CFD-DEM Modelling of Matte Droplet Behaviour in a Flash Smelting Settler

Additonal authors: Jokilaakso, A.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Jylhä, J. P.

The Outotec Flash Smelting process is widely used in primary copper production. A layer of slag on top of matte (copper–iron sulphide melt) creates a barrier through which matte droplets descend. Droplets of different sizes settle through the layer at different rates, which increases possibility of copper losses as smaller matte droplets may be removed with the slag. In this work CFD-DEM (computational fluid dynamics – discrete element method) coupling was used to simulate matte droplets settling through the slag during slag tapping. Discrete droplets and slag flow were simulated with DEM and CFD, respectively. This new approach enables tracking and solving movement and interactions of individual droplets. User-defined models were created to take coalescence and reaction kinetics into account. Coalescence created larger droplets, while the reactions decreased droplet size and increased its density. Drag caused funnelling effect, which pulled droplets towards the centre line of the descending cluster. This research is the only study known by the present authors in modelling liquid-liquid systems with the CFD-DEM coupling. Simulating coalescence and chemical reactions for discrete droplets enables more realistic simulations. However, CFD- DEM simulations are computationally resource intensive already without additional models, so a full scale industrial settler modelling still waits for further increase in computer performance. INTRODUCTION Flash smelting is a method used in copper and nickel production. In the flash smelting process, oxidation of sulphides in a concentrate is used to release energy needed to smelt the feed. In the process, copper matte is formed. Matte has copper content in the range of 55 – 70% (Sridhar, Toguri, & Simeonov, 1997), the rest is mainly sulphur and iron but has still many other impurities (Taskinen, Seppälä, Laulumaa, & Poijärvi, 2001). Oxidized iron forms iron-silicate slag while SO2 is collected for acid production (Davenport & Partelpoeg, 2015). The Outotec flash smelting furnace (FSF) can be divided in four major component: concentrate burner, reaction shaft, settler and uptake. Concentrate, flux and oxygen enriched air are injected into the reactor through the concentrate burner. The mixture then reacts in the reaction shaft forming matte and slag, which are collected in the settler, while off-gases flow out of the reactor through uptake for heat and dust recovery, and SO2 collection for H2SO4 production. The matte and slag form separate layers due to immiscibility and density difference. Raw material feed is continuous, but the matte and the slag are tapped periodically. A flash smelting furnace is depicted in Figure 1.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019