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BLAST FURNACE CASTHOUSE- MAIN RUNNER DESIGN

R. Van Laar, V. van Straatenand A. Deurloo

Danieli Corus, The Netherlands INTRODUCTION The casthouse is a critical interface between the Blast Furnace and Steelmaking Plant. The casthouse layout depends on the number of tapholes and may include 1, 2, 3 or 4 main runners, iron & slag runners. The main runner (trough) primary function is separating iron & slag. A typical casthouse layout for 2 tapholes is illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Casthouse LayOut 2 Tapholes

Originally iron and slag were cast in hand shaped sand runners, sloping down over the casthouse floor. The casthouse work was tough and hot, and environmental control was nonexisting. Despite this, there are still a large number of furnaces that have these types of embedded runners (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Traditional casthouse design &operations

A holding main runner was designed in which slag and iron would remain liquid between casts. Such main runners could see 2 4 weeks continuous production before any patch repair would be required. Many different designs have been developed and tested to find the optimum combination of main runner lifetime

between repairs, downtime for repair, material consumption and maintenance cost. The main runner can be divided in various zones as illustrated in Figure 3. Separation of iron and slag progresses towards the skimmer.

Figure 3: Main runner zones1

The main runner sizing & profiling is characterized by main dimensions such as length, width, height & elevations and slope. The iron and slag flows are determined by these main dimensions and the specific tapping cycle. In general, it can be stated that longer main runners will improve the separation of iron & slag, which is important to prevent iron droplets entering the slag runner and slag granulation system. Furthermore, iron & slag separation can be promoted by widening the crosssection inner profile as the velocity of the liquids will decrease and the residence time will increase. An enlarged iron & slag contact area will also result in better separation. In theory, it should be possible to develop an optimum main runner internal profile, but actual designs are normally determined by physical constraints, maintenance, cost considerations, etc. It has already been mentioned that various main runner designs have been developed and tested. Today, the embedded systems are gradually replaced with main runner designs comprising a steel box, safety lining(s) and wear lining as new plants are provided with stateoftheart equipment. MAIN RUNNER WEAR MECHANISMS

Obviously operators prefer maximum uninterrupted service life of the main runner. At the same time they like the lowest cost per ton hot metal. This can be achieved in two ways: either by using a main runner refractory lining design of low cost materials with a moderate lifetime that can be repaired easily and quickly, or opt for longer lasting but usually more expensive materials. For the wear lining materials the choices range from dry sand and various qualities of ramming mass to highly sophisticated low cement and silicagel bonded castables that have the potential to last very long. The allowable downtime for repairs is very much determined by the number of tapholes. For a single taphole furnace, minimum downtime is extremely important, for a two taphole furnace this requirement is important for securing high & stable production rates. Downtime for three and four taphole systems is less critical. The downtime is determined by the wear lining refractory selection and main runner design. Both should be optimized to meet operating demands and cope with fierce & cyclic process conditions.

The main runner is exposed to various wear mechanisms. Reference is made to Figure 4, Figure 5 and Figure 6 illustrating the influences for the wear in the main runner, typical wear profiles and a schematic relation between wear mechanisms.

Tapping stream influenced by taphole length, angle, diameter, furnace pressure

Flow speed influenced by trough geometry, hot metal slag ratio

Separation of hot metal and slag influenced by flow speed, trough geometry

Slag

Pig Iron Blast Furnace A 22 B 39 1470

Impact area influenced by height taphole pool surface, taphole angle and diameter

Pig iron (t) Days

95,000 140,000

Pig iron temperature (C) 1500

Figure 4: Influences on the wear at the main runner2

Figure 5: Wear profiles 4000 mm from taphole4

It is our experience that the wear rate is determined by two factors: o Main runner design & refractory wear lining selection, installation & operations o Iron & slag chemistry, temperature, flows Minimum operating & maintenance consumption rates of 0.25 kg per ton hot metal have been achieved, but the rates may be significantly higher using lower grade refractories. Main runner design consumption rates are typically 25 mm / 10000 ton hot metal.

Wear is normally most pronounced at the iron & slag interface as a result of spalling, dissolution, oxidation, FeO and redox reactions. Furthermore, erosion is critical and can be reduced by widening by the cross section flow area.
Lining

Formation of oxidized zone (decarbonized zone)

Crack and fissure developed

Penetration of hot metal

Abrasion by hot metal and slag

Dissolution to hot metal and slag

Spalling

Figure 6: Wear mechanisms of Main runner Lining3

Most wear mechanisms increase at higher refractory temperatures. Active cooling of the main runner will result in lower refractory temperatures. We believe that this will also result in lower refractory consumption rates and in relation to this are monitoring main runner performances worldwide.

MAIN RUNNER DESIGNS


Introduction Modern main runner designs comprise a steel box and internal refractory lining(s). Various designs have been developed. The internal sizing & profiling can be optimized to achieve maximum separation of iron and slag. The main runner design, however, is normally limited by physical constraints. Furthermore, maintenance activities may require compromises & design modifications. Reference is made, for example, to Figure 7: the space at and below the tapholes will require maintenance access in the future. Our previous designs (left side) comprise a

rectangular shape at the connection to the taphole, whilst our current designs (right side) provide more space for hearth (shell) maintenance such as installation of new thermocouples, core drillings, etc. Design modifications have been introduced to ascertain controlled expansion of the steel box and refractory system and limit stresses.

Figure 7: Connection of main runner at taphole

Typical main runner crosssections are illustrated in Figure 8. These cross sections include a safety and wear lining. Actual designs may comprise multiple safety linings. The internal profile of these crosssections is identical, but the steel box design is different.

The V and Ushape designs will result in lower temperature gradients of the steel box along the circumference. This provides an advantage as thermal stresses within the steel box will be limited. The steel box corner temperatures of the rectangular box system will be lower and this provides a theoretical disadvantage with regards to expansion and stresses. The rectangular design, however, provides an advantage with regards to stability and supporting main runner covers, demolition equipment, etc. and vertical reinforcement requirements will be limited. Typical main runner loadings expressed in kN/m are summarizedin Table 1 and it can be noticed that the loading will be highest prior to demolition/maintenance as the weight of the iron & slag will then be highest. The demolition equipment loading has not been included in the summation as it will only be used after draining iron & slag.
Table 1: Main runner loadings
Parameters Demolition Equipment Cover Weight Steel Box Weight Safetylining Weight Safetylining New [kN/m] 32 27 10 18 20 134 77 286 Worn [kN/m] 32 27 10 18 20 70 181 326

Safety Lining Wear Lining

Weight Wear Lining Weight Iron/slag Total

Figure 8 : Main runner crosssection alternatives

1.1

Main Runner Designs


Expansion behavior of all through lining materials as function of temperature. ii. Expansion or uneven warping of the steel box containing the main runner or runner iii. Cooling of the main runner and runner both steel and refractories d) Safety aspects in case of sudden unnoticed wear, preventing a main runner breakout i.

The following issues must be addressed during the development of an effective iron main runner design:
a) Desired performance b) Availability, quality, and cost of refractory materials c) Consideration of consistent maintenance and repair practices.

There are several basic main runner design options available, such as:
a) No cooling b) Ambient cooling (natural convection) c) Forced air cooling

In other words the temperatures are as low as possible and evenly distributed, there are defined fixed points, and warping is avoided by stiffness in the design. Today cooling is widely accepted as an effective way to reduce temperatures of the steel box and the refractory effectively minimizing expansion movements. Also by cooling, the effective refractory life will be longer (or the campaign tonnage more) The evolution of main runner construction went from uncooled main runners to natural draft cooled to forced draft cooling. Water cooling has been tried in several places but has been abandoned because of the inherent dangers. In our opinion forced air cooling is the safest and most robust method to ascertain safe system integrity, prevent spillages, and eliminate steel box warping & deformations. Furthermore, we believe that active forced air cooling will result in lower (wear) lining refractory temperatures and thus decrease refractory consumption rates. Safety is important specifically to contain any abnormal or extreme situations. Casting of blast furnaces will always be full of surprises, and it is important that main runner break outs are avoided at any time even under extreme conditions. Therefore safetybarriers are important.

The refractory materials incorporated can range from a monolithic ramming mix, which will require frequent repairs, to a multilayered lining comprised of varying refractory material qualities, which will offer maximum production operating cycles between repairs. Expansion behavior of refractories is very important, because the main runner will be subject to variable heat loads all the time. The temperature will fluctuate with each casting cycle and during a campaign the lining will wear out resulting in higher temperatures in the remaining refractory. Materials that have high thermal expansion coefficient will start cracking, or will create gaps or voids around them. Such voids will be filled with iron or slag. Because of these cracks cooling efficiency will be lost; materials will dislocate and the refractory construction looses its integrity. In the worst case, a main runner breakout could result. The expansion movements of the steel box are equally important because the box has to support the refractory. Since expansion of the box cannot be avoided it is important that this expansion is controlled. 1.2 21st Century Main Runner Designs

We believe that the optimum design includes internal forced air cooling embedded in SiC selfflowing castable safety lining(s) and a low cement castable wear lining. The active cooling will have the following positive effects on the wear lining:
o Lower cold face temperature, which translates into less overall expansion, thereby minimizing the risk of cracking at critical connections.

Lower cold face temperature, reducing the possibility of oxidation of silicon carbide in the castable mix. Lower temperatures in the wear lining, which means that the iron freeze line is pushed further towards the hot face, which in turn reduces the depth of iron fin penetration.

In addition, an integral refractory and cooling system is highly resistant to iron and slag penetration, and thus, the main

runner containment walls (steel or concrete) are protected from iron, slag and high temperatures. The lifetime of the primary safety lining around the cooling channels can match the blast furnace lifetime and it does not need interim replacements. The secondary safety lining may comprise precast shapes and dry vibratable. The dry vibratable provides expansion allowances and additional safety as it will sinter upon exposure to high temperatures, thus providing natural barrier against penetration of iron and/or slag. The dry

vibratable requires maintenance.

more

accurate

Two typical 21 st century main runner designs are illustrated in Figure 9: the total width of the main runners varies between 3000 and 3500 mm. Wider troughs allow for a wider wear lining thickness and will thus increase the maintenance cycles and availability. The wear lining thickness should be > 600 mm to provide a campaign of > 200000 THM whilst ascertaining safe operations. The application of rectangular cooling channels reduces the thickness of the (primary) safety lining and will allow for a wider wear lining.

Figure 9: Typical main runner design crosssections

1.3

Main Runner ThermoMechanical Design which will impose mutual loadings/stresses. These stresses must remain within design limits to prevent (premature) failure. In general, it is acknowledged that the materials shall not be exposed to plastic deformation as this may result in irreversible expansion movements and the creation of cracks. The thermomechanical design and expansion movements are determined by various material properties & process conditions:
o o o o o o Expansion coefficient, dilatation Refractoriness under load Creep Thermal conductivity Specific heat Minimum, average & maximum temperature

The new main runner comprises of following four components:


o o o o Steel box Primary Safety Lining Secondary Safety lining Wear lining

The steel box and primary safety lining target lifetime is 15+ years: the secondary safety lining may require (local) interim repairs at 5 years intervals. The wear lining will be exposed to highest temperatures and experience direct contact to liquid metal & slag. It will require regular scheduled maintenance to prevent propagation of cracks and penetration of iron & slag. The refractories, cooling channels and steel box all experience thermal expansion,

o o o o

Youngs modulus Design Temperature of iron & slag Viscosity of iron & slag

The refractory material characteristics depend on the temperature level. We are continuously investigating refractory material characteristics at elevated temperature levels and have developed a test device to determine stressstrain
50 45 40 35
Stress [MPa]

curves up to 1500C. Typical curves are illustrated in Figure 10 and it can be noticed that the refractory material elasticity increases at elevated temperatures (viscoelastic) whilst the strength decreases. These material properties are being used in our FEM computer model to determine displacements & stresses and optimize the thermomechanical design.

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0.000 20C 600C 1200C 1400C 0.005 0.010 0.015 Strain [-] 0.020 0.025 0.030

Figure 10: Wear lining stressstrain curves at elevated temperature levels

Considering the wear lining, it is acknowledged that expansion will occur in the longitudinal, vertical & horizontal direction. The length of the main runner is approximately 18 m, whilst the width and height are limited to 2 and 3 m, respectively. It is clear that controlled longitudinal expansion is a key aspect in main runner designs. The longitudinal expansion will be (partially) balanced by (compressible) ramming at the taphole and slag runner sides and elongation of the steel box. The steel box will be exposed to tensile stresses whilst the wear lining will be exposed to compressive stresses. Basic 1D models have been developed to illustrate & estimate temperature & stress levels and displacements. Reference is made to Figure 11 illustrating a typical crosssection of the new runner design, temperature profiles for minimum and maximum wear along the red line (0.00 = outside steel, 0.42 & 0.92 = inside wear lining) and the coupled springloaded mechanical system.

T Steel

TSafety Lining
1400 1200
Temperature

Steel Box: Te nsile Stresses

1000 800 600 400

T SiC

T Wear Lining

200 0 0.00

Min. Wear Max. Wear 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00


Wear Li ning: Comp ressive Str esses

Figure 11: Basic 1D thermomechanical models

The basic models reflect that stresses in the primary & secondary safety lining are irrelevant as the temperature levels are relatively low and expansion provisions can be provided. The compressive wear lining stresses are balanced with the tensile steel box stresses, resulting in a steel box elongation of approximately 20 mm. Steel (tensile) stresses were calculated to be 100 MPa with wear lining (compressive) stresses up to 10 MPa. It is clear that a technical evaluation is required to ascertain that a sound, reliable & safe main runner thermomechanical design is ascertained.

1.4

Main Runner Thermal Design

Our new main runner design includes internal active air cooling. This air cooling is necessary to control the steel box temperatures and prevent irreversible movements such as buckling & bulging. Furthermore, the internal cooling embedded in high conductive SiCcastable will provide a barrier against penetrated iron & slag. The secondary safety lining contributes to this safety aspect and will prevent spillages of iron & slag. The cooling system will also result in lower wear lining temperatures and this will result in lower refractory consumption rates. A typical isotherm profile is illustrated in Figure 12 and shows that the safety lining temperatures are below 500C. This will result in a significant reduction of any oxidation phenomena.

Figure 12: Typical isotherm profile

The main runner heat losses are dissipated by the internal air cooling system, ambient air around the main runners, ambient air outside the cover and also fume extraction air flows. The main runner cover and fume extraction heat losses are relatively high. Heat losses through the main runner lining are mainly determined by the wear lining thermal conductivity. This thermal conductivity strongly depends on the temperature levels and may change in time as a result of corrosion & oxidation. Lower conductivities will result in lower heat losses. The internal active cooling system has a limited effect on the heat losses and it acts as a re active system. Transient isotherm calculations are being used to determine the dynamic thermal characteristics. Figure 13 illustrates the isotherm profiles of the new main runner design with the active cooling ON and OFF. It can be noticed that the isotherm profiles are comparable. However, the steel box temperatures will be unacceptably high when the cooling is turned off.

Cooling On: t = 0 hr

Cooling Off: t = 0 hr

Cooling On: t = 12 hr

Cooling Off: t = 12 hr
Figure 13: Isotherm profiles at t = 0 and t = 12 hr

This figure also illustrates that solidification at the iron & slag interface will start after approximately 12 hours. It is acknowledged that solidification is critical at / below the skimmer and should be prevented to ascertain that the iron flow is not blocked. We therefore recommend considering draining of the main runner within 10 hours of stagnant conditions.

CONCLUSIONS
The main runner design is critical to ascertain availability for blast furnaces with single and double taphole operations. The main runner refractory consumption is also an important aspect. Ultimately, safety of the main runner system must be given the highest priority to prevent spillages of iron & slag through the lining. Therefore it is necessary to consider robust, stable & safe main runner systems. The new main runner system using internal active air cooling embedded in the primary safety lining system and protected by a secondary safety lining system has been developed to fulfill todays operator and maintenance demands. It has been proven to function well at several plants. The wear lining refractory consumption can be decreased as the active internal air cooling system will result in lower temperatures and prevent oxidation of the wear lining cold face. The target campaign life for interim maintenance is 200000+ THM and higher records have already been achieved. The wear lining requires a complete replacement after 5 10 cycles. The active air cooling system and double safety lining system ascertain lower steel box temperatures and eliminate corner gradients. Thermomechanical analyses are required for the suitable design of the steel box and refractory components preventing irreversible movements, etc.

The active air cooling has no significant effect on the heat losses of iron & slag. The heat losses are primarily determined by the main runner cover design, effects of fume extraction convective flows and wear lining thermal conductivity. The new main runner design balances the system design integrity, availability and refractory consumption.

REFERENCES
1. H.P. Rther, D. Winzer, "Operational experience with main main runner linings in German blast furnace plants," Metallurgical Plant and Technology, I 1985, pp. 8187 2. M. Peters, P. Rther, P. Schmle, "Improvement of the refractory technology for optimized costs in the blast furnace cast house operation," La Revue de Mtallurgie, Mars 2004, pp. 219224 3. K. Sugita and Y. Shinohara, "Refractories Technology for Blast Furnace Tapholes and Main runners," Interceram, Special Issue 1983, pp. 111118 4. K.E. Granitzki, F. Trger, "Quality Improvement on Runner Lining Materials and their Technicaleconomical Influence of PigIron Production," Aachen Proceedings, 1988, pp. 7982