Development and Applicability of a New Corrosion Test to Quantify Refractory Wear Due to Gaseous Sulphur Oxides Action

Additonal authors: Pacheco, G. R.C.. 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

Fonseca, D. M.

Degradation by sulfur gases is an important lining wear mechanism in the copper industry. SO2/SO3 gases infiltrate into the pores of the basic refractory bricks, combine with their raw materials through expansive reactions and significantly modify the bricks’ structure. This study presents a comparison of the corrosion resistance against sulfur attack of different magnesia-based refractories using a simple, low-cost and quantitative method. Recipes containing sintered MgO grains showed lower resistance to corrosion by sulfur oxides compared to basic grades containing fused grains. Chromium corundum grades were used as a reference and showed very good resistance to this corrosion mechanism under the test conditions. The novel test provided relevant results that agree with what is commonly observed during operation and in previous post-mortem studies. This tool could be very useful in selecting refractory grades for the copper industry and predicting their performance. INTRODUCTION Oxidation of matte sulfides during copper production leads to the formation of sulfur oxides, which infiltrate into the pores of the refractory lining and react with the basic oxides below 1000°C to form magnesium and calcium sulfates. This reaction is accompanied by an expressive volume increase, consequent densification of the refractory microstructure and weakening of the brick bond (Malfliet et al., 2013). Thus, corrosion by SO2/SO3 is an important wear mechanism in the non-ferrous industry and the resistance to this compound should be considered when defining refractories for this application. Previous studies on this matter include expensive and complex testing methods involving pressurized SO2 gas cylinders in order to investigate the corrosion resistance of MgO-containing materials by sulfur oxides (Gerle & Podwórny et al., 2016; Fotoyi & Eric, 2011; Fotoyi, 2009; Podwórny & Piotrowski et al., 2008). The current study was based on a test developed by Pacheco & Fonseca (2018) to assess alkali infiltration and aims to provide an evaluation method of the corrosion resistance of refractories by SO2/SO3 in a simple and quantitative manner. This novel test is useful to compare the corrosion resistance of different refractory recipes and properly select the grades that should be employed in the non-ferrous industry. A case study is provided to illustrate the damage caused by sulfur oxides in refractory linings.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019