Blast furnace coke properties and the influence on off-gas dust

Abstract: In blast furnace ironmaking, efforts are made to decrease the coke consumption mainly by increasing the pulverized coal injection rate. This will cause changes in in-furnace reduction conditions, burden distribution and demands on raw material strength, etc. In order to maintain stable operation and minimize material losses through the off-gas, it is important to understand fines generation and behaviour in the blast furnace. The strength and reactivity of coke at high temperature, measured by the Coke Strength after Reaction (CSR) and Coke Reactivity Index (CRI), have been studied. Mechanisms of disintegration were evaluated using basket samples charged into the LKAB Experimental Blast Furnace (EBF) prior to quenching and dissection. Coke charged into basket samples was analysed with CSR/CRI tests and compared with treated coke from the blast furnace. Results from tumbling tests, chemical analyses of coarse and fine material, as well as Light Optical Microscope (LOM) studies of original and treated coke have been combined and evaluated. The results indicate a correlation between the ash composition and CSR values. Differences in the texture of the coke were determined with LOM, and a change in the coke texture during the CSR/CRI test conditions was found. The results suggest that the main reaction between coke and CO2 during the solution loss reaction took place in isotropic areas, which was especially pronounced in coke with a low CSR. Signs of degradation were apparent throughout the coke pieces that have undergone CSR/CRI testing, but were less observable in coke reacted in the blast furnace. The results indicate that the solution loss reaction was generally limited by the chemical reaction rate in the CSR/CRI test, while in the blast furnace the reaction is limited by the diffusion rate. Coke degradation is therefore mostly restricted to the coke surface in the blast furnace. At a later EBF campaign, off-gas dust and shaft fines were sampled during operation with different iron-bearing materials. EBF process data were used to evaluate the relationship between off-gas dust amounts and furnace conditions. Characterization was focused on fines from coke, iron-bearing materials and slag formers. The graphitization degree (Lc value) of coke taken out of the EBF shaft and coke in flue dust was determined in order to trace the fines generation position. The results showed that flue dust, mainly <0.5 mm, was mechanically formed and created in the same manner for all investigated samples. Carbon-containing particles dominated in the fractions >0.075 mm and consisted mainly of coke particles originating from the shaft. Solution loss in the shaft had a negligible effect on coke degradation and the coke particles which ended up in the flue dust were mainly derived from abrasion at low temperatures. Sludge consisted mainly of chemically formed spherical particles <1μm formed in the blast furnace high-temperature area and then precipitated from the ascending gas as the temperature decreased. The amount of alkali and SiO2 in sludge increased with higher pulverized coal injection rates and flame temperatures, which confirmed that submicron spherical particles in sludge originated from the high-temperature area around the raceway. Theoretical critical particle diameters of materials, which could be blown out with the off-gas, were estimated. Flow conditions in the top of the shaft as well as the properties of fine particles in terms of size and density are important when outflow of mechanical dust, such as flue dust, is concerned. Low off-gas temperatures, and thus lower off-gas velocities, are desirable for blast furnace operation with low amounts of flue dust.