PHYSICOMECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF LINING MATERIALS
BEFORE AND AFTER USE IN AN ELECTROLYZER
A. M. Ivanova,
G. V. Arkhipov,
V. V. Pingin,
V. S. Timofeev,
and D. Yu. Nikitenko
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 8, pp. 22 – 28, August, 2009.
Original article submitted March 17, 2009.
Lining materials for metallurgical plant undergo substantial changes during use, which influences their operat
ing parameters. We have examined the changes in composition and property of materials for lining aluminum
electrolyzers after various working times by the use of special measuring systems. Measurements are pre
sented on the properties of bottom blocks and joints, refractory and heat-insulating materials in the lining, and
results are given on the phase composition after use. These properties are necessary for the simulation of phys
ical fields on upgrading existing and future electrolyzers.
Keywords: measurement suite, measurement, properties, thermal conductivity, electrical resistance, strength,
elastic modulus, thermal expansion, sodium expansion.
Computer simulation is now widely applied to the pro-
cesses in aluminum-producing electrolyzers during the up-
grading of existing systems and the design of new ones with
good economic parameters. In order to simulate correctly the
thermoelectric fields and states of stress and strain in an
electrolyzer, one needs to know the electrical conductivity,
the thermal conductivity, the elastic modulus, Poisson’s ratio,
the linear expansion coefficient (LEC), the sodium swelling
in the bottom blocks, the yield point, and the work harden
ing. In order to evaluate the scope for failure of the materials,
one needs to know the strength characteristics, and correct
evaluation of the mechanical stresses and strains over time
requires a knowledge of the creep characteristics, which can
be determined only by experiment.
All these properties alter substantially during the opera
tion of the electrolyzer in response to temperature and com
ponents of the liquid :
1) the bottom material on heating to working tempera
tures is transformed from a material with low electrical con
ductivity to an electrically conducting one, and from being a
material with strength close to zero, it is transformed into a
material with strength similar to that of the bottom blocks;
during use there are increases in the electrical conductivity
and thermal conductivity, while the strength and elastic
modulus are governed by the quality of the mass and may de-
crease almost to zero;
2) the bottom and side blocks have electrical conductiv-
ity and thermal conductivity that may alter by a large factor,
with the strength reduced by 50% or more and the TEC in-
creasing by a factor3–5;and
3) the refractory and thermal insulating materials be
come impregnated with components of the liquid and thus
increase in density and thermal conductivity in a way de
pendent on their position in the width and base, and they tend
to form a monolith.
It has been shown  how the changes in properties of
the lining materials affect the work of the electrolyzer.
The present study was directed to the physicomechanical
properties of the lining materials after dry dismounting of
electrolyzers with various working periods in order to evalu
ate the quality of the materials and perform more precise
strength calculations and more detailed energy balances for
the electrolyzers. The experiments on those properties were
performed by the use of IK-4 and TEP measuring suites to
gether with a DP measuring system with automatic control
and computer processing of the test data.
In the IK-4 (Fig. 1a ), there are the following compo
nents: system 1 for determining the sodium expansion; con
trol rack 2; equipment 3 for determining the TEC of the bot
tom blocks and other lining materials, particularly the ther
mal expansion and shrinkage in the bottom material; a device
for determining the elastic modulus by a static method; and a
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 50, No. 4, 2009
1083-4877/09/5004-0282 © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Elter NTC Incorporated, Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Engineering Technology Center in Krasnoyarsk Branch of RUS
Engineering, OK RUSAL Corporation, Krasnoyarsk, Russia.