The quality of iron ore fines have been deteriorating, which has affected sinter quality and productivity adversely. New pretreatment and sintering technologies are therefore required to tackle the gradual change in the quality of iron ore fines. In the sintering process, iron ore fines are first granulated with fluxes such as limestone and coke breeze, and are then loaded and fired in a sinter machine. Sinter productivity and quality are heavily influenced by the reactions occurring in the sintering bed. Hence fundamental understanding of these high temperature properties of ores is urgently needed.
Formation of initial sinter melt, penetration and assimilation of nucleus particles by the initial melt, and consolidation and final solidification of final sinter melt are believed to be the key sintering reactions. The assimilation and penetration phenomena have been studied separately in the literature with model particles and diffusion couples and are therefore difficult to relate to sinter quality. In addition, the effect of ore mineralogy has not been studied in detail.
In this study, tablets consisting of coarse particles from various iron ore fines as nucleus particles and chemical reagents as adhering fines were made and fired under various sintering conditions to investigate the penetration and assimilation behaviour simultaneously. The degree of assimilation, pore structure, compressive strength of the resultant analogue sinters were evaluated and the relationship between sinter strength and ore characteristics was further discussed. The nucleus particles from Ores A and B were found to be more porous and assimilated more readily with sinter melt, resulting in a viscous melt and a macro-porous sinter structure. The nucleus particles from Ores C and D on the other hand, assimilated less readily with sinter melt, resulting in a fluid melt and a denser sinter structure. This is consistent with the results reported in the literature, suggesting that the present evaluation method can be utilised for studying sintering reactions and predicting sinter quality.
Higuchi, T and Lu, L, 2017. Evaluation of sintering behaviour based on ore characteristics, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 303–308 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).