CORROSIVE INTERACTION BETWEEN SLAGS HIGH IN COPPER
AND NICKEL OXIDES AND PERICLASE, PERICLASE-CHROMITE,
AND CHROMITE REFRACTORIES
M. S. Fedorov,
L. N. Ertseva,
and L. B. Tsymbulov
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 8, pp. 41 – 47, August, 2005.
Original article submitted February 21, 2005.
A mechanism of corrosive interaction between periclase-chromite, periclase, and chromite refractories and
molten copper (I) oxide and slag melts containing copper oxide and nickel oxide has been studied. The
refractories in question are shown to be insufficiently resistant to slag attack typical of smelting technologies
for converting nickel-containing copper sulfide mattes into blister copper.
Technologists at the Severonikel’ Kombinat JSC (Mon-
chegorsk, Murmansk Region, Russia), in developing a tech-
nology for the autogenous smelting of copper sulfide
nickel-containing concentrate for the manufacture of blister
copper in an oxygen top-blown unit , have met with the
problem of severe wear of the refractory lining in the slag
zone. The molten products were blister copper and slag con-
taining as major components copper oxide (up to 40 wt.%)
and nickel oxide (up to 15 wt.%).
During service, refractory components are exposed to a
variety of thermal, mechanical, and chemical factors. Despite
the large number of studies dedicated to the performance of
refractory lining in the copper metallurgy [2 – 9], to the best
of our knowledge no data on the interactions involving fluid
slag rich in copper and nickel oxides have been reported in
In [2, 3], the corrosive attack of a copper oxide slag on
the converter lining has been studied. It was concluded that
the main destructive factor was impregnation of the refrac
tory material with copper and copper compounds exhibiting
high wettability. In  (see also ), an opinion was voiced
that the lining erosion was due to the loss of intergranular co
hesion under the action of a disjoining force generated by the
movement of free-running copper oxides: the working layer
of the lining developed lability and gave way to attack by
slag and metal. It was concluded in [5 – 8], based on an in
spection of the refractory lining of copper converters, that
two major factors were involved in the lining failure: (i) ag
gressive attack of slag and (ii) infiltration of copper matte.
Laboratory tests carried out in [7, 8] showed that the occur-
rence of copper oxide in the fayalite slag increased the wear
rate of refractory components.
Our goal in this work was to study in some detail the
mechanism of resistance of periclase-chromite, periclase,
and chromite refractories to attack by molten slags contain-
ing copper oxide and nickel oxide in significant amounts.
For laboratory testing of periclase and periclase-chromite
refractories, test specimens in the form of cubes with an edge
of 50 mm and a hole of diameter 10 mm and depth of 30 mm
were prepared. Test specimens and a weighed portion of slag
(10 g) were placed in an alundum reactor under argon.
A graphite rod furnace was used to heat the reactor to
1300°C for 60 min. The impregnated section of test speci
mens were examined through the thickness by scanning elec
tron microscopy (SEM) and electron probe x-ray spectrum
microanalysis (XSMA); the same techniques were used to
analyze the intact (original) refractories.
To test the chromite refractory, rod specimens were pre
pared; these were kept immersed in the melt for 3 h.
The corrosive medium was modeled by pure copper (I)
oxide and Cu – Cu
O melt (the typical industrial slag from
an autogenous smelting unit) and a similar slag somewhat
higher in Cu
O. The chemical composition of melts is given
in Table 1.
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 46, No. 5, 2005
1083-4877/05/4605-0309 © 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Institut Gipronikel’ Joint-Stock Co., St. Petersburg, Russia.