2013 Volume 53 Issue 5 Pages 743-750
This research work introduces the concept of “useful arc power” and the thermal model, first introduced by Dittmer and Krüger, to establish the arc length at any stage of the heat in Alternate Current Electric Arc Furnaces (AC-EAF), based on the estimation of the fraction of the energy transferred to the metallic load by radiation. Radiation is the most effective way to transfer heat in an arc furnace in presence of metallic scrap (bore-in and early meltdown). On the other hand, if the arc is not adequately covered with slag, radiation is extremely dangerous to the furnace integrity. When the furnace is fully loaded, scrap protects the walls and cooling panels and then arc radiation must be maximized. To increase energy efficiency, and at the same time reduce circuit power losses, the arc length should be controlled. However, arc instability prevents to increase radiation, as desired, and a compromise must be reached between arc length and arc stability. In this work AC-EAF electric circuit is modeled and analyzed under different heat stages. Electrodes, anode and cathode, fall regions can be considered as energy losses and their associated power may be deducted for the estimation of the “useful arc power” and for the definition of the operational currents in the heat process, particularly during flat bath conditions (late meltdown and refining). As a result of the present study it is proved that current setpoints play an important role for energy saving at any stage of the heat. Finally, experimental results obtained from an industrial steel factory validate this approach to optimize the electrical energy consumption per ton of liquid steel in AC-EAF.