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Technological developments in secondary steelmaking


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Author Teoh LL


Secondary steelmaking (or ladle metallurgy) has been developed as a post- steelmaking ladle treatment to produce steel of superior quality. Its rapid growth has resulted from quality improvements, productivity increase, operational flexibility and process route economics. Advances in secondary steelmaking are very impressive during the past decade, and many commercial systems have been developed for performing one or more of the following unit operations: degassing, atmosphere regulation, reheating, refining with synthetic slag, rinsing gas treatment, injection of solid materials and alloying. The metallurgical requirements imposed by the current competitive steel market include more precise analysis tolerances, minimum level of detrimental elements, improved cleanness, demanding service performance and better processability. In most cases, these requirements could only be realized by the application of appropriate secondary refining facilities. Continuing developments in simplicity of design, cost advantage, quick cycle time, improvements in peripheral services such as refractories, instrumentation and in-situ analysis, extensive exploration of new applications, and the use of computer, can be expected. An exciting future is predicted for the widespread adoption of secondary steelmaking to perform most of the major refining functions over a variety of steel quality. It will also become a vital link in the total steelmaking process for production of tonnage steel at the large integrated steelworks and the mini-steelmills.