2010 Volume 50 Issue 10 Pages 1396-1405
The blast furnace is the most common means of producing hot metal. As the amounts of reduction agents increases, which influence in-furnace conditions such as ascending gas properties, temperature profiles and the ore-to-coke ratio, new demands are put on the iron-bearing material in terms of both reducibility and mechanical strength. To investigate the possibilities to use the Pellet Multi Press (PMP) equipment for compression strength measurements of reduced pellets and to gain a deeper understanding of the correlation between pellet texture and strength, an initial study of pellets taken from the LKAB Experimental Blast Furnace (EBF) was conducted. Furthermore, the pellet pieces generated after compression tests were characterized using light optical microscopy. In order to correlate the texture of pellet pieces to the pellet texture prior to breakage, a characterization of the chronological pellet texture development during reduction in the EBF was performed. The original pellet texture remained in the beginning of reduction and differences receded through the EBF shaft as wustite and Femet was formed. Occurrence of Femet in the pellet texture increased the compression strength, while less reduced and less sintered textures showed the reverse effect. So far, the results from compression strength tests indicate that disintegration of pellets takes place at a reaction front, at the transition between different texture types of iron oxide or at the location of a visible surface crack.