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~ 0 13, NO. 2, .
published by the Center for Metals Production
An EPRl Sponsored R&D Applications Center
Understanding Electric Arc Furnace Operations For Steel Production
silicon and the burning of natural gas The use of electric arc furnaces (EAF) with oxy-fuel burners. About of the 53% for steelmaking has grown dramatiin cally in the last decade in the United Furnaces are often classified by power total energy leaves the furnace the States. In 1975 electric furnaces acrequirement levels. A scale indicating liquid steel, while the remainder is lost counted for 20% of the steel produced power classification ranging from ultra- to slag, waste gas, or cooling. Typical tap-to-tap time has decreased high-power (UHP), with over 700 kVA in the U.S.; by 1985 this figure had from over 2 hours in 1960 to 70-80 grown to 34%. Electric furnaces range per ton, downto low-power, with less minutes today. Primarily responsible are in capacity from a few tons to as many than 200 kVA per ton, is shown in UHP furnaces, oxy-fuel burners, wateras 400, and a steelmaking shop can Figure 1 along with some representacooled side panels (which allow for have a single furnace or up to three tive furnaces. higher power after the steel is molten), or four. In brief, these furnaces melt foamy slag practices (which also permit steel by applying AC current to a an EXAMPLES KVA higher power), and ladle metallurgy PER steel scrap charge by means graphite of TON (which removes the refining function electrodes. It requires about kwh 500 IMX) from the furnace and shifts it to a ladle of electricity to produce a ton steel; of ULTRA-HIGH 900 into which the molten metal is poured). consequently, these furnaces use a . .~ . . . . . .. 800 0 CHAPARRAL tremendous quantity of electricity. Trans0 BETHLEHEM (JOHNSTOWNI 700 former loads mayreach 120 MVA. Chemical Ekctricol The melting process involves the use 600 0 INLAND HIGH of large quantities energy in a short of 0 LUKENS “n” 500 0 ATUNTIC STEEL time (1-2 hr) andin some instances the 400 process has caused disturbances in MEDIUM 300 ARMCO (KANSAS CITY) power grids. These disturbances have 70 .0 usually been characterized as “flicker” LOW 0 LTV(CLEVELAND) - brief irregularitiesin voltage a frac100” tion of the60 Hz cycle in length, and I “harmonics” - irregularities that tend to Figure 1 to occur in a pattern repetitive the 60 EAF Power Classifications Hz cycle. The featuresof electric arc furnaces It is important to consider the energy were describedin a CMPTechEAF: The Commentary on Electric Arc Furnaces balance for a typical modem energy diagram shown Figure 2 indiin (Vol. 1, No. 3, 1985). The purposeof cates that70% of the total energy is the present Techcommentary is to electrical, the remainder being chemical give utilities and steel mills a better of understanding of electric furnaces from energy arising from the oxidation Figure 2 elements such as carbon, iron, and an electrical viewpoint. Energy Patterns in an Electric Furnace
After melt dawn.bout 600 to 850 volts. frequencies should be made. the arc is lengthened by increasing the voltage to maximum power. oxygen usually is injected to oxidize the carbon the steel in or the charged carbon.Typical Steelmaking Cycle A typical heat cycle appears Figure 3. Initiation is of the third arc depends on the scrap’s waves deviate considerably from sym. when there is a nearly complete metal pool. While the scrap is still “Arc Furnace Power Delivery Scoping unmelted. of rather than refractories. electrodes are initially lowered to a point above the material. and the electrodes bore through the scrap to form a pool of liquid metal. location.Generation of harmonics may result in for each of these electrodes then two bance to high-impedance circuits. and they occur at varyin After an electric furnace charged with tinguished by a minor overshoot an is ing electrode regulator or by physical move. the Many attempts have been made to operator lowers the electrodes. To rapidly submerge the electrode tip into scrap I I I I 11 Optimum current a OP u 80 Characteristic curve of arc power 2 60 ? 40 a Is Shortc~rcuiting 40 current 00 60 40 20 20 40 80 ‘ 0 40 80 Arc Current I20 160 ‘ 0 120 1 0 6 Io % Criteria for operation of furnace T To be judged by the position where the electrode tip is submerged for about 1. This process is an important source of energy. wide excurvoltage and frequency are varied. which may Furnace Power Delivery”). scrap and the roofis in place.”’ Disturbances are worst during .extinguishing the arc. and equip(A signal the drives to raise the elecment on the power system may also is trodes until the selected current-voltage 75% of the total impedance inthe secondary circuit. secondary delta winding.and settlingof the scrap. Most modem furnaces are equipped with water-cooled panels in the upper half the sidewall. The lowered position of the electrode TO be judg A? t consumption (kW the boring period Detailed Electrical Operation I 1 I Courtesy of the Iron and Steel Society. completes the circuit. The electrodes are an electrode. Subsequently. each ment of the scrap. the arc may easily exbe Study. Conditions of furnace Arc ignition peGiod (start of power supply ) Boring period Molten metal period I roof from arc by supplying high power and increasing the boring speed 2.As the scrap melts. It also foams the slag. Inc.Electric Furnace Steelmaking 1985 - I Figure 3 Steel Melting Cycle early meltdown. Eye sions can take place on a random basis trode contacts scrap. establish the human eye’s reaction to it can often shift and fall away from of which has its own regulator and mechanical drive. Harmonin but random.5d 1. in To achieve meltdown as quickly as possible. . which allows for longer arcs and higher energy input into the furnace. but line-to-line a response to disturbances the 5-10 Hz in path through the scrap and an arc are in the secondary circuit. b o u t further flicker problems. where perBecause of thephysical movement be rated from . the flickerof a lamp.) Voltage and current be damaged. whichis unpredictable.In the final stage. ception is measured while disturbance No current flows when the first elec. The regulators flow provides a source of harmonic currents and causes considerable distur. the current is initiated. The abrupt range did seem to be greatest all in established when the second electrode initiation and interruption of current the studies. the duration of the unbalance short is according to findings the CMP report. but they an analysisto ensure that resonance does not exist at any the harmonic of do not attain full rectangular shape. The scrap itself protects the furnace lining from the highintensity arc.be used to improve the power factor. To increase the boring diameter I I To protect the furr from arc soot Operating objectives 2.frequencies. hence metrical sinusoidal patterns.possibly another is shownin Figure 4 (from “Arc breaking it. The rate of lowering the electrode 2. the carbon monoxide that evolves helps minimize the absorption of nitrogen and flushes hydrogen out of the metal. which helps minimize heatloss. That these endeavors have not exactly confirmed one connected to the furnace transformer‘s or against theelectrode. If static capacitors are to ratio for the arc achieved. To stabilize the arc 3. the arcis shortened to reduce radiation heat losses and to avoid refractory damage and hot spots.
dependingon available power and other practices. 60W. To rapidly increase the temperature of molten steel to the appropriate value for refining )P is 3 160 jowr lfter 1. the initial period of melting causes the most electrical disturbances. least dense material scrap to liquid metal. This increase is often in the energy rapidly applied. 230V. As the scrap temperature begins rise. . to a liquid pool forms. A large piece might protrude and interfere with roof closure or require placement by magnet. 60W. 60W. Melting Conditions of scrop a full heat. Powerconsumption (kwh) 2. 3-Schwabe. If large pieces of scrap are on top of the pile. If the arc is ment such as transformers are higher extiquished. It is generally believed that light. Generally. This is generally about 10 minutes or so after power-on and can vary depending on power levels and shop practices. 2-Japan. 220V. Therefore. Thisi generally uneconomis cal due to oxidation losses and the need to open the furnace for several separate charges. 120V. 220V. a process which takes time. on full power the electrodes may bore through. Current into ported as high as The arc during meltdown canbe long the furnaceis therefore less than what because the electrode and arc are borwould be expected from calculations ing a hole down through the scrap. 230V. and chemical compo. most electric sitions. Therate of the F c e temperature (IPB) 3. this is not always the case. damaging the furnace bottom before suffia cient pool of liquid metal has formed. and and the roof andsidewalls are not losses in frequency-sensitive equipexposed to arc radiation. Power consumption (kwh) I20 I4O 1 la ! Power consumption (kwh) 2. densities. Therefore. It is beneficialto arrange the heavier pieces near the 20 bottom of the charge. 25%. 7-UIE.20 S 8. wide is charged.mation Main melting period Meltdown period Tapping spout Meltdown-heating period . 12OV. several buckets of scrap swings in disturbances will diminish considerably. To reduce the local damages near hot spots on lining 2.After about 20 minutes. square wave). 40W. + Melt Down ics contributeto wave distortion and Heating steel scrap approximately to to the increasein effective inductive 3000" F requires large quantities of reactance. 8-UIE. 5-Wasowsk~. 070 r I 0. After about minutes of operation. Noris the use of large heavy scrap alone optimum. To reduce the heat radiation onto the lining as well as minimize hat spot domoge 2.8 1 0 Flicker Frequency. they can possibly slide into and break an electrode. the regulator will lower the than the sinusoidal wave shape would electrode to re-establish it. 25 4 0 + 6OW. If all the scrapis light. If furnaces will have begun converting only the lightest. sinusoidal wave. rapid and uniform melting should be planned by supplying the maximum power that the facilities permit 1. the the therrnol conductivity Of arc power is a maxlmum. 230'4 60W.. To rapidly melt the remaining scrap 1. full power canbe applied.. 4-Carjell. When sufficient molten must be placed the furnaceto make in metal exists(in some high-powered Importance of Scrap Main Melting Period Scrap is availablein a wide variety Figure 4 Borderline of Flicker Perceptibility . full 10 to 15% range and has been repower is called for during meltdown. However. If heavy scrap is charged. lOOV. This can produce. The furnace operator therefore tries to blend several types of available scrap to suit his needs.. 6OW. lid baih 'bottom Since the arc is surrounded withsolid materials. Variation of arc impedance 1. which results in loss of both time and heat. 60W. based on sinusoidal wave shapes. 6-Kendal1. and disturbances begin to diminish.. anda mixtureis usually used. uniform scrap produces a smoother meltdown than does large heavy scrap. take several seconds if the scrap has moved out from under the electrode. the electrodes will have opened some voids. I S Hz of sizes. and cave-ins can occur. Borderlines of flicker per perceptibility for incandescent light bulbs under laboratory conditions (1-Commonwealth Edison. Hence. .
ances. High-speed photography a marked smoothing of oscilloscope needed to capture the60 arc cycles per It is quite possible that. It has been shown that the system with a short-circuit capacity of favorable effect of argon resulted from arc moves around on the tip of the the arc-supporting effect the media of electrode and. furnaces would more than likely use considerably. a 60% reduction in flicker. alternating-current designs has proven then the thyristors and main reactor are reduce electrical system disturbto the only further additions required. of the arc disturbances. consider. carbon cathodes in the heat or supplemental gas or oil burners. ably off the vertical. most Cycles f Argon and Lime Injection Reducing Electrical Disturbances Arc Movement DC Furnaces h Other Means of d Reducing Flicker . steel. CMP-AIS1 studies at Sidbeccathode. gon injection during the is action. Before such systems are installed. Improvements in load variation. This slight variaarc. cathodic (Figure6).^ He described the mined by the utility system which to development of the trumpet profile in to the furnace or furnaces are be the tip which decreased load swings connected. and the power factor and arc years ago). synchronous condens-trials ona commercial-sized electric furnace were undertaken by the Center ers of sufficient capacity would be than with solid electrodes.is not has ledto the practice of leaving Some power will decline. even molten. Shops with large electric electrodes. in some cases. Most utilities require power factor high-frequency componentsof the arc conditions were observed with hollow voltage. it is a good emitter of eleci ‘ trons (hence.2 20% reduction in flicker was found when (a) Capacitor bank configuration argon and lime were injected down (b) Need for harmonic tuning of the electrodes during these tests. and trodes. When the carbon electrode acts the metals. and operation during the refining period argon and lime injection. 5). However.’ correction. arc initiationis a little slower higher portion of its heat the metal to is below the electrode than will the longer and weaker than when the electrode Dosco indicated that this ractice reduces arc furnace flicker. with joint financprohibitively expensive for multifurnace a shop. These are deter-the stabilizing effect of hollow electrodes in furnace^. Cycle I Cycle 2 Cyde 3 factor penalty and does not eliminate flicker. offering little incentive important to avoid a power for adopting this practice for steelmelting. This movement is experience verylittle load of believed to be caused by the electro. Preheat could come from Waste the arc is shortened by an adjustment cathode. During the half-cycle slag and molten metalin the electric when the scrap orthe bath is the so that the shorter arc will deliver a furnace. Howsections ever. savings in power and electrodes (c) Switching procedure (This is were minimal. Injection powable flexibilityin configuring his internal dered lime into the arc zone cut arc magnetic forces induced by the high resistance in half and eliminated all current flow (Figure When the same plant power system.contact between the scrap and the botFigure 6 tom electrode during initial meltdown. Work by W. of heavy scrap and the short arc for operation after sufficient liquid metal has been formed.the utility will due to the greater number of atoms disturbance. Some sizable shops require Trials with hollow electrodes and ar1970’s showed no particular flicker control equipment. if a furnace traces of arc voltage andcurrent4.present for ionization. and elimination of phase unbalance has been reported with DCfurnace^. Photos have been taken during the refining’period to show the electric arc’s power grid. The short arc much is Tests havebeen run with hollow elecmore stable than the long arc. ing by 20 steel companies and the A transient analysis is required to determine:Electric Power Research Institute. duce electrical disturbanses melting in Variation in Arc Shape with Half of and removes some contaminants (such Except for the bottom electrode. follows sinusoidal concepts much more Schwabe in the 1950’s demonstrated Many ways exist to reduce the effects closely. both dry and with argon.as oils) and low-boiling-point nonferrous as furnaces only8-10 minutes is required).^ Major problems withDC operation are the relatively Anode short life of the bottom electrode and Preheating the scrap charge helps re. if plans have alone direct-current electrode rather than ready been made for power factor the three electrodes conventional of capacitors. The curThe recent trend toward using the rent will rise since overall resistance is large mercury arc rectifiers of several electric furnace asa main melting unit reduced. and they influenced are mainly by the size and stability of the during meltdown.and the steelmaker can have consider.tends to create the even-numbered vantages of thelong arc for meltdown harmonics -the second and fourth. the arc still moved around Based on these favorable results.6500 MVA or more. to the electrode regulators. which radiates more heat furto tion between the opposite half-cycles nace sidewalls. including tuning reactors.The shop is fed from 220 kV or higher a second. Many studies have been conducted which confirm the ad. but it appeared be more to nearly vertical and better consolidated static capacitors.E. Arc length is changed nearly as good.) Figure 5 If additional regulationis needed. for Metals Production. VAR Arc Pattern Flow control equipment would probably be Operation of an electric furnace with required.
T . vulnerable to power fluctuations. W E. he may want install harto Vol. “Experimental Results . However. Report No.D.A hot strip rolling mill cango from no load to 60 MW faster than a MW furnace. 3000-5000 Rectifiers for these main hp drive motors are of the 12-pulse type. W.-have . 85-1 Ladle Refining Furnaces for the Steel Industry985) (1 A review of supplemental steel heating and refining units often used in conjunction with electric arc furnaces.It is also conventional.tus . “Arc Stability in Electric Furnace SteelAre Not Unreasonable making. Study. 1986. X ray.1984. Utility Engineering Progress Most of the larger electric arc furnaces installed over the past years have 20 been fed from high-voltage. p ’ Most important. thesis.. 1. and changes in other operating parameters. A V 60 MW furnace load would be compara. When the primary breaker is closed ontransformer. 1.” Center for Metals Production. 30 86-9 Arc Stabilityin Electric Furnace Steelmaking 986) (1 Field testingthe effect on furnace performance of hollow electrodes. No. the mill load cycles much more frequently.”CenterforMetalsProduction. 86-8 DC Arc Furnaces for Steel Production 986) (1 30 ton A comparison of the electrical energy consumption of a conventional AC furnace with a ton DC furnace. . a the inrush current can be times 10 rated load-far more than the 1.” Iron and Steel Engineer. Problems of previous years -transformers failing because of resonance on a certain tap combination or utility capacitor banks failing far from an offending furnace have not been repeated. “Gas Injection Process During Electric Furnace Steelmaking and Continuous Casting. University of Toronto. Bibliography It is true that the arc furnace incurs short circuits. While the rolling mill load is a balanced-phase load (a major advantageover arc furnaces). utilities have become vitally interested in power quality. To further this goal. 4. to and potential problems have been identified and corrected. June 1957.computers. and this 60 can occur every2 minutes. which would also help t the equipment for a DC furnace i s avoid power factor penalties. J. 86-9.” Metals Report Center No. Maddever. with Hollow Electrod‘es. (1 86-7 Electrode Tip Analysis 986) An examination of electrode wear by various photographic means. 7 986. ble to rectifiers supplying a wide 7-stand improved their power supplies in recent years. pp. CMP Publications of Interest 84-1 Arc Furnace Power Delivery (1984) to A detailed analysis the technical problems relating large electric furnaces of and utilltypower grids.O per unit. The user can decide what to do inside his plant regarding the potential flicker problem.. Production. 85-2 Electric Arc Furnace Dust Disposal985) (1 An analysis of dusts generated by electric furnaces and a review of methods for treatment and disposal. Users and utilities have done their homework prior installation. 7978.4 times due to a secondary short in the electric arc furnace. 6. 1987 (to be published). or 1. Schwabe. stiff utility power grids. 5. 84-1. 3. ”DCArc FurnacesforSteelProduction. relative magnitude should be kept in mind: current If at maximum circuit power is considered to be 100 percent. then a short circuit will result in only 1. for 86-8. 3 Electric Arc Furnace Steelmaking (Techcommentary 1985) A description of the structure and function of electric arc furnaces. “Arc Furnace Power Delivery Scoping . 84-92. EAF Furnace Loads 2. making these systems less hot stripmill for rolling steel. and large DC loads are helpful that makers of electronic apparanow routinely handledin steel mills. ReDozNo. For example.” Ph.414 timei this full load current not too serious a problem. lime and argon injection. etc. the Electric Power Research Institute has formed Power a to Electronics Applications Center investigate further the question utility power of quality. These rolling mill systems handle large impact loads which are close to step functions and probably could handle initial disturbances in DC melting furnaces. “Techno-Economic Assessmentof Electric Steelmaking Through the Year 2000” EPRI. monic filters.
Manager of Technical Projects John Kollar. CMPs goal is to develop and transfer technical information that improves the productivity and energy efficiency of U. including fuels. 1nc. Director Richard M. or for damages resulting from the use of. Goodwill. apparatus. Flora.The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducts a technical research and development program for the U. apparatus. and surface conditioning1 protection. generation. EPRl promotes the development new and of improved technologies help the to utility industry meet present and future electric energy needs in environmentally and economically acceptable ways. Hensler.S. PA 1521 3-2683 412-268-3243 0 1987 Center for Metals Production CMP-0787-002 . Target areas are reductiotdsmelting. method. Consultant David J. method. or process disclosed in this report. any information. Manager of Communications William C. or process disclosed in this report or that such use may not infringe privately owned rights. and energy analysis. EPRl conducts research on all aspects of electric power production and use. electric utility industry. LEGAL NOTICE This report was prepared and sponsored by the Center for Metals Production (CMP). refining remelting.i Advertising Center for Metals Production Mellon Institute 4400 Fifth Avenue Pittsburgh. Project Manager CMP Joseph E. or (b) assumes any liabilities with respect to the use of. energy management and conservation. Chairman Steelmaking Processes James M. primary metals producing companies(SIC 33). Neither members of CMP nor any person acting on their behalf: (a) makes any warranty expressed or implied. The Center for Metals Production (CMP) is an R&D application center sponsored by the Electric Power ResearchInstitute (EPRI) and administered through Mellon Institute Camegie Mellon of University. delivery. Hurd.S. Westhead Company. EPRl Robert Jeffress. with respect to the use of any information. environmental effects.
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