Silicon carbide formation enhanced by in-situ-formed silicon nitride: an approach to capture thermal energy of CO-rich off-gas combustion
Du Preez, S.P.
Van Zyl, P.G.
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Carbothermic smelting of ores to produce metals or alloys in alternating current open/semiclosed and closed submerged arc furnaces, or in closed direct current furnaces, results in large volumes of CO-rich off-gas being generated. Most of the CO-rich off-gas is cleaned and flared on stacks, since the storing of large volumes is problematic due to the associated toxic and explosive risks. Flaring of CO-rich off-gas results in significant wastage of energy. In this study, an alternative method to partially capture the thermal energy associated with off-gas combustion, in the form of silicon carbide (SiC) generated from waste materials (quartz and anthracite fines), is proposed. SiC can partially replace conventional carbonaceous reductants used to produce alloys such as ferrochromium. The influences of quartz and anthracite particle size, treatment temperature, and gaseous atmosphere (nitrogen or air) on SiC formation were investigated. A quartz-anthracite mixture with 90 pct of the particles < 350.9 µm carbothermically treated at 1873.15 K (1600 °C) resulted in almost complete conversion of quartz to SiC in both nitrogen and air atmospheres. The study indicated significant potential for industrial application of the process