The pores within iron ore sinter are important for producing a high quality material that is strong and easily reduced. The complementary methods of mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) were used to characterise the structure of industrial and pilot scales sinters across a wide range of pore sizes (3 nm to 100 μm for MIP and 50 μm to 5 mm for CT). The inhomogeneous nature of sinter and the variation in the measurements make it difficult to compare samples. The generalised additive modelling (GAM) approach, using the open source statistical software package, R, has been applied to highlight where there are peaks in the concentration of pore sizes. Importantly, the shape of the GAM-fitted function and the heights of the peaks show statistically significant differences between samples. For the samples investigated, the GAM-fitted functions for the MIP volume distribution of pore diameters were found to have a common set of distinctive peaks at 0.005, 0.6 and 20 μm. The GAM approach was also applied to the X-ray CT measured pore wall thickness, highlighting a single peak whose position varies between samples. The cause of these distinctive peaks and their implications for sinter quality are discussed. Correlation was found between the volume in peak 1 (0.005 μm) and the concentration of primary hematite. No correlation was found between the pore wall thickness and the strength of the sinter, suggesting the composition of the pore walls may be more important. Future work will focus on small-scale sinters produced under tightly controlled conditions to study sinters with a wider range of quality values.
Harvey, T, O’Dea, D, Evans, G, Godel, B and Honeyands, T, 2017. Highlighting key features of the pore structure of iron ore sinter using mercury intrusion porosimetry and X-ray computed tomography, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 39–48 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).