Predicting Dross Formation in Aluminium Melt Transfer Operations


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Aluminium melt transfer operations can lead to significant amounts of dross formation as a result of chemical oxidation and physical entrapment processes. It has been suggested that these activities may contribute up to 50% of the total metal loss of ~1% in a typical primary aluminium smelter (i.e. 2,500 tonne/annum (tpa) in a smelter of 500,000tpa output). This is a large financial loss to any company, and also, in the new CO2-conscious era, it also represents a significant carbon footprint to ameliorate. A significant proportion of this metal loss may be prevented by adopting more efficient melt transfer strategies that reduce splashing and turbulence thereby resulting in reduced oxide and therefore dross formation. Optimisation of such systems is normally achieved by trial-and-error approaches, however a clear opportunity exists for rapid optimisation by employing computational modelling to explore the effects of changed equipment design and process conditions, such as tilt speed, spout height, spout geometry, etc. In the present paper, the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) modeling method is used to predict the amount of oxide generated during molten metal transfers from a 500kg capacity tilting crucible furnace into a heated sow mould. Various conditions were tested. An oxidation model based on skimming trials performed in a laboratory-scale (8kg) oxidation rig is employed in the simulation. The predicted oxide from the simulations is compared against those of the experimental pours. It is anticipated that the validated model will be used for modifying the design and optimizing the operation of various melt transfer operations occurring in the aluminium industry.



Edited by:

J. A. Taylor, J. F. Grandfield, A. Prasad






J. A. Taylor et al., "Predicting Dross Formation in Aluminium Melt Transfer Operations", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 630, pp. 37-44, 2010

Online since:

October 2009




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