2004 Volume 44 Issue 3 Pages 482-491
The cement-bonded agglomeration process is an alternative to the traditional balling-sintering process for recycling iron-rich by-products generated in iron and steel plants back to the blast furnaces. It has been observed that, under certain conditions, the briquettes containing pellet-fines show a tendency to swell catastrophically when reduced. This swelling is dependent upon a number of factors like: reducing temperature, composition of briquettes, particle size of raw material, amount of cement and composition of reducing gas. The SEM and optical micrographs do not show the formation of iron whiskers as the cause of swelling; instead, the swelling is due to the movement of reduced iron particles away from each other. It has been proposed that the swelling takes place in three steps: (a) fragmentation of weak pellet-fines particles during reduction to wustite; (b) formation of liquid slag due to reaction between CaO, MgO, FeO, SiO2 and Al2O3; (c) generation of high gas pressure due to formation and subsequent oxidation of metastable iron carbide.