SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENTS
LIQUID-PHASE CHEMICAL INTERACTION
BETWEEN CHROMITE-PERICLASE REFRACTORIES
AND CORROSIVE MEDIA IN NICKEL MATTE CONVERTER TECHNOLOGY
E. N. Gramenitskii,
T. I. Shchekina,
A. M. Batanova,
A. V. Likhodievskii,
B. N. Grigor’ev,
and A. N. Pyrikov
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 8, pp. 25 – 32, August, 2005.
Original article submitted April 18, 2005.
Results of a study of the mechanism of failure of chromite-periclase refractories used in nickel matte converter
technology are reported.
In modern metallurgy, two types of ore are used for pro-
duction of nickel: oxide-bearing nickel ore (ONO) and sul-
fide copper-nickel ore which account for 80% of the world
reserves. The general ONO processing flowchart (and that
adopted at South Ural Nickel Kombinat JSC) includes ore
agglomeration, shaft melting to obtain a matte, preparing a
converter matte, oxidative firing of the converter matte, and
reducing electric-arc melting of nickel oxide to obtain metal
Our goal in this work was to investigate the service of
chromite-periclase refractories in the lining of a horizontal
converter for preparation of nickel converter matt at the
South Ural Nickel Kombinat Joint-Stock Co. (city of Orsk).
Preparation of metallic nickel from matte by blow techno
logy in a converter was impossible because of the oxidation
leading to the scorifying of nickel oxide. The com
position of converter matte was 75 – 78% Ni, 21 – 24% S,
and 0.25 – 0.5% Fe; the composition of converter slag was
26 – 35% SiO
, 5 – 8% CaO, 5 – 7% Fe
42 – 47% FeO, and1–2%Ni.
The pre-service refractory (labeled N7) and post-service
refractory specimens (N1 and N2) sampled from different
parts of a converter were examined using Opton and Epi
gnost microscopes, a Camscan scanning electron microscope
fitted with a Link attachment, and a Camebax electron
microprobe. To identify the structure and phase composition,
photomicrographs taken in back-scattered electrons were
The original refractory (labeled as zone 0) was a com-
pact, solid material of dark-brown color composed of isomet
ric spheroidal aggregates 1 – 3.5 mm across and individual
grains of periclase (about 75%) 100 – 200 mm across and
chrome spinel (about 25%) of size several tenths of a milli
meter to 1.5 mm; these were cemented into a fine-grained
matrix of the same minerals (Fig. 1a ). Periclase was repre
sented by a nearly pure MgO with an iron ratio
F =Fe/(Fe + Mg) = 1%. Spinel was of three types: (i) large
(several hundreds of microns to 1.5 mm) uniform grain high
in chrome; (ii) borders of width up to 20 mm around polygo
nal periclase grains, and (iii) elongated or isometric periclase
ingrowths, several tenths of a micron to several microns
across. The varieties (ii) and (iii) are close in composition.
The chemical formula of variety (i) is Mg
and that of varieties (ii) and (iii), Mg
(Fig. 1b ). Pores account for not more than 3% of the total
volume of the specimen and are confined to the grain boun
daries of periclase and chrome spinel.
The post-service refractory material retains its original
texture; still, it develops a darker color, porosity, and a zonal
structure. For the most part, it remains virtually uniform; we
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 46, No. 5, 2005
1083-4877/05/4605-0301 © 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU), Moscow, Russia;
OgneuporTradeGroup Joint-Stock Co., Moscow, Russia.