The  High Temperature Processing (HTP) Program aims to develop or improve the processing of ferrous and non-ferrous metal productions towards more efficient and energy-saving routes to meet the increasing demand of elemental metals and reuse, or recycle, of secondary resources for a sustainable society.

Research interests within this program will focus on the fundamental themes:

  • Thermodynamics and phase equilibria of metallurgical slags
  • Physicochemical properties of metallurgical slags
  • Reactions mechanisms and kinetics of slag-metal-refractory systems
  • Fluid dynamics of the bath smelting furnaces

Projects within this program

1. Thermodynamic and physicochemical properties of metallurgical slags

Advanced experimental techniques have been developed to determine the phase equilibria and viscosity of various metallurgical slag systems accurately, including ironmaking slags, steel-refining slags, copper smelting/converting/refining slags, direct-to-blister slags, zinc and lead smelting slags, ferromanganese slags, and vanadium-aluminium slags, etc, providing reliable data to improve the industrial processing, secondary resource recycle, and re-utilisation of industrial waste. This program collaborates broadly with ferrous and non-ferrous industry partners.

2. Fluid dynamics of the bath smelters

Water model of horizontal cylinders fitted with gas injection lances has been built to simulate the flow dynamics of melts in the copper smelter or converter. Gas injection rate, angle, bath layers and height can be easily adjusted to investigate the phenomena of mixing, wave formation, plume eye, and splashing occurred in the reactors. These parameters can be used to build empirical equations to provide the design and operational strategies of industrial applications for increasing production efficiency and reducing energy consumption.

3. Utilisation of complex ores and secondary resources

High-grade resources are continuously depleted, so developing an alternative route to utilise low-grade and complex ores, or recycle of valuable metals from secondary resources is increasingly important to a sustainable society.

The main areas of focus currently include:

  • Efficient and clean blast furnace ironmaking
  • Slag cleaning of copper smelting slags
  • V-Al alloy production from vanadium ores
  • Extraction of vanadium from steel converting slags
  • Extraction of valuable metals from polymetallic nodules
  • Ferro-nickel and nickel matte production from laterite ores
  • Extraction of valuable metals and non-hazardous treatment of digested tungsten residuals for safe disposal

 

4. Particle metallurgy of steelmaking

Particles in the steels include oxides, sulphides, carbides, nitrides, etc, which significantly influence various properties of steels. Sophisticated controlling of the particles can be employed positively, to enhance steel properties. This program attracts the interest of steelmaking companies for developing and improving high-quality steels.

The main topics currently include:

  • Inclusion engineering of steels
  • “Oxide metallurgy” of offshore engineering steels
  • Micro-alloying secondary-precipitates-strengthening spring steels
  • Modification of manganese sulphides by calcium/magnesium-treatment in gear steels

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Baojun Zhao accepting The Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award for a paper “Phase equilibrium studies of ‘Cu2O’-SiO2-Al2O3 system in equilibrium with metallic copper” published by Journal of the American Ceramic Society in 2013 which was co-authored with Dr Mao Chen. The Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award, a prestigious annual award for published research papers, articles, or reports, cited the paper as making the most valuable contribution to phase stability relationships in ceramic-based systems, by the award committee of The American Ceramic Society.