In steel refining process, an increase of interfacial area between the metal and slag through the metal droplets emulsified into the slag, so-called "metal emulsion", is one prevailing view for improving the reaction rate. The formation of metal emulsion was experimentally evaluated using Al-Cu alloy as metal phase and chloride salt as slag phase under the bottom bubbling condition. Samples were collected from the center of the salt phase in the container. Large number of metal droplets were separated from the salt by dissolving it into water. The number, surface area, and weight of the droplets increased with the gas flow rate and have local maximum values. The formation and sedimentation rates of metal droplets were estimated using a mathematical model. The formation rate increased with the gas flow rate and have local maximum value as a function of gas flow rate, while the sedimentation rate is independent of the gas flow rate under the bottom bubbling condition. Three types of formation mode of metal emulsion, which occurred by the rupture of metal film around the bubble, were observed using high speed camera. During the process, an elongated column covered with metal film was observed with the increasing gas flow rate. This elongated column sometimes reached to the top surface of the salt phase. In this case, it is considered that fine droplets were not formed and in consequence, the weight of metal emulsion decreased at higher gas flow rate.
- Formation mechanism of metal droplet
- Formation rate
- Interfacial area
- Metal emulsion
- Sedimentation rate