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Technical Information 23

Factors Influencing the Recovery and Addition of Magnesium


in Ductile Iron Ladle Treatment Processes
Residual magnesium and magnesium recovery have always been subjects for discussion
amongst foundry people. This sheet summarises the most important factors that will
influence the recovery of magnesium in ductile iron production.
1) Sulphur content in base iron.
Sulphur has to be neutralised in order to increase the surface tension of the iron. High
sulphur in the base metal means increased Mg addition.
2) Oxygen content in base iron.
Oxygen has to be neutralised in order to increase the surface tension of the iron. As with
sulphur, increased oxygen content requires higher Mg addition.
3) Slag from the melting or holding furnace.
Slag that is transferred from the furnace will react with magnesium and reduce the
recovery. Proper separation procedures to minimise slag carry over need to be in place.
4) Tapping temperature.
Tapping (treatment) temperature should be kept as low as possible in order to avoid
excessive reaction violence. The higher the temperature, the more vaporization and lower
recovery of magnesium.
5) Time between MgFeSi addition to the ladle and tapping.
Time between magnesium addition and tapping should be minimised to prevent preheating
and oxidation of the alloy. At the same time, there should be no liquid metal residual from
previous treatments in the ladle as this may start to react with the alloy.
6) Slag in ladle and pocket.
Slag building up in the ladle and reaction pocket leads to reduced magnesium recovery,
probably due to reactions between the slag and the magnesium and also as the pocket
depth is reduced changing the reaction conditions. Overspill of alloy will occur if the
pocket is allowed to fill with slag. Ladles should be kept tilted when empty to avoid slag
clogging the pockets.
7) Alloy cover.
An alloy cover in the ladle, for example fine sized FeSi or steel plates, will delay the
reaction start and give better absorption of magnesium into the liquid metal.
8) Filling time.
Filling rate should be high in order to achieve a high ferrostatic head in the ladle before the
reaction starts.
9) Fading/Pouring time.
Long holding times after treatment and long pouring times require higher initial Mg
contents to compensate for fading effects. Pouring times should be minimised to
overcome these effects.

Elkem ASA, Foundry Products © Copyright Elkem ASA


Postal address Office address Telephone Web Revision
P.O.Box 5211 Majorstuen Hoffsveien 65B +47 22 45 01 00 www.foundry.elkem.com No. 2.1
NO-0302 Oslo Oslo Telefax Org. no. 20.03.2004
Norway Norway +47 22 45 01 52 NO 911 382 008 MVA
Technical Information 23 2

10) Inoculation.
With a good inoculation, less residual magnesium is required to give good nodularity. This
again means less alloy addition and better magnesium recovery.
11) Ladle design.
The ratio of internal Height: Diameter should be at least 2:1 and the pocket should have
space enough to carry the alloy addition and covering material (see TI sheet No.10). The
ladle should also be properly insulated to minimise heat losses and consequently the
required treatment temperature (see TI sheet No. 21). A tundish cover lid is also highly
recommended for alloy and temperature recovery reasons.
12) Chemical composition of nodulariser.
High magnesium content in the alloy will give a violent reaction and reduced recovery.
High Ca will reduce the reactivity and increase the recovery, but also increase the
tendency to slag formation. Rare earth’s (cerium) will assist in giving better recovery
because it allows for working at lower magnesium in the alloy and lower residual
magnesium in the iron (see TI sheet No. 20).
13) Alloy sizing.
A wide alloy sizing gives dense bulk packing in the pocket. The alloy will then fuse and
react (dissolve) slowly in a controlled manner with a minimum of pieces floating. Lumps
floating and burning on the surface are a waste (see TI sheet No. 20).
14) Storage of foundry alloys.
All foundry alloys will oxidise if exposed to moisture. Oxidised alloys will give a lower
recovery than fresh materials. Containers of alloy should be stored in a dry place and not
opened until required at the treatment station (see TI sheet No. 1).
R e q u ir e d M g F e S i
a d d it io n w t %

1 .9
O x id is e d
M g - a llo y .
1 .8 T a p p in g
te m p . T im e b e tw e e n L a d le d e s ig n
M gFeSi add. d ia m e t e r : h e ig h t C a = 0 ,5 , heavy
1 .7 1 5 2 0 °C R e = 0 ,5
a n d t a p p in g
S = 0 .0 1 6
5 m in 1 :1
1 .6 none C a = 0 ,5
lo t o f

S = 0 .0 1 1 4 8 0 °C 2 m in som e 1 :1 ,5 som e
som e C a = 1 ,0
1 .5
good
c le a n
1 .4 fu rn a c e 30 s C a = 2 ,5
1 4 6 0 °C A llo y
C over 1 :3
S = 0 .0 0 6 S la g in C a = 2 ,5 fre s h
1 .3 fu r n a c e .
S u lp h u r - R e = 1 ,5
c o n t.
1 .2 C h e m ic a l
c o m p o s it io n
of M gFeSi

Factors that can influence the MgFeSi addition to a ductile iron ladle treatment process.

Appendix:
Checklist Recovery and Addition of Mg in Ductile Iron Ladle Treatment Processes.
Technical Information 23 - Appendix
Checklist - Recovery and Addition of Mg
in Ductile Iron Ladle Treatment Processes
For process improvements fill in information in the white fields.

To help you detect possible causes for sudden changes in Mg-recovery and needed Mg-
addition, fill in both white and grey fields.

1 S-Content in Base Iron max. 0.020 wt%


Before Now

Final S-Content max. 0.015 wt%


Before Now

Residual Mg-Content in the range 0.03 – 0.06 wt%


Before Now

2 O Content in Base Iron:


Before Now
if measured

3 Remember to remove slag!


Any process disturbances reported?

4 Tapping Temperature 1450 – 1500°C


Before Now

Treatment Size Before kg


Now kg

5 Keep time between addition to ladle and treatment short!


Any process disturbances reported?

6 Slag in ladle or pocket ?

Elkem ASA, Foundry Products © Copyright Elkem ASA


Postal address Office address Telephone Web Revision
P.O.Box 5211 Majorstuen Hoffsveien 65B +47 22 45 01 00 www.foundry.elkem.com No. 2.1
NO-0302 Oslo Oslo Telefax Org. no. 20.03.2004
Norway Norway +47 22 45 01 52 NO 911 382 008 MVA
Technical Information 23 - Appendix 2

7 Cover Material % addition


Before
Type
Now
Type

8 Keep the filling rate into the ladle high!


Any process disturbances reported?

9 Keep holding and pouring time short!


Any process disturbances reported?

10 Inoculation Before Now


Nodule count nodules/mm2
Chill wedge mm

11 H : D – Ratio Lower 2:1 Higher


Before
Now

12 Alloy Composition Before Now Spec


Mg-Content wt%
Ce-Content wt%
Ca-Content wt%
Al-content wt%

New lot?

13 Alloy Sizing min max % undersize


Before
Now

14 Correct storage of foundry alloys


In house
Outdoor
Weather changes? Yes No