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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


REYNOLDS, Q.G.. Interaction of dust with the DC plasma arc - a computational modelling investigation. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.5, pp.395-407. ISSN 2411-9717.

The presence of dust and fume suspended in the freeboard region is a common feature of the operation of direct current (DC) plasma smelting furnaces. This occurs primarily as a result of the use of fine feed materials together with the open-arc, open-bath operation of such smelters, and is exacerbated by the high velocities and turbulent mixing of the gas in the vicinity of the arc jet. Dust and fume losses into the furnace off-gas system can be significant in some cases and may have economic, operational, and environmental impacts on the process. A computational modelling study is presented in which the concentration of dust material was considered as a continuous field subject to a governing partial differential equation. Settling behaviour was calculated as a function of particle size, local gas/plasma temperature, and other physical properties. Development of the coupling between the concentration field and a magnetohydrodynamic description of the arc is shown, and the resulting models were used to compute various aspects of the behaviour of the concentration field in the arc region for a variety of furnace conditions. Time-averaged as well as transient models of the arc were used to generate the results presented. Qualitative case studies produced several practical suggestions for furnace operation, including increased dust capture by the bath when feed ports are located closer to the electrode, and the possible effects of feed segregation in the furnace freeboard based on dust particle size and density.

Keywords : DC furnace; arc plasma; dust entrainment; continuumcomputational model; freeboard flow; arc flow.

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