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Paradigm for pig iron nugget production

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2012, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 211-224

Anamaeric, B.; Kawatra, S. Komar


Economic, environmental and operational disadvantages of the traditional blast furnace process has led to the development of direct smelting reduction processes, including those that utilize self reducing/ fluxing dried greenballs as iron oxide feed materials. This is mainly due to improved carbothermic reduction, carburization and reaction kinetics. In this paper, the morphological changes of the greenballs as they transform to pig iron nuggets are examined over time at a constant temperature of 1,400° C. The products produced after each treatment were characterized using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectroscopy and point counting/image analysis. The changes in the percent metallized area, wustite dendrite and slag matrix content of the structures were calculated. It was determined that the transformations were initially controlled by dissolving and containment of iron oxides in the molten slag and their consequent reduction to iron, followed by coalescence of the metallized areas. The final transformations were controlled by the carburization of the metallized areas.