Views:7 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2020-03-11 Origin:Site
EAF Melting Process
The melting period is the heart of EAF operations. The EAF has evolved into a highly efficient melting apparatus and modern designs are focused on maximizing the melting capacity of the EAF. Melting is accomplished by supplying energy to the furnace interior. This energy can be electrical or chemical. Electrical energy is supplied via the graphite electrodes and is usually the largest contributor in melting operations. Initially, an intermediate voltage tap is selected until the electrodes bore into the scrap. Usually, light scrap is placed on top of the charge to accelerate bore-in. Approximately 15 % of the scrap is melted during the initial bore-in period. After a few minutes, the electrodes will have penetrated the scrap sufficiently so that a long arc (high voltage) tap can be used without fear of radiation damage to the roof. The long arc maximizes the transfer of power to the scrap and a liquid pool of metal will form in the furnace hearth At the start of melting the arc is erratic and unstable. Wide swings in current are observed accompanied by rapid movement of the electrodes. As the furnace atmosphere heats up the arc stabilizes and once the molten pool is formed, the arc becomes quite stable and the average power input increases.
Chemical energy is be supplied via several sources including oxy-fuel burners and oxygen lances. Oxy-fuel burners burn natural gas using oxygen or a blend of oxygen and air. Heat is transferred to the scrap by flame radiation and convection by the hot products of combustion. Heat is transferred within the scrap by conduction. Large pieces of scrap take longer to melt into the bath than smaller pieces. In some operations, oxygen is injected via a consumable pipe lance to "cut" the scrap. The oxygen reacts with the hot scrap and burns iron to produce intense heat for cutting the scrap. Once a molten pool of steel is generated in the furnace, oxygen can be lanced directly into the bath. This oxygen will react with several components in the bath including, aluminum, silicon, manganese, phosphorus, carbon and iron. All of these reactions are exothermic (i.e. they generate heat) and supply additional energy to aid in the melting of the scrap. The metallic oxides that are formed will end up in the slag. The reaction of oxygen with carbon in the bath produces carbon monoxide, which either burns in the furnace if there is sufficient oxygen, and/or is exhausted through the direct evacuation system where it is burned and conveyed to the pollution control system. Auxiliary fuel operations are discussed in more detail in the section on EAF operations.
Once enough scrap has been melted to accommodate the second charge, the charging process is repeated. Once the final scrap charge is melted, the furnace sidewalls are exposed to intense radiation from the arc. As a result, the voltage must be reduced. Alternatively, creation of a foamy slag will allow the arc to be buried and will protect the furnace shell. In addition, a greater amount of energy will be retained in the slag and is transferred to the bath resulting in greater energy efficiency.
Once the final scrap charge is fully melted, flat bath conditions are reached. At this point, a bath temperature and sample will be taken. The analysis of the bath chemistry will allow the melter to determine the amount of oxygen to be blown during refining. At this point, the melter can also start to arrange for the bulk tap alloy additions to be made. These quantities are finalized after the refining period.