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1 August 2013
Innovations

ISTU scientists have developed a technology to produce "quick" cast iron

Irkutsk Technical University scientists are developing the technology of solid-phase recovery of iron. According to one of the authors of the project, head of innovative department at NI ISTU, Viktor Kondrat’ev, this development allows quickly getting a quality product. The technology has the advantages inherent in the coal production - manufacture of the porous cast iron - and provides the same quality of the final product, as the blast furnace process.

"Classical technologies of iron production from iron ore concentrates are demanding to the conditions and are not beneficial from an environmental and economic point of view. The iron ore concentrate should contain at least 70% of iron oxide. Blast furnace processes involve input of chunks of iron ore and a reducing agent. The recovery of iron takes place at high temperatures and gets form of cast iron; all impurities transfer to the cast iron. That is why additional cleaning is required”, says V. Kondrat’ev. “The uniqueness of this project is that the new technology provides the production of iron without melted part. We use a finely ground iron ore concentrate (content of iron oxide is not less than 45%). Moreover, we do not need a high-quality reducing agent for the process; regular brown coal fits well."

V. Kondrat’ev explained that the core of the process is the unit of metallization of original construction, which can be made in different variations. Iron recovers quickly, saturates with carbon and melts in this unit due to the high temperature process (1370 1400 ° C). At the outlet of the furnace perform is formed, it contains a granule inside with iron content, which is not less than 94%. All impurities are in the outer slag which is separated from the granular iron after cooling. Scientist points out that if ore contains rare earth metals as well, all of them are also moving into the slag, which becomes the second product - a concentrate of rare earth metals. If ore contains titanium, in the result a second product is concentrate of titanium oxide, the main substance is up to 70%.

"Time of metallization in the solid-phase recovery process is just 10-12 minutes; while traditional methods in the shaft or tube furnaces take several hours from the load to the production of the metal. The use of our technology virtually eliminates emissions. Carbon dioxide emits in a small amount. In addition, it is the energy saving technology", said V. Kondrat’ev.

According to him, the project is interesting to several prospective investors. In particular, a joint venture company for the implementation of such a facility on the territory of Mongolia is being created. The capacity of the enterprise is up to 100 tons of iron per year. In addition, ISTU innovators signed an agreement to join to Industrial park "Bogoslovskiy" (Sverdlovsk region) as a resident. Man-made waste alumina production will serve as raw materials. The negotiations are now also being held with the directory of the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine for recycling of wastes by the technology proposed by ISTU scientists.

Irina Afanas’eva
Photo: Anastasiya Slepneva

August
2013
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