Towards a Comprehensive Model of the Flash Smelting Furnace

Additonal authors: Taskinen, P.. 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

Jokilaakso, A.

The Flash Smelting Process for copper and nickel production has been one of the most successful new metallurgical process developments in the 20th century. The experimental data from laboratory scale investigations of studies has produced information and insight into the reaction mechanisms and kinetics of the flash reactions of copper concentrates. Advanced computer models coupling chemical reactions with a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software became possible with the development of commercial CFD software together with increased computing power. Currently, there are both experimental and CFD modelling, including also CFD–DEM coupling (Discrete Element Method), studies ongoing for investigating the kinetics of matte – slag reactions in the flash smelting furnace (FSF) settler. The ultimate goal of the modelling work is to develop a comprehensive FSF model for studying the behavior of changing raw materials, both primary and secondary, and distribution of their elements between the matte, slag, and gas phases. The use of User-Defined-Functions (UDF) is one way to digitalize metallurgical knowledge and experimental information to be used for supporting process experts and development of artificial intelligence applications in metallurgy. In this paper, a review of the development of the FSF reaction shaft modelling and experimental investigations, and the current work for the settler reactions’ experiments and modelling are presented. INTRODUCTION The Outotec Flash Smelting process (Bryk, Ryselin, Honkasalo, & Malmström 1958) has been used in the copper and nickel industry for 70 years with continuous support from experimental investigations by many research groups in academia, among others Jorgensen and Segnit (1977); Jokilaakso, Suominen, Taskinen and Lilius (1991), Chaubal and Sohn (1986), Kim and Themelis (1986), and in industry Mäkinen and Jåfs (1982); Kojo, Lahtinen and Miettinen (2009); Tuominen, Pienimäki and Fagerlund (2016). It has been developed also for pyrite and lead smelting (Asteljoki, Sulanto & Talonen, 1984). A schematic illustration of the FSF and other main parts of the process is depicted in Figure 1. Also, two and three dimensional physical water or gas models have extensively been used in product and process development (Lilja & Rajainmäki 1995). During the recent decades, computer based models have increasingly been adopted in the FSF research and development (Ahokainen & Jokilaakso, 1998); Ahokainen, Jokilaakso, Taskinen & Kytö, 2006; Hahn & Sohn, 1990; Jorgensen & Elliot, 1992; Zhou, Zhou, Chen & Mao, 2014; White, Haywood, Ranasinghe & Chen, 2015) to name a few, but also in supporting engineering and sales of the technology (Miettinen 2017). Even though the reactions of the sulfidic concentrate particles have been included in the reaction shaft modelling, the complete FSF model with both gas-solid/drop and molten slag/matte drop has so far been and still is too demanding for today’s computer hardware.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019