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Can Oxygen Enrichment Boost Cupola F…

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Can Oxygen Enrichment Boost Cupola Furnace Production?
Modern Casting, August, 2001 by Seymour Katz
Oxygen enrichment has the potential to enhance cupola output and lower melting costs, but other developments in cupolas through the years also can stake a claim to increased productivity. Oxygen (O) enrichment is a versatile tool that provides important benefits for cupola operation. The benefits, reported for a wide range of foundries, are listed in Table 1 and have been recognized for more than 70 years. Not until the mid-1960s, however, was the cost of O low enough to make its use cost effective. For the most part, foundries have pursued O benefits because of economic factors. The two major factors for O use are the replacement of costly charge materials with less expensive ones and the ability of low capital means to increase cupola output. Thus far, environmental factors, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions via reduced coke consumption, have not figured as strong incentives for foundries to further increase the use of O. This situation might change in the future. How Oxygen Enriches All the benefits from O enrichment derive from the fact that adding O to the blast air is the same as increasing the blast air rate, without adding extra nitrogen. Because less nitrogen is in the gas phase, the heat produced from combustion of coke increases the temperature of the gas. In turn, that increase transfers heat to the iron drops as they pass through the melt zone. Higher iron temperatures create the conditions that permit improvements in a cupola operation. The methods used to introduce additional O into the cupola are classified into three categories: diffuser enrichment, tuyere injection and well injection. In the diffuser method, O is introduced upstream of the tuyeres through a diffuser installed in the windbox. With tuyere injection, injector tubes direct pure O through each tuyere (or every other tuyere). The third and least accepted method is well injection in which O is injected into the coke bed beneath the tuyeres using water-cooled injectors. Modes of Enrichment All the observed benefits of O enrichment cannot be realized simultaneously. Four basic modes of O enrichment define the nature of the benefits that are obtainable. These are:
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keeping combustion away from the cupola wall and reducing energy losses. Thus. Early Oxygen Delivery Early in the application of continuous O enrichment. the melt rate can either increase or decrease. In a perfect system. Add O and reduce blast air and coke-Coke rates can be reduced as O is added to maintain a constant iron temperature. As the amount of charged coke is reduced. Realistic values are much higher. It also is useful for melting at rates that exceed the capacity of the air blast system. 1 Add O--This mode produces the highest iron temperatures and largest gains in carbon (C) and silicon (Si) content. the combustion of C supplies the energy for melting. Although O raises the temperature in the melt zone. The most important benefits are highlighted in red. with complete combustion to carbon dioxide and no energy losses. replacing free air with costly O must be accompanied by an application that provides sufficient savings to make the replacement attractive. 2 Add O and reduce coke--This mode produces maximum melt rates as it provides the highest O-to-coke ratio. Table 2 relates the benefits found in Table 1 with each of the modes listed above. Depending on the relative amount of blast air and coke removed. O producers developed supersonic O injectors in the 1980s as a way to further accomplish blast penetration. * add O and reduce coke. The amount of coke that can be removed from the charge in this mode is limited. at a given coke level. In keeping with this philosophy. the cupola atmosphere becomes more oxidizing and increasingly larger amounts of the alloy are oxidized. the costs of the C and Si losses weigh heavily on the cost of increasing the melt rate. Salient comments concerning the benefits and needed precautions are given below.08-01-2011 Can Oxygen Enrichment Boost Cupola F… * add O. gas generally was introduced to the blast main. * add O and reduce blast air and coke. which is possible because of the higher combustion zone gas temperatures when the blast is enriched with O. A benefit of reduced air volumes is a reduction on the load placed on the hot blast and emission systems. This manner of introduction had the benefit of eliminating O losses due to leaks in the blast main and tuyere plumbing.com/p/…/ai_n28856371/ in free and premium articles Search 2/3 . Through its studies. More importantly. The BCIRA conducted extensive studies in the 1960s and 1970s that indicated the benefits were small compared to the introduction of the same amount of O through each tuyere (tuyere injection). If considerable air is removed. * add O and reduce blast air. about 5% coke is needed. the British Cast Iron Research Assn. attention needs to be given to the consequence of poorer blast penetration and reduced energy production due to the generation of greater amounts of CO. Add O and reduce blast air--This mode of operation is useful when holding a constant melt rate is necessary. a high-velocity. the total O mainly determines the melt rate. injected-O stream was able to penetrate deeper into the cupola than the blast air. Eventually. (BCIRA) established that. Advanced Search Find Articles findarticles. The iron temperature and alloy recovery are lower than in the previous case.

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