Steelmakers are increasingly motivated to use iron ore resources with a wider range of grades and mineral types that were previously considered unsuitable or uneconomical for sintering. In this respect, specific issues, which now require further investigation and understanding, include the sintering of ore types with:
– overall higher gangue content
– elements that cause problems in the steel manufacturing operations
– distinctive sintering performance compared with traditional hematite-rich iron ores.
Laboratory-based investigations of the sintering performance and the behaviour of gangue impurities during sintering is an important step towards the successful utilisation of these resources in steelmaking.
In terms of laboratory-based sintering investigations, there are two generally accepted experimental scales utilised prior to undertaking industrial-scale trials, which include: bench-scale tablet (compact) testing and pilot-scale pot testing. The former has the advantages of flexibility and more precise control of sintering conditions; but it is difficult to simulate the heterogeneity of a sinter bed. The latter, which is carried out in pots with diameters between 150–500 mm, simulate the commercial sintering process and conditions quite well, but is time-consuming and labour-intensive due to operational complexity. It is therefore desirable to establish a smaller scale pot testing facility that avoids the disadvantages of the normal sintering pot but can provide comparable information.
To explore the feasibility of small-scale pot testing, a ‘millipot’ facility was established to examine the sintering performance of iron ores and other non-traditional ferrous materials. The millipot has a diameter of 53 mm and height of 400 mm. The facility has the capability to monitor the sintering temperature at a number of locations (axial, radial) within the sinter bed and to adjust the suction (‘windbox’) pressure. This paper describes the development of the millipot facility and operational procedures, together with initial tests undertaken in order to match its performance with industrial sintering performance.
Li, H, Zhou, R, Pinson, D J, Zulli, P, Lu, L, Longbottom, R J, Chew, S J, Monaghan, B J and Zhang, G, 2017. A millipot set-up for sintering investigation of iron ores, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 85–90 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).