An experimental investigation was conducted to elucidate the main features of the processes taking place in the shaft of a continuous flash-converting furnace for solid copper mattes. The experiments were conducted in a large laboratory furnace. The test variables included the matte grade, oxygen content in the process gas, particle size of the feed material, and oxygen-to-matte ratio. The observed variables included the fractional completion of the oxidation reactions, fraction of sulfur remaining in the particles, copper-to-iron atomic ratio, particle-size distribution, morphology, and mineralogy of the reacted particles. The experiments showed substantial differences in the oxidation behavior of high-grade (72 pct Cu) and low-grade (58 pct Cu) matte particles. Low-grade matte particles reacted evenly throughout the furnace, increased in size, and experienced no substantial fragmentation during oxidation. High-grade matte particles tended to be oxidized unevenly and experienced severe fragmentation leading to generation of dust. The order of the effects of the test variables on the observed variables was found to be (1) the oxygen-to-matte ratio, (2) the particle size of the feed material, and (3) the oxygen content in the process gas. Microscopic examination revealed that the oxides of copper and iron were the main oxidation products, with little elemental copper present in the reacted particles. Potential implications of the experimental findings on the operation of an industrial flash-converting furnace are discussed.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2001|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|