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Advanced Materials Research Vols.

807-809 (2013) pp 2328-2331

Online available since 2013/Sep/10 at
(2013) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland

Comprehensive utilization and discussion of Iron and steel metallurgical

Xinlong Yang1,a, Huixin Dai2,b*, Xiang Li3,c

Faculty of Land Resource Engineering, Kunming University of Science and Technology,

Kunming, 650093, China

Key words: Ferrous metallurgy; blast furnace; slag; oxide scale; comprehensive utilization;

Abstract. In recent years, the steel industry is in decline. To reduce environmental pollution,
increase corporate profits and promote the sustainable development of China's steel industry,
developing steel metallurgical slags comprehensive utilization has a very important significance.
This article describe the present situation and problems in China's steel metallurgy slag
comprehensive utilization, and reach the conclusion that the present method should be improved
and the new method of comprehensive utilization should be further developed.
China has the largest steel output in the world. In 2012 China's crude steel output has reached 716
million tons. To promote the development of iron and steel enterprises, effectively using a large
number of metallurgical slags in the process of iron and steel smelting and reducing environmental
pollution have more important significance.
The main metallurgy slag consist of blast furnace slag, steel slag, iron oxide scale, scrap iron, red
mud, ash blast furnace and gas dust, etc. The first three is the main waste of iron and steel
metallurgy. This paper focuses on these three solid slags; discuss their present comprehensive
utilizations existing problems.
Blast furnace slag and steel slag utilization
Blast furnace slag comes from blast furnace discharge. Steel slag comes from steelmaking
process which is divided into converter slag and electric furnace slag. The main chemical
composition of blast furnace slag and steel slag is SiO2, CaO, Al2O3, MgO and MnO, etc. [1-2]. The
utilization ways of the two slags are similar.
Building materials applications. After water quenching cooling, blast furnace slag and steel slag
will form the vitreous mineral crystal. Study shows that both kinds of slag containing active mineral
such as C2S and C3S. Blast furnace slag and steel slag, therefore, need to be added exciting agent to
inspire the potential hydraulic activity. After adding silicate cement clinker, gypsum, and blast
furnace slag can produce blast furnace slag cement; Steel slag adding zeolite or fly ash can produce
steel slag fly ash cement and steel slag cement. Research shows that the slag micro powder and steel
slag powder can be equivalent to replace all kinds of concrete.
Using their hydraulic gelation properties, blast furnace slag can be made as slag brick, sintering
brick, slag ceramics and other building materials by deep processing. Also, the steel slag can be
widely used in producing steel slag brick, laying foundations, engineering backfill and dike and
dam construction, etc.
The recovery of valuable elements. Except Fe element, other valuable elements also contain in
blast furnace slag. Such as titaniferous slag, which content high titanium in 21 to 23%. At present
the enrichment methods of titanium which has been studied mainly include: extracting TiCl4 from
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Advanced Materials Research Vols. 807-809


blast furnace slag by high temperature carbonization and low temperature selective chlorination;
Plasma melting reduction produce titanium silicon alloy from titanium blast furnace slag; Recover
titanium by ammonium sulfate melting method [2].
Because of contains a lot of steel, steel slag can be recycled. The basic flow of recovery is broken
- screening - magnetic separation. To achieve high recovery rate of steel slag, plant often use
multiple stage crushing process. Through magnetic separation, slag and steels iron grade average in
more than 55%.
Used for flux in the iron making. Steel slag mainly used for sintering flux and the flux of
ironmaking in the iron making.
Sintered flux was mostly limestone, when CaO, MgO and iron oxide in converter steel slag
content in 40~50% [3]. Therefore, steel slag, after the fine grinding, can replace part of limestone as
the sintering burden. Joining steel slag can not only improve the permeability of sinter bed, make
CaO easily react with iron ores, increase the liquid phase in sintering process and increase the sinter
drum strength; but also reduce the intake of limestone, reduce heat absorption of CaCO3
decomposition, improve sintering temperature relatively.
Steel slag can be added to the blast furnace as ironmaking flux. Without carbonate decomposition,
CaO and MgO in steel slag can have the effect of the limestone flux in ironmaking process. It can
reduce the amount of limestone and dolomite, reduce the consumption of coke, and recycle iron
components of steel slag.
Agricultural production applications. Containing in Blast furnace slag and steel slag, Ca, P, Si,
Mg and other elements, which is crops need, can be used for making silicon fertilizer,
calcium-magnesia phosphate fertilizer and other fertilizers. Silicon is needed by rice. And silicon
fertilizer made of two kinds of slag contained a lot of citrate acid soluble silicon which can easily be
absorbed by rice. This silicon can make up for the inadequacy of natural silicon in soil. After
absorbing silicon, rice can deposit this silicon on the leaf epidermis cells, inhibit plant transpiration,
raise photosynthetic rate. So applying blast furnace slag and steel slag silicon fertilizer into the rice
paddies can improve rice growth and increase yield.
Blast furnace slag and steel slag contents more alkaline compound such as CaO and MgO. So it
can be applied into the acidic soil to use as acidic soil conditioner.
Used for treatment of wastewater and waste gas. With high basicity, porous, large surface and
density, steel slags price is low. So it can be used in the processing of industrial waste water and
waste gas.
To purify waste water, steel slag is mainly used its good filtration and adsorption properties.
Study shows that the surface of the steel slag with negative charge, can adsorption of cationic. Steel
slag has better removal effection to some anionic compounds such as Congo red [4].
Steel slag can be used to handle acid gases by made into slurry. Alkaline substances which is
contained steel slag react with SO2 on the absorption of acid gases. Studies have shown that in
serum, SO2 and H2O react and generates HSO3-. HSO3- decomposed into SO32- and H+. Iron and
manganese oxide in serum can let SO32- oxidize to SO42-, and desulphurize waste gas. CaO and SiO2
in steel slag will join hydration reaction at the same time; accelerate the process of absorption of
Iron oxide scale utilization
During hot rolling or forging, steel can react with oxygen in the air and produce large amounts of
iron oxide scales. Fe content is high (up to 80~90%) in oxide iron scale. Iron oxide scales can be
used in metallurgy, chemical industry and the preparation of the use of permanent magnets, etc.


Environmental Protection and Resources Exploitation

Used as sintering and antioxidant. Because the iron content is high, iron oxide scales is often used
as a raw material to return to the sintering, ironmaking and steelmaking process.
FeO in the iron oxide scales is as good as sintering material reducing agent. So the scales can be
added in sintering material to make FeO turn to Fe2O3 to improve the level of sintering temperature.
So the scales can improve the drum index and the grade of sinter. Many sintering plant use the
scales into the sintering process. But the iron oxide oil content is higher. Deoiling must be carried
out before use.
Except for sintering, iron oxide can also be mixed with other ferrous materials after grinding to
produce metallized pellets and cold consolidation pellets. After balling, pellets turn to pelletizing
production in annular furnace; after briquetting and calcining in low temperature, pressure ball can
be directly into the ironmaking.
Scales may also used as oxidant assisted in electric furnace steelmaking or converter steelmaking
slag agent after dehydration. In addition, iron oxide can produce silicon alloy, steel-making
deoxidizing agent and additives.
The preparation of high purity ferric oxide. Ferrite is used as a basis to create the magnetic field
in the electronics industry. Fe2O3 content is higher, so scales can be used in the preparation of
permanent magnetic ferrite.
Iron oxide scales processing methods are screening-dry magnetic separation and screening-fine
grinding-oxidation. Screening-dry magnetic separation method need removing oil and drying scales
first, screening, and selecting with a belt magnetic separator. Product is used as permanent magnet
ferrite under-burnt clinker. Screening-fine grinding-oxidation method is to put the scales sieving
after fine grinding to 5 microns below. Then put the powder into the oxidative kiln. Fe3O4 is
oxidated Fe2O3. Product is used as high-grade permanent magnetic ferrite materials.
Iron oxide scales is suitable in the chemical industry as a raw material to produce iron oxide red.
At present, most iron oxide red was produced by liquid phase precipitation method.
Discussions of steel metallurgical slag utilization existing problems
Blast furnace slag and steel slag. With the development of construction industry and the huge
demand of high strength cement and high strength concrete, steel slag cement with relatively poor
mechanical properties can't meet the needs of a large number of buildings. Dry granulating
technology [5] will granulate blast furnace slag to granulating slag. By forced cooling and steam
heat exchange, the process output low temperature furnace slag and middle temperature steam. This
method, recycling heat and simultaneous produce cement, succeed in high efficient utilization of
waste residue, should get further development.
Steel slag can be used to instead of limestone in sintered material, but it containing P, S two kinds
of harmful elements. After adding steel slag in the sinter, these two elements will be into the closed
cycle of smelting, and make pig iron brittle. If P and S can be removed before sintering, it can
reduce the enrichment of harmful elements in smelting cycle and improve the quality of sinter.
Iron oxide scales. Sintering process which put iron oxide scales as sinter feed ingredients are
complex and expensive. Zinc oxide contained in scales may grow nodules in blast furnace and
affect the life of blast furnace. When it was added in sintering material, chlorine can react with zinc
oxide during sintering and generate volatile ZnCl2. For sinter, half of zinc can be removed in this
Iron oxide scales scales have some impurities; bring some difficulties for the production of high
purity ferric oxide. By combining magnetic separation method and oxidation method, the purity of
the product could be further improved.

Advanced Materials Research Vols. 807-809


Comprehensive utilization of metallurgical slag should be used with less investment, technology
diversification and products diversification. Comprehensive utilization with high efficiency and
energy saving is related to science and technology, and workers need to in-depth study of this
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant
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[3] Enjia Wang, Yue Zhang, Xiangxin Xue, et al. Recovery of titanium from titanium bearing blast
furnace slag by ammonium sulfate melting method [J]. CIESC Journal, 2012, 63(3):991-995. (In
[4] Guanghui Li, Bin Wu, Yuanbo Zhang, et al. Mineralogical characteristics and comprehensive
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[5] Wen Wang, Li Xie, Shuai Wang, et al. Adsorption properties and mechanism of anionic Congo
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Environmental Protection and Resources Exploitation


Comprehensive Utilization and Discussion of Iron and Steel Metallurgical Slag