Additonal authors: Hayes, P. C.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
Continuous integrated experimental and thermodynamic modelling work is conducted in Pyrometallurgy Innovation Center (PYROSEARCH). The target is to develop a tool, which is capable to predict the compositions of phases, phase equilibria and enthalpy balance for pyrometallugical processes with higher accuracy. All these can be achieved by thermodynamic calculations based on Gibbs energy minimization algorithm. Recent developments made it possible to predict important factors, such as the chemical solubility of Cu in slag as a function of matte grade, temperature, P(SO2), Fe/SiO2 ratio in slag, wt% Al2O3, CaO and MgO in slag. In industrial practice, it is not only chemical solubility, but the overall amount of slag, which affects the recovery of copper and other valuable metals. It will also impact the energy balance. The presence of solids in the slag matrix influences the physical entrainment of matte in slag. Oxygen enrichment which is sometimes used to control the temperature of the furnace, may also affect the volatilization of minor elements into the gas phase. Same is true if additional fuel is used to compensate for heat balance. In other words, all key process parameters mentioned above are interrelated. Present study demonstrates the ways thermodynamic modelling can be used to link those process parameters on the example of copper smelting.
Research methodology involving integrated thermodynamic modelling and experimental approach has been recently reported by the authors (Shishin, Hayes, & Jak, 2018 Shishin, Hidayat, Jak, Decterov, & Belov, 2016). Present paper reviews the updates and discusses challenges in the development of a large self- consistent thermodynamic database. The database covers the Al-Ca-Cu-Fe-Mg-O-Pb-S-Si-Zn-(Ag, As, Au, Bi, Ni, Sb, Sn) chemical system. The database works in the environment of FactSage software Bale et al., 2016 and related family of products: ChemApp (Petersen & Hack, 2007), ChemSheet and SimuSage. A list of phases, and thermodynamic models is shown in Table 1. For the copper industry, most important phases are Gas, Slag, Spinel and Liquid matte/metal/speiss. Black-colored elements represent the base system, elements in green can be considered as slag modifiers (slagging elements), and elements in red are minor. Ni is highlighted because it was included recently, in 2019, and currently under development. In addition to copper, the database covers the conditions typical for lead and zinc pyrometallurgical extraction. It is developed in consistency with the experimental results for high concentrations of Pb and Zn. Examples of applications in the present study include the thermodynamic analysis of fluxing for an agitated copper reactor to show the effect of Fe/SiO2, and calculations of copper slag cleaning using reductant.