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Flash Smelting Furnace
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Flash smelting is an innovative smelting process for sulfur-containing copper ore, which is developed firstly by Outokumpu in Finland end of 1950s. During the operation, pre-dried copper concentrate and preheated oxygen-rich air are injected together into the reaction shaft, where the burden, most of which are in floating state, goes through series of oxidation and melting process in a very short period of time, and then turn into matte, slag and SO2 in settler. Due to its low power consumption and high utilization of sulfur in off-gas, flash smelting furnace has been for long the mainstream equipment for copper smelting, and it has been also applied to nickel smelting.
Meanwhile, the same furnace is adapted for copper flash converting process, which is developed by Outokumpu and American company Kennecott together in 1990s. This process, in comparison to traditional converting process, features lower CAPEX & OPEX and better environment protection. Besides, it has almost no requirement for the upstream copper smelting process.
Flash smelting furnace (Outokumpu) is roughly composed of feeding system, reaction shaft, settler (bath) and uptake.
Concentrate injector in feeding system is where the burden and air are mixed. The inner side could be without refractory material, or be coated with high alumina refractory castable (UR8257C), depending on actual temperature. In serious cases, high alumina refractory castable (UR8257C) plus water-cool copper jacket outside can be applied.
Reaction shaft is where the most important reactions take place and therefore the important part of flashing smelting furnace. It undergoes strong corrosion and erosion of high-temperature solid & molten burden, gas and air. Therefore, premium refractory product need to be applied here. In upper part, where the temperature is around 900~1100°C, high chrome-containing direct-bonded magnesia chromite brick (FB6457BD) is recommended. In the middle and lower part, where temperature ranges between 1350°C and 1550°C, best refractory brick such as high chrome-containing rebonded magnesia-chromite brick (FB6457BR) or even fused cast magnesia-chromite brick (FB6457FC) is recommended. In order to reduce the severe wearing of refractory brick in this part, water-cool copper jacket need to be deployed.
Settler is where molten burden is clarified and divided into matte and slag layers. Considering the constant corrosion and erosion of slag, molten burden and gas, the wearing condition at the sidewall and bottom is also serious. Medium chrome-containing rebonded magnesia-chromite brick (FB6457BR) as wearing lining, chamotte brick (FB8057) as safety lining plus insulation brick (IB8057C) in the outer layer are recommended for the sidewall. Beside, water-cool copper jacket need to be applied to the sidewall as well as matte and slag spout.
For settler roof and uptake, the erosion and corrosion of slag carry-over and off-gas are the main wearing factors. Direct-bonded magnesia-chromite brick (FB6457BD) as well as insulation brick (IB8057C) are recommended.
Yanmu’s recommended refractory usage in flash smelting furnace is summarized in the following table. For the detailed product description, physical parameters and chemical parameters of each brick or unshaped refractory material listed below. Please refer to previous chapter “Refractory Products Collection for Non-Ferrous Metallurgy”.