PHASE FORMATION PROCESSES AND STRUCTURAL CHANGES
IN CHROMITE-PERICLASE REFRACTORIES
USED DURING NICKEL PRODUCTION
T. I. Shchekina,
E. N. Gramenitskii,
A. M. Batanova,
Ya. O. Alfer’eva,
A. A. Sokolov,
R. A. Trofimenko,
A. N. Pyrikov,
B. N. Grigor’ev,
A. V. Likhodievskii,
and T. N. Us
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 10, pp. 22 – 37, October 2011.
Original article submitted March 15, 2011.
Results are presented for mineral and petrographic study of chromite-periclase refractories used for obtaining
nickel in RNB arc furnaces under ZF AO GMK Noril’sk Nickel enterprise conditions. The nature and mecha
nism of refractory breakdown during service is revealed on the basis of studying the chemical and phase com
position of reaction zones formed in a refractory, and versions are considered for improving their service life.
Keywords: refractory, furnace lining, specimen structure, refractory corrosion and breakdown, chemical and
phase composition, molten slag and nickel, reaction zone.
In recent years the authors of this article have carried out
research in studying the chemical reaction of refractories
with technogenic melts from a position of diffusion theory of
metasomatic zonality, developed by petrologists for natural
processes . In studying different refractories used in fer-
rous [2 – 5] and nonferrous [6, 7] metallurgy, and glass pro-
duction [8, 9], it has been shown that during reaction of
refractories and melts in the contact area of a refractory lin
ing a number of zones arise, differing with respect to chemi
cal and mineral composition, structure, and texture, and con
sequently in physicomechanical properties. Results of work
for studying the reaction of refractory materials of different
composition with technogenic melts, obtained previously,
have been summarized in monographs by Belyankin 
and Karyakin . In one of the latest works of Fedorov with
co-authors , devoted to studying this phenomenon during
copper-nickel production, a series of practical recommenda
tions are made for preventing refractory corrosion. In spite of
the prolonged history of studying reaction processes, many
unresolved questions remain in this field. Use of electron mi
croscopy and local x-ray spectral analysis combined with an
approach to the problem of refractory resistance from the
point of view of reaction zonality, makes it possible in a new
way to consider important scientific and practical relation-
ships of the reaction of refractories and melts.
Results are lodged in this work for studying the reaction
of chromite-periclase refractory grade SL3D with molten
slag and nickel during the service of refractory of a
three-phase RNB arc furnace in the stage of obtaining nickel
metal with reduction electric smelting of nickel oxide. The
aim of the work was a study of slag and refractory object
specimens for nickel production, analysis of the nature and
possible reasons for their breakdown, and also consideration
of versions for improving service life.
Specimens of chromite-periclase grade SL3D after ser
vice in a furnace and a slag specimen (NOR-1) were studied.
Refractory specimens were selected at the level of the fur
nace slag belt: one (NOR-2) was selected in an intermediate
zone, i.e., in the lining area between furnace electrodes; an
other (NOR-5) was selected in the phase wound zone, imme
diately adjacent to one of the electrodes.
A study was carried out first in transparent-polished
microsections by traditional optical microscopy, and then by
means of a microprobe unit based on a scanning electron mi
croscope Jeol ISM-6480 LV in the petrography faculty of
Moscow State University. Analysis of the structure and tex
tural relationships was performed using images in back-scat
tered electrons (BSE). The chemical composition of phases
was obtained by means of microprobe analysis. Petrochemi
cal recalculations of bulk analyses of refractories with re
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 52, No. 5, January, 2012
1083-4877/12/05205-0363 © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.
Polar Branch of GMK Noril’sk Nickel, Noril’sk, Russia.
OOO Refractory Trade Group, Moscow, Russia.