3) were
examined by light microscopy (Figures 4 and 7). SEM-EDX
analyses were performed on areas A and B (Figures 5 and 6)
at the slag line, and area C (Figure 8) above the slag line.
At the slag line, infiltration by CaO-rich slag was evident,
resulting in corrosion of MgO grains (see Figure 5). The formation of magnesium aluminate (MA) spinel (MgAl2O4) was
also detected. The dominant phase was the lower melting
point monticellite (CaMgSiO4), following reaction of the forsterite (Mg2SiO4) with infiltrating slag components; relics of forsterite were clearly visible. At discrete positions the appearance of fluoride-containing calcium silicate was detected
(Table IV). In the phase system periclase-forsterite-monticellite-MA spinel, the melting point of the quaternary eutectic
mixture is 1425 C. However, in the presence of fluoride, the
first melting phases can occur at even lower temperatures.
Rounded pores were evident, due to the high chemothermal
load, which would negatively impact on the matrix stability.
In area B (Figure 6), densification of the matrix due to slag
infiltration was clearly visible, in addition to the dominating
monticellite phase (Table V).
By comparison, the ANKERTUN 217 above the slag line
showed a more uniform structure, with a lower level of slag
infiltration (Figure 7). Whilst the start of olivine and MgO
corrosion was visible (Figure 8), the amount of monticellite
formation was lower and no fluorine-containing compounds
were detected (Table VI).

5
6

11

Figure 5. Scanning electron micrograph showing the microstructural detail of area A (see Figure 4). Several rounded pores are
visible, caused by chemothermal load due to infiltration by CaOrich slag. Monticellite (1) is the dominating phase in this area.
The relic of a magnesia grain (2), fluoride-containing calcium silicate (3), a forsterite relic (4), and MA spinel (5) are indicated.

6
3

5
4

Figure 6. Scanning electron micrograph showing the microstructural detail of area B (see Figure 4). A high level of matrix densification is evident, caused by infiltration of the CaO-rich slag.
Monticellite (2) is the dominating phase in this area. Forsterite
(3), single periclase (MgO) crystals after corrosion (4), fluoridecontaining calcium silicate (5), MA spinel (6), and the relic of an
olivine grain (7) are indicated.

Figure 4. Reflected light image of area 1 (see Figure 3) situated


at the slag line.

60 <

Figure 7. Reflected light image of area 2 (see Figure 3) situated above


the slag line. In this region CaO-rich slag infiltration was lower.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Increasing the Casting Sequence Duration


Results of the chemical and mineralogical investigations
indicated:
>> Slag infiltration into the working lining.
>> Olivine and MgO grain corrosion.
>> Formation of low melting point phases (i.e., monticellite).
>> Weakening of the structural integrity due to pore formation
following chemical reactions between the mix and slag.

1
2

Therefore, the following process modifications were performed or suggested to increase the lining durability.

ANKOFORM Protection Plate


At AMZ, the highest tundish working lining wear is in a
zone experiencing heavy erosion from the incoming steel
stream. In particular, the distance between streaming melt
and tundish wall is very small, resulting in high turbulence
and increased wear of the front wall working lining, compared with other zones. To alleviate this problem, a tundish

Spot or area

MgO

28.8

93.3

SiO2

CaO

40.1

29.4

TiO2

MnO

Fe2O3

2.0

4.7

32.7

51.6

0.7

50.8

42.7

3.7

2.1

0.7

28.1

68.7

1.0

0.7

17.5

23.5

36.7

18.1

1.3

1.2

27

4.3

35.4

28.2

1.9

0.9

2.2

Cr2O3

1.7

4.3

Area A

10.7

Al2O3

Figure 8. Scanning electron micrograph showing the microstructural detail of a region in area C (see Figure 7). The start of magnesia (2) and olivine (3 and 5) corrosion is evident. The formation of monticellite (1) is indicated.

1.6

1.4

Table IV. SEM-EDX microanalyses (wt.%) of the area and spots in Figure 5. The fluorine results are semiquantitative and the total iron
was calculated as Fe2O3.

Spot or area
Area B

MgO

Al2O3

SiO2

CaO

2.5

42.7

3.2

30.6

TiO2

MnO

Fe2O3

17.6

1.8

1.6

26.8

39.8

30.9

1.8

0.7

51.6

42.4

3.7

1.5

0.9

93.8

1.7

4.5

1.3

1.5

1.5

1.1

5.0

13.8

28.0

49.6

35.4

45.8

68.5

0.8
40.5

7.3

Table V. SEM-EDX microanalyses (wt.%) of the area and spots in Figure 6. The fluorine results are semiquantitative and the total iron
was calculated as Fe2O3.

Spot or area

MgO

Al2O3

SiO2

CaO

TiO2

MnO

Fe2O3

28.2

40.1

31.7

93.6

0.9

0.6

4.9

53.4

43.0

3.0

0.6

23.7

5.5

2.9

53.9

43.1

1.8

1.2

Area

53.7

30.6

12.9

2.9

23.6

0.8

0.4

42.5

Cr2O3

0.6

Table VI. SEM-EDX microanalyses (wt.%) of the area and spots in Figure 8. The fluorine results are semiquantitative and the total iron
was calculated as Fe2O3.

> 61

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


protection plate, comprising two ANKOFORM S90 0-6
impact plates, was installed in the tundish front wall (Figure
9). During the trial with this protection plate, the sequence
casting time was increased by 1 hour. In addition, the protection plate has prevented damage to the front wall of the
tundish, which directly increases safety of the casting operation and improves the degree of steel cleanliness.
Alternative Gunning Mix Composition
Since olivine ((Mg,Fe)2SiO4) in the ANKERTUN 217 can form
monicellite if the infiltrating slag has a high CaO content, a
recommendation was to use an alternative gunning mix
comprising a higher sintered magnesia content. Whilst the
postmortem study showed slag infiltration resulted in

corrosion of magnesia grains, the additional formation of


monticellite further weakens the matrix structure, making it
more prone to thermomechanical damage.
Slag Detection System
The TERMEX B cover powder, primarily containing SiO2 and
MgO, favourably influences the tundish slag composition,
making it less corrosive to the tundish working lining. However, chemical analysis revealed high levels of CaO in the
tundish slag, which originated from ladle slag carryover. As
a result of CaO-rich slag infiltration into the ANKERTUN 217,
monticellite formed, decreasing the working lining durability. Therefore, an additional recommendation to increase
the casting duration was the installation of an electromagnetic slag detection device at the ladle [3]. By controlling
the ladle-to-tundish slag transfer, not only the lifetime of the
tundish working lining can be extended but also the clean
steel yield would be maximized.

Summary

A postmortem evaluation of the ANKERTUN 217 slurry gunning mix was performed to examine potential processes
affecting the tundish working lining durability. The results
of both chemical and mineralogical analyses indicated that
the casting sequence and steel cleanliness at AMZ can be
improved by:
>> Changing the tundish cover powder composition to
minimize the slag corrosivity.
>> Installing an ANKOFORM S90 0-6 protection plate to
reduce erosion of the tundish front wall.
>> Using an alternative wet slurry gunning mix with no
forsteritic component.
>> Installing an electromagnetic slag detection device at
the ladle.

Figure 9. Installation of an ANKOFORM S90 0-6 protection plate (1)


on the tundish front wall to minimize erosive damage caused by
the incoming steel stream.

Adopting the listed measures should lead to future productivity and quality improvements.

References
[1] TERMEX B data sheet. EXOTERM-IT d.o.o., Kranj, Slovenia. http://www.exoterm-it.si/prospekti/eng/TERMEX_B.pdf
[2] Eder, J. Postmortem Investigation of an ANKERTUN 217 Sample, Out of a Tundish at Arcelor Mittal Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, October 2011.
Internal Report. RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
[3] http://www.amepa.de/

Acknowledgement
The authors would like to express their appreciation to Termomatik-Toplotehnika Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) for their technical assistance.

Authors
Aida Mahmutovi, Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Science, University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Johann Eder, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Maid Henjakovi, Termomatik-Toplotehnika d.o.o., Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Izet Kari, amoter d.o.o., Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Omer Kablar, ArcelorMittal Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Corresponding author: Aida Mahmutovi, aida.mahmutovic@famm.unze.ba

62 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 6366

Flavio Campagnoli, Daniel Merigo, Veniero Mori, Massimiliano Di Cosmo and Angelo Zingre

The New INTERSTOP Metering Nozzle Changer


Type MNC-RSPHot Operation at Ferriera
Valsabbia
Introduction

Concept

For open stream casting, metering nozzle changer systems


are an effective tool to increase the billet caster production.
The existing INTERSTOP Metering Nozzle Changer Type
MNC demonstrates this in more than 80 steel plants worldwide. Customers realize sequence lengths of more than 80
hours by performing 35 nozzle changes. Features like temporary strand closing, restart, and strand closing in emergency cases have been common practice for more than 15
years. Furthermore, it increases the safety levels for operators as well as the equipment.

The Retractable elevated Safety Plate in the new MNC-RSP


integrates the blind plate, used in every nozzle changer, into
the system. As a result of this unique concept, no more
blind plate handling is required and strands can be closed
at any time. In addition, a parallel drive arrangement and
improved heat shield enable a nozzle change in only one
step (with no requirement to remove the cylinder, heat
shield, or blind plate). The new nozzle is simply inserted
into the mechanism and a button on the operation pendant
is pushed to initiate the nozzle change. Thereby, the RSP is
automatically moved into the elevated position and back
after the nozzle change (Figures 2 and 3).

Based on the increasing demands for both operator and


process safety, INTERSTOP and RHI developed the new
Metering Nozzle Changer Type MNC-RSP (Figure 1), with an
integrated Retractable elevated Safety Plate (RSP), to outperform the current technology standard of nozzle changer
systems. At Ferriera Valsabbia (Italy) the first operational
experience was gained to release the system. The corresponding results are presented in this article.

INTERSTOP MNC-RSPThe New Generation


The main innovative features of the new design are:
>>
>>
>>
>>

Total safety concept.


Parallel drive arrangement.
Mechanical fixation of the well block.
Optimized and customized refractories for different
sequence lengths.

Well block fixation

Figure 2. Section view of the Metering Nozzle Changer Type


MNC-RSP with the integrated Retractable elevated Safety Plate.

Retractable safety plate


(RSP)

Carrier

Parallel drive

Hydraulic cylinder

Figure 1. MNC-RSP mechanical system.

> 63

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

Figure 3. (a) casting position, (b) new nozzle inserted prior to change, (c) nozzle change, and (d) temporary strand closing/end of cast.

Innovative Features and Refractories


The MNC-RSP system sets new steel plant standards concerning a total safety concept and minimized operator tasks
at the mould.
Total Safety Concept
>> Safety plate is part of the mechanics.
>> Safety plate is always in position to be fired-in.
>> Safety plate is retractable for a quick restart.
>> Complete avoidance of any manual blind plate handling.
>> Simple removal of used nozzle with a special device.
>> Increased safety due to minimal operator exposure time
at the mould.
>> No heat shield removal necessary.
>> Well block fixation using wedges.
Parallel Drive Arrangement
>> Cylinder remains connected; no cylinder handling
required for nozzle change.
>> Clear view to the nozzle and mould (Figure 4).
>> Good access for nozzle tip cleaning.
>> Reduced heat impact on the hydraulic cylinder as the
cylinder is displaced in relation to direct heat radiation
from the mould.

even the longest sequences. The newly developed RHI


brand concept (Table I) provides more flexibility in terms of
targeting sequence length through the selection of tailored
refractory materials for the components.

Successful Operation of the MNC-RSP at


Ferriera Valsabbia
The Ferriera Valsabbia steel plant (Table II) started operating
the MNC in 2000 and successfully implemented the various
MNC features to increase safety standards and yield. The
new MNC-RSP features, principally total safety, parallel drive
arrangement, mechanical well block fixation, and mounting
onto the same base plate as the MNC were the main reasons Ferriera Valsabbia decided to test the new system.
Operation Description and Outlook
The MNC-RSP was mounted to strand no. 5 on the tundish
using the same base plate and mounting car as for the
existing MNC (Figures 7 and 8). A joint team made the necessary electrical and hydraulic adjustments in order to test
all the new RSP functions.
Component

Grade

Remark

Well Block

JUSTAL DS1028

Standard

JUSTAL DS6028

Long sequence casting

JUSTAL DS7028

Extended long sequence casting

JUSTAL DS1015

Standard

JUSTAL DS6015

Long sequence casting

Mechanical Well Block Fixation


During preparation, the well block is fixed to the MNC-RSP
system by two wedges. After mounting the complete system to the tundish, the position and fixation is ensured during the entire sequence length (Figure 5).
Optimized and Customized Refractories for Different
Sequence Lengths
The MNC-RSP features improved tension force distribution
due to four tilting levers that press the exchangeable nozzle
against the well block (Figure 6). This actively prevents a
buildup of steel fins during the nozzle change. Furthermore,
the exchangeable nozzle length is optimized to ensure perfectly controlled steel flow.
During the development phase, special attention was paid
to the well block design. This enables safe casting during
64 <

Exchangeable Nozzle
Gasket

Best protection for mechanism

Table I. Newly developed RHI brand concept: Examples of optimized


and customized refractory brands for different sequence lengths.

Annual production

500000 tonnes

Continuous casting machine

2 x 5 strand Danieli

Number of ladles and size

8 x 90 tonnes

Ladle gate type

INTERSTOP CS 60-R

Number of tundish and size

9 x 20 tonnes

Nozzle changer system

MNC

Table II. Ferriera Valsabbia steel plant data.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

(a)

Well block

Gasket

Exchangeable nozzle

Figure 6. Section view of the refractories.

(b)

Figure 4. (a) parallel drive arrangement and (b) clear view to the
nozzle.

(a)
Figure 7. MNC-RSP mounted on the tundish using the preexisting mounting car.

(b)

Figure 5. (a) mechanical well block fixation and (b) MNC-RSP on


the tundish car with fixed well block.

Figure 8. Two MNC-RSPs mounted on the tundish.

> 65

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


After mounting, drying, and preheating, the tundish was
lifted directly onto the continuous casting machine (Figure
9). Finally, the MNC-RSP was casting a sequence length of
16 hours (Figure 10). Generally at Ferriere Valsiabbia, a nozzle has an operating time of more than 15 hours (Figure 11).
However, to check appropriate functioning of the new
mechanism, two nozzle changes were performed. At the
end of casting, the RSP function was tested by firing in the
RSP to close the strand. In addition, the option to retract the
RSP with the cylinder for a strand restart was successfully
examined. The same function can also be performed for
temporary or emergency closure (Figure 12).
The initial tests at Ferriera Valsabbia were continued for a further six sequences. The total operating time under hot conditions equated to more than 100 hours. The first operational
results satisfied the expectations of all involved parties and
verified all new functions of the MNC-RSP. Therefore, Ferriera
Valsabbia decided to equip all five strands of one tundish
with the MNC-RSP and extend operation to a larger scale.

Conclusion
The new INTERSTOP MNC-RSP, with its innovative features,
successfully passed the initial hot operation at Ferriera
Valsabbia. As a result the customer decided to operate the
MNC-RSP on a larger scale. The MNC-RSP system has been
running on a fully equipped tundish since March 2013.

(a)

(b)

(c)
Figure 9. Tundish at the continuous casting machine.

Figure 11. MNC-RSP nozzles after operation.

Figure 10. MNC-RSP in casting position.

Figure 12. MNC-RSP in closed position.

Authors
Flavio Campagnoli, Ferriera Valsabbia SpA, Odolo, Italy.
Daniel Merigo, Ferriera Valsabbia, SpA, Odolo, Italy.
Veniero Mori, RHI Italiana, Steel Division, Brescia, Italy.
Massimiliano Di Cosmo, Stopinc AG, Hnenberg, Switzerland.
Angelo Zingre, Stopinc AG, Hnenberg, Switzerland.
Corresponding author: Angelo Zingre, angelo.zingre@rhi-ag.com

66 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <, pp. 6773

Christian Manhart, Martin Schickert and Gerhard Urbanek

Ultrasonic Imaging of Refractories Using


Different Coupling Techniques
For many years ultrasound has been used to determine various refractory material properties,
including the Youngs modulus. Ultrasonic techniques can also be applied to investigate and
image anomalies within nonhomogeneous materials, providing important quality-related data
regarding imperfections, such as cracks, in refractory products. At the Technology Center
Leoben, RHI has been assessing the capabilities of this nondestructive testing method, initially focusing on contact-based ultrasound techniques. Recently, this analysis was extended
at the Institute of Materials Research and Testing (MFPA) in Weimar (Germany) to examine
coupling options and test configurations in relation to different product-specific requirements.
In this paper the results of multiple investigations are presented, and in certain cases compared, for B- and C-scan measurements that were obtained using dry contact coupling as
well as air and water noncontact coupling methods, for both transmission and pulse-echo
ultrasound techniques.
Introduction

Low Frequency

Ultrasound is a well-established nondestructive testing


technology that can be used to determine material properties as well as detect flaws in three-dimensional products.
RHI is committed to developing and tailoring appropriate
ultrasonic testing methods to examine refractories because
it has the capability for automated quality control, providing
both time and cost-saving benefits. With appropriate test
equipment design, internal defects (e.g., cracks and inhomogeneities) within manufactured pieces can be visualized
during both product development and production [1].
Whilst ultrasound provides safety, mobility, and cost advantages over X-ray, the technology requires optimization to
generate a high-resolution testing method.

Typically, refractories are heterogeneous, comprising various raw materials with a range of grain sizes (i.e., macro to
microscopic). The materials are highly attenuative, excessively scattering frequencies above 300 kHz. Therefore, very
low frequency ultrasound is required (i.e., 50200 kHz) to
test refractories.

Ultrasound Testing Technologies


Ultrasonic testing uses the principals of sound propagation
to detect, locate, and evaluate defects in a range of materials [2]. A piezoelectric material in the transducer converts
electrical energy into sound waves that subsequently pass
through the test sample in short bursts. The transmission
and attenuation properties of the detected signal provide
information about the test material.

Testing Methods
The main testing method used for refractories is direct
transmission. The ultrasonic pulse signal is emitted from a
transducer on one side of the sample and a second transducer, positioned on the opposite side, detects the transmitted signal. The transmission time (t), calculated by the ultrasonic device, provides information about the material properties and any abnormalities in the signal path (Figures 1
and 2). A limitation of this technique is that if the path
length is long but the defect is very short it can be difficult
to detect the flaw because there is insufficient difference
between the original (t) and altered (t1) transit times. The
ultrasonic signal amplitude determined at the receiver indicates energy consumption of the ultrasonic pulse after it
has travelled along the path through the refractory material.

Transmission

Pulse echo

Pulse time

Pulse-echo time

Ultrasonic velocity
Elastic material properties

Ultrasonic velocity
Elastic material properties

2 transducers

(a)

1 transducer as
sender/receiver
(b)

Figure 1. Comparison of the (a) transmission and (b) pulse-echo ultrasound equipment setup.

> 67

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


An alternative testing method, termed pulse echo, relies on
the ultrasonic pulse signal being reflected at the surface
opposite the transducer. It is a more sensitive method of
crack detection because the ultrasonic pulse signal is influenced twice by the flaw, thereby increasing the detectable
difference between the original and altered transit times.
However, it requires a higher signal energy, which is difficult to generate with current state of the art transducer
materials.
Material Properties
The standard material property that can be measured using
both transmission and pulse echo is the transit time, t (s).
Using this parameter the velocity, v, can be calculated using
the path length, L:

t
v=
L

(m/s)

(1)

The elastic material properties that can be determined using


the ultrasonic equipment in Figure 1 include the Youngs
modulus (E), shear modulus (G), and Poissons ratio (). To
measure the various elastic moduli, different transducer
types are required. For example, determination of the
Youngs modulus requires a longitudinal wave (pressure

Path length (d)

Receiver

Transmitter

wave) transducer, whilst a shear wave transducer is necessary for the shear modulus. The Poissons ratio is calculated
using:

= E 1
2G

(2)

Whilst the Youngs modulus can be determined using [3]:

E = v2l . r .

(1+ )(1 2)
(3)
(1 )

Where r is the sample density and vl is the longitudinal


propagation velocity.
Coupling
The principal coupling types include:
>> Dry contact coupling where the transducer is in direct
contact with the sample.
>> Noncontact coupling where there is a medium (e.g., air
or water) between the transducer and sample surface.
The type of coupling influences the signal energy loss.
Whilst air results in the highest loss of signal strength, it
provides the greatest opportunity for automation. In contrast, water minimizes energy loss; however, since certain
refractories are susceptible to hydration water is not always
an appropriate coupling medium. The different coupling
techniques require specific transducers and signal frequencies, therefore they are not readily interchangeable. For
example, dry coupling cannot be used with higher frequencies, decreasing the resolution options when the transducer
is in direct contact with the sample.
Scanning Methods

Transit time (t)

(a)

Input signal

Received signal

Ultrasonic data can be detected and displayed using a number of different methods (Figure 3) [4]. The most commonly
used are:
>> A-scan: One position.
>> B-scan: Consecutive positions along a line.
>> C-scan: Multiple positions covering an entire planar
surface.

Path length (d)

Transmitter

Receiver

(a)

(b)

Transit time (t1)

(b)

Input signal

Received signal

Figure 2. Transmission technique. (a) ultrasonic signal transit


time (t) through a refractory material with no flaw and (b)
ultrasonic signal transit time (t1) through a refractory material
containing a crack.

68 <

(c)
Figure 3. Ultrasonic detection and display methods. (a) A-scan,
(b) B-scan, and (c) C-scan. Arrows indicate the position of signal
transmission. The receiver is positioned at an appropriate position either on the opposite surface for transmission or on the
same surface for pulse echo.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Ultrasound Testing at RHI


Hhen:
H1 H2
67 84

In the last years, ultrasonic testing techniques have been used


at RHIs Technology Center Leoben (Austria) to examine refractory bricks. The results not only provide information regarding
specific sample inhomogeneities, but are an integral part of
the long-term project to develop and automate this nondestructive testing capability for the production environment.
The following example is a comprehensive ultrasonic evalua- position
tion of a magnesia chromite brick, including comparison of theHhe
results with optical inspection of the cut sample.

dH[mm]
17

0,04

L [mm 385

365
24,3

0 anfang 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 16 auf ende


0 10 34,3 58,7 83,0 107,3 131,7 156,0 180,3 204,7 229,0 253,3 277,7 302,0 326,3 350,7 375,0 385,0 [mm]
67 67,4 68,5 69,6 70,7 71,7 72,8 73,9 75,0 76,0 77,1 78,2 79,3 80,3 81,4 82,5 83,6 84,0

Publikation:
The magnesia chromite brick was examined using C-scan
Figure 4. Magnesia chromite brick sample showing grid mea
transmission ultrasound with dry contact coupling. The
surement positions.
results presented are measurements taken using a 6 x 16
point grid positioned on the largest brick face, namely in the
pressing direction (Figure 4). The ultrasonic velocity measureLength
Length 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 1010 1111 1212 1313 1414 1515 1616
ments for the 96 positions are presented two-dimensionally in
Figure 5, with colour coding indicating lower (red) to higher
Row
Row1 1 2687 2780 2778 2750 2813 2748 2672 2787 2711 2769 2807 2872 2789 2812 2661 2583
(green) velocities. The lower velocities are indicative of cracks
Row 2 2 2676 2692 2641 2617 2723 2697 2620 2771 2687 2730 2802 2776 2824 2732 2648 2563
or inhomogeneities. The data is visualized as a map in Figure
Row 3 3 2634 2661 2729 2723 2585 2712 2742 2802 2843 2739 2705 2682 2761 2732 2648 2422
6. An ~ 400 m/s decrease in the ultrasonic velocity along the
region in row 6 was clearly evident. This region was further
Row 4 4 2579 2552 2592 2667 2623 2672 2697 2771 2720 2856 2763 2612 2723 2665 2623 2458
investigated by cutting the brick along the white line indicated
Row 5 5 2619 2671 2697 2713 2618 2692 2653 2663 2750 2696 2580 2607 2669 2626 2614 2483
in Figure 6. Optical inspection confirmed a conspicuous
region (Figure 7) in the area where lower velocities had been
Row 6 6 2342 2447 2455 2501 2453 2477 2505 2343 2410 2337 2330 2431 2427 2548 2558 2465
recorded. In this region the fine grain content was reduced
compared to the neighbouring brick structure.

In this and more extended analyses, good accordance was


found between inhomogeneities detected using destructive
methods and ultrasonic test results obtained using dry contact coupling.

Alternative Ultrasonic Test Configurations


and Coupling Techniques
The Institute of Materials Research and Testing (MFPA) in Weimar (Germany) is focused on research and development
aimed at economically and ecologically improving the use of
materials and creating new test methods. An ultrasonic testing
project was performed at MFPA Weimar with the aim of further evaluating the capabilities of this technology for examining refractory materials. A range of refractory shapes was
selected to investigate alternative coupling techniques and test
configurations. The refractory samples had predefined flaws
and comprised various raw material compositions.

Testing Equipment

Figure
Figure5.
6: Ultrasonic velocity measurements (m/s) recorded in the
pressing direction. The colour coding indicates lower (red) to
higher velocities (green).

Length 1
Row 1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16
Width Pos.1

Row 2

Pos. 2

Row 3

Pos. 3

Row 4

Pos. 4

Row 5

Pos. 5

Row 6

Pos. 6
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Figure 6. Ultrasonic velocity map of the results in Figure 5 where


lower velocities are indicated in red and higher velocities in
green. An ~ 400 m/s decrease in the velocities was detected in
the area delineated by a dashed black rectangle (row 6). The
brick was cut along the white line to visually inspect the internal
material features.

USPC 3041 ultrasonic test equipment [5] was used to record


and analyse the ultrasonic measurement signals. The ultrasonic test equipment enabled a variety of transducers to be
used. In the following investigations only one ultrasonic
device was employed. The ultrasonic signal data was transferred to a computer and analysed using the REKONS software from MFPA Weimar.

Testing Procedures
The following ultrasonic testing procedures were examined,
and in certain cases compared:
>> C-scan dry contact coupling using the transmission
technique.
>> C-scan noncontact air coupling using the transmission
technique.

Figure 7. Magnesia chromite brick cut at position 12 indicated in


Figure 6. Inside the white dashed line a conspicuous area was
observed where the fine grain content was decreased. This region
correlated with the lower ultrasonic velocity measurements.

> 69

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


>> B-scan noncontact air coupling using the transmission
technique.
>> B-scan noncontact air coupling using the pulse-echo
technique.
>> C-scan in 3D with noncontact water coupling using the
pulse-echo technique.
>> C-scan noncontact water coupling using the pulse-echo
technique.
C-Scan: Transmission Technique Using
Dry Contact Coupling
Investigations of two magnesia-carbon bricks were performed in a similar manner to that described, using dry
contact coupling and the transmission technique. 100-kHz
longitudinal wave transducers were employed to obtain
multiple measurements. A C-scan of the transit times en
abled the material property distribution in the samples to
be determined and possible cracks to be located following
two-dimensional imaging. Figure 8 depicts the results for
the largest brick surfaces. The brick in Figure 8a demonstrated nearly homogeneous material properties, whilst in
Figure 8b the increased ultrasonic transit times revealed
inhomogeneities in the material.

were employed. In these investigations the amplitude of a


significant part of the ultrasonic signal was measured. In
Figure 9 the brightness of each measurement point correlates with the ultrasonic signal amplitude (i.e., brighter
areas indicate higher signal amplitudes). The test equipment supporting plates caused the shadowing in the four
corners. The image showed dark areas in the inner part of
the brick and near the lower left corner where the
received signals appeared weakened or delayed by inhomogeneities. The result was similar to that determined in
Figure 8b, although the measurement technique was different.
B-Scan: Transmission Technique Using
Noncontact Air Coupling
For B-scans (i.e., consecutive measurements along a line)
in transmission, the test setup shown in Figure 10 was
used. The brick was manually moved between two air-coupled, 100-kHz pressure wave transducers. Bricks with a
geometry typically used in a cement rotary kiln were investigated, where the bricks have a characteristic notch in the
hot face. Figure 11 shows the results obtained for two
bricks. Material inhomogeneities or cracks changed the
measured ultrasonic transit times and signal amplitudes.

C-Scan: Transmission Technique Using


Noncontact Air Coupling
280
260
240

y [mm]

For comparison, measurements with air coupling were


carried out on the brick shown in Figure 8b. A C-scan was
performed using the transmission technique with an ultrasound scanner on a 2 mm 2 mm grid. Air-coupled pressure wave transducers with a nominal frequency of 100 kHz

220
200

t [s]

180

(a)

80
100
120
140
180

100
80
60
y [mm]
40
20

160
100

200

250

300

x [mm]

50

100

150

200

Figure 9. C-scan of signal amplitude measurements obtained


using air coupling with the transmission technique to examine
the magnesia-carbon brick in Figure 8b. Brighter areas indicate
higher signal amplitudes.

x [mm]

60

t [s]

150

100
140
180

(b)

100
80
60
y [mm]
40
20

50

100

150

200

x [mm]

Figure 8. C-scans of magnesia-carbon bricks. The ultrasonic


measurements were obtained using dry coupling and the transmission technique. The transit time images of two different
bricks show (a) uniform structure and (b) inhomogeneities in the
material.

70 <

Figure 10. Test setup for B-scan measurements (consecutive


measurements along a line) with air-coupled ultrasound using
the transmission technique.

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


B-Scan: Pulse-Echo Technique Using
Noncontact Air Coupling
To detect cracks with a transverse orientation close to the
surface, ultrasonic waves were conducted directly underneath the material surface. This was achieved using an aircoupled pulse-echo technique. The transducers were
arranged at an angle, a (Figure 12). An optimum value for
a was determined experimentally and used in the subsequent investigations. The brick was manually slid along the
track depicted in Figure 12. The same bricks shown in
Figure 11 were investigated.

shown in Figure 14 was submerged in a water-filled container. A 2-MHz pressure wave (longitudinal wave) transducer was used that provided high structural resolution.
The sample was rotated about its axis and the transducer/
receiver remained stationary.

The results (Figure 13) were similar to those obtained with


the transmission technique (see Figure 11). However, the
setup produced surface waves that increased the sensitivity
to cracks near the surface, in a perpendicular orientation to
the signal path. The transit time was a sensitive indicator of
cracks and material inhomogeneities (see Figure 13b).

C-Scan: 3D Pulse-Echo Technique Using


Noncontact Water Coupling
Noncontact water coupling with the pulse-echo ultrasonic
technique was used to investigate the nose of an isostatically pressed stopper. The sample and test equipment

Figure 12. Test setup for B-scan measurement with air-coupled


ultrasound using the pulse-echo technique.

300

600
650

350

700
750

t [s]

t [s]

400
450

800
850

500

900
550
600
-150

950
-100

-50

50

100

x [mm]

(a)

1000
-150

150

-100

-50

50

100

150

50

100

150

x [mm]

(a)

300

600
650

350

700
750

t [s]

t [s]

400
450

800
850

500

900
550
600
-150
(b)

950
-100

-50

50

100

1000
-150

150

x [mm]

Figure 11. B-scans of two cement rotary kiln bricks. The measurements were obtained using air-coupled ultrasound with the transmission technique. The y axis represents the transit time (t) and the
x axis shows the lateral position of the measurement points along
the brick. The grey scale indicates the ultrasonic signal amplitude.
Red circles mark positions in the bricks containing inhomogeneities.

(b)

-100

-50

x [mm]

Figure 13. B-scans of two cement rotary kiln bricks. The measurements were obtained using air-coupled ultrasound with the pulseecho technique. The transit time measurements start where the
black/white contrast regions (i.e., amplitude) are depicted in the
images. The red circles (b) mark positions in the brick containing
inhomogeneities.

> 71

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <


The ultrasonic signals were analysed using the REKONS
software at MFPA Weimar to generate 3D results providing information regarding the position of inhomogeneities
in the stopper material. In Figure 15, the C-scan 3D data is
presented as a flat projection of the cylindrical specimen.
The red coloured area approximately 100 mm along the
z axis is the interface between the isostatically pressed
material and the argon purging channel running through
the interior region of the stopper. The yellow zones in the
figure are accumulations of reflective structures.

and line-shaped structures were detected. However, upon


further investigation, these structures did not correlate
with cracks when the slide gate plate was cut and optically
examined (Figure 17).

350
300

C-Scan: Pulse-Echo Technique Using


Noncontact Water Coupling

250

y [mm]

A carbon-bonded slide gate plate with a thickness of


approximately 45 mm was investigated using noncontact
water coupling. The C-scan was performed using an automated ultrasonic pulse-echo transducer positioning equipment with a grid step size of 2 mm in both the x and y
directions. The equipment was developed by MFPA Weimar. The 2-MHz pulse-echo longitudinal wave transducer
used in the previous analysis was employed. Results of
the pulse-echo measurements are shown in Figure 16.
The image of the slide gate plate provided information
about the coarse grain distribution. In addition, point-like

200
150
100
50
0

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

x [mm]
Figure 16. Cross section image of a slide gate plate. Point-like
and line-shaped structures are visible.

Figure 14. Test equipment for C-scan measurement with water


coupling using the pulse-echo technique. The entire test setup
was submerged in a water-filled container.

Figure 17. Cut section through the slide gate plate in a region
where a line-shaped structure was detected using ultrasound. On
close examination the structure was not a crack.

z [mm]

80
90
100
100

y [m

m]

80

50

100

150

200

250

3000

350

x [mm]

Figure 15. C-scan depicting the 3D data as a flat projection of the cylindrical stopper nose. The arrows mark positions where accumulations of inhomogeneities were detected.

72 <

RHI Bulletin > 1 > 2013 <

Future Perspectives
The comprehensive analyses of multiple ultrasound testing
setups and coupling techniques indicated the following:
>> Dry contact coupling provides the possibility for very
fast C-scan analysis of refractory shapes. This advantageous property will be developed in further collaborations with MFPA Weimar.
>> Whilst air coupling generates useful results, automation
of this technique is more difficult because the distance
between the sample and transducer requires optimization.
>> Water coupling produces the highest resolution and the
option for 3D imaging, therefore this technique will also
be explored in future studies.
In conclusion, ultrasonic testing of refractories provides
information about both the material properties and material
structure in one step. It is therefore an invaluable tool for
refractory development as well as quality assurance in the
production plant and will continue to be a focus of nondestructive testing at RHI.

References
[1] Samokrutov, A.A., Shevaldykin, V.G., Bishko, A.V., Pluzhnikov, A.I. and Lobachev, A.S. Testing Technology of Fire-Resistant Objects Using
Ultrasonic Low-Frequency Antenna Arrays. Presented at 9th European Conference on NDT (ECNDT), Berlin, Germany, 2529 Sept., 2006. Berlin:
Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Zerstrungsfreie Prfung (DGZfP), CD-ROM, 2006, 15.
[2] http://www.ndtint.com/Basic%20UT%20Principles.PDF
[3] Royer, D. and Dieulesaint, E. Elastic Waves in Solids I; Springer: New York, 2000.
[4] http://www.ndt-ed.org/EducationResources/CommunityCollege/Ultrasonics/EquipmentTrans/DataPres.htm
[5] http://www.dr-hillger.de/PDF/Flexus_e.pdf

Authors
Christian Manhart, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Martin Schickert, Institute of Materials Research and Testing (MFPA Weimar), Bauhaus Universitt Weimar, Germany.
Gerhard Urbanek, RHI AG, Technology Center, Leoben, Austria.
Corresponding author: Christian Manhart, christian.manhart@rhi-ag.com

> 73

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YEARS
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RHI Bulletin >1> 2013