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Argon oxygen decarburization (AOD) is a process primarily used in stainless steel making and other high grade alloys with oxidizable elements such as chromium and aluminum. After initial melting the metal is then transferred to an AOD vessel where it will be subjected to three steps of refining; decarburization, reduction, and desulfurization.
The AOD process was invented in 1954 by the Lindé Division of The Union Carbide Corporation(which became known as Praxair in 1992).
The AOD process is usually divided in three main steps: decarburization, reduction, and desulfurization.
Prior to the decarburization step, one more step should be taken into consideration: de-siliconization, which is a very important factor for refractory lining and further refinement.
The decarburization step is controlled by ratios of oxygen to argon or nitrogen to remove the carbon from the metal bath. The ratios can be done in any number of phases to facilitate the reaction. The gases are usually blown through a top lance (oxygen only) and tuyeres in the sides/bottom (oxygen with an inert gas shroud). The stages of blowing remove carbon by the combination of oxygen and carbon forming CO gas.
To drive the reaction to the forming of CO, the partial pressure of CO is lowered using argon or nitrogen. Since the AOD vessel is not externally heated, the blowing stages are also used for temperature control. The burning of carbon increases the bath temperature. By the end of this process around 97% of Cr is retained in the steel.
After a desired carbon and temperature level have been reached the process moves to reduction. Reduction recovers the oxidized elements such as chromium from the slag. To achieve this, alloy additions are made with elements that have a higher affinity for oxygen than chromium, using either a silicon alloy or aluminum. The reduction mix also includes lime (CaO) and fluorspar (CaF2). The addition of lime and fluorspar help with driving the reduction of Cr2O3 and managing the slag, keeping the slag fluid and volume small.
Desulfurization is achieved by having a high lime concentration in the slag and a low oxygen activity in the metal bath.
So, additions of lime are added to dilute sulfur in the metal bath. Also, aluminum or silicon may be added to remove oxygen. Other trimming alloy additions might be added at the end of the step. After sulfur levels have been achieved the slag is removed from the AOD vessel and the metal bath is ready for tapping. The tapped bath is then either sent to a stir station for further chemistry trimming or to a caster for casting.
Stainless steel is a group of ferrous alloys that contain a minimum of approximately 11% chromium, a composition that prevents the iron from rusting and also provides heat-resistant properties. Different types of stainless steel include the elements carbon, nitrogen, aluminium, silicon, sulfur, titanium, nickel, copper, selenium, niobium, and molybdenum. Specific types of stainless steel are often designated by their AISI three-digit number, e.g., 304 stainless. The ISO 15510 standard lists the chemical compositions of stainless steels of the specifications in existing ISO, ASTM, EN, JIS, and GB (Chinese) standards in a useful interchange table.
Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore in order to extract a base metal. It is a form of extractive metallurgy. It is used to extract many metals from their ores, including silver, iron, copper, and other base metals. Smelting uses heat and a chemical reducing agent to decompose the ore, driving off other elements as gases or slag and leaving the metal base behind. The reducing agent is commonly a fossil fuel source of carbon, such as coke—or, in earlier times, charcoal. The oxygen in the ore binds to carbon at high temperatures due to the lower potential energy of the bonds in carbon dioxide. Smelting most prominently takes place in a blast furnace to produce pig iron, which is converted into steel.
Steelmaking is the process of producing steel from iron ore and/or scrap. In steelmaking, impurities such as nitrogen, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and excess carbon are removed from the sourced iron, and alloying elements such as manganese, nickel, chromium, carbon and vanadium are added to produce different grades of steel. Limiting dissolved gases such as nitrogen and oxygen and entrained impurities in the steel is also important to ensure the quality of the products cast from the liquid steel.
A period 3 element is one of the chemical elements in the third row of the periodic table of the chemical elements. The periodic table is laid out in rows to illustrate recurring (periodic) trends in the chemical behaviour of the elements as their atomic number increases: a new row is begun when the periodic table skips a row and a chemical behaviour begins to repeat, meaning that elements with similar behaviour fall into the same vertical columns. The third period contains eight elements: sodium, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, and argon. The first two, sodium and magnesium, are members of the s-block of the periodic table, while the others are members of the p-block. All of the period 3 elements occur in nature and have at least one stable isotope.
Slag is the glass-like by-product left over after a desired metal has been separated from its raw ore. Slag is usually a mixture of metal oxides and silicon dioxide. However, slags can contain metal sulfides and elemental metals. While slags are generally used to remove waste in metal smelting, they can also serve other purposes, such as assisting in the temperature control of the smelting, and minimizing any re-oxidation of the final liquid metal product before the molten metal is removed from the furnace and used to make solid metal. In some smelting processes, such as ilmenite smelting to produce titanium dioxide, the slag is the valuable product instead of the metal.
Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, with the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal.
Basic oxygen steelmaking, also known as Linz-Donawitz steelmaking or the oxygen converter process is a method of primary steelmaking in which carbon-rich molten pig iron is made into steel. Blowing oxygen through molten pig iron lowers the carbon content of the alloy and changes it into low-carbon steel. The process is known as basic because fluxes of burnt lime or dolomite, which are chemical bases, are added to promote the removal of impurities and protect the lining of the converter.
An electric arc furnace (EAF) is a furnace that heats charged material by means of an electric arc.
Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area and electrode are protected from oxidation or other atmospheric contamination by an inert shielding gas. A filler metal is normally used, though some welds, known as autogenous welds, or fusion welds do not require it. When helium is used, this is known as heliarc welding. A constant-current welding power supply produces electrical energy, which is conducted across the arc through a column of highly ionized gas and metal vapors known as a plasma. GTAW is most commonly used to weld thin sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. The process grants the operator greater control over the weld than competing processes such as shielded metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding, allowing for stronger, higher quality welds. However, GTAW is comparatively more complex and difficult to master, and furthermore, it is significantly slower than most other welding techniques. A related process, plasma arc welding, uses a slightly different welding torch to create a more focused welding arc and as a result is often automated.
Pyrometallurgy is a branch of extractive metallurgy. It consists of the thermal treatment of minerals and metallurgical ores and concentrates to bring about physical and chemical transformations in the materials to enable recovery of valuable metals. Pyrometallurgical treatment may produce products able to be sold such as pure metals, or intermediate compounds or alloys, suitable as feed for further processing. Examples of elements extracted by pyrometallurgical processes include the oxides of less reactive elements like iron, copper, zinc, chromium, tin, and manganese.
Shielding gases are inert or semi-inert gases that are commonly used in several welding processes, most notably gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding. Their purpose is to protect the weld area from oxygen, and water vapour. Depending on the materials being welded, these atmospheric gases can reduce the quality of the weld or make the welding more difficult. Other arc welding processes use alternative methods of protecting the weld from the atmosphere as well – shielded metal arc welding, for example, uses an electrode covered in a flux that produces carbon dioxide when consumed, a semi-inert gas that is an acceptable shielding gas for welding steel.
Decarburization is the process opposite to carburization, namely the reduction of carbon content.
Ferrovanadium (FeV) is an alloy formed by combining iron and vanadium with a vanadium content range of 35–85%. The production of this alloy results in a grayish silver crystalline solid that can be crushed into a powder called "ferrovanadium dust". Ferrovanadium is a universal hardener, strengthener and anti-corrosive additive for steels like high-strength low-alloy steel, tool steels, as well as other ferrous-based products. It has significant advantages over both iron and vanadium individually. Ferrovanadium is used as an additive to improve the qualities of ferrous alloys. One such use is to improve corrosion resistance to alkaline reagents as well as sulfuric and hydrochloric acids. It is also used to improve the tensile strength to weight ratio of the material. One application of such steels is in the chemical processing industry for high pressure high throughput fluid handling systems dealing with industrial scale sulfuric acid production. It is also commonly used for hand tools e.g. spanners (wrenches), screwdrivers, ratchets, etc.
Chromium(II) carbide is a ceramic compound that exists in several chemical compositions: Cr3C2, Cr7C3, and Cr23C6. At standard conditions it exists as a gray solid. It is extremely hard and corrosion resistant. It is also a refractory compound, which means that it retains its strength at high temperatures as well. These properties make it useful as an additive to metal alloys. When chromium carbide crystals are integrated into the surface of a metal it improves the wear resistance and corrosion resistance of the metal, and maintains these properties at elevated temperatures. The hardest and most commonly used composition for this purpose is Cr3C2.
Nitriding is a heat treating process that diffuses nitrogen into the surface of a metal to create a case-hardened surface. These processes are most commonly used on low-alloy steels. They are also used on titanium, aluminium and molybdenum.
Alloy steel is steel that is alloyed with a variety of elements in total amounts between 1.0% and 50% by weight to improve its mechanical properties. Alloy steels are broken down into two groups: low alloy steels and high alloy steels. The difference between the two is disputed. Smith and Hashemi define the difference at 4.0%, while Degarmo, et al., define it at 8.0%. Most commonly, the phrase "alloy steel" refers to low-alloy steels.
Deoxidization is a method used in metallurgy to remove the oxygen content during steel manufacturing. In contrast, antioxidants are used for stabilization, such as in the storage of food. Deoxidation is important in the steelmaking process as oxygen is often detrimental to the quality of steel produced. Deoxidization is mainly achieved by adding a separate chemical species to neutralize the effects of oxygen or by directly removing the oxygen.
Cobalt-chrome or cobalt-chromium (CoCr) is a metal alloy of cobalt and chromium. Cobalt-chrome has a very high specific strength and is commonly used in gas turbines, dental implants, and orthopedic implants.
The salt extraction process is an electrolytic method which may be used to extract valuable metals from slag, low-grade ores, or other materials by using molten salts. This method was developed by S. Seetharaman, O. Grinder, L. Teng and X. Ge at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden as part of a large Steel Eco-Cycle Project in 2005.