2011 Volume 51 Issue 1 Pages 71-79
In the BOS process liquid slag together with dispersed metal droplets, solid particles and process gases form an expanding foam. Certain process conditions may lead to excessive foam growth, forcing foam out through the vessel mouth, an event commonly known as ‘slopping’. Slopping results in loss of valuable metal, equipment damage and lost production time. In the early 1980s a system for foam level and slopping control was installed at SSAB's steel plant in Luleå, a system based on the correlation between BOS vessel vibration in a narrow low frequency band and foam development. The technique, in this case with an accelerometer mounted on the trunnion bearing housing, soon showed its usefulness, for example when adapting existing lance patterns to a change in oxygen lance design from a 3-hole to a 4-hole nozzle. Estimating the actual foam height in the BOS vessel was of great importance in the recently completed RFCS funded research project “IMPHOS” (Improving Phosphorus Refining). Based on the earlier positive experiences, it was decided to further develop the vessel vibration measurement technique. Trials on an industrial size BOS vessel type LD/LBE have been carried out, this time with a tri-axial accelerometer mounted on the vessel trunnion. FFT spectrum analysis has been used in order to find the frequency band with best correlation to the foam level development. The results show that there is a correlation between vessel vibration and foam height that can be used for dynamic foam level and slopping control.