The production process of graphite electrodes

The production process of graphite electrodes

Raw materials and manufacturing process of graphite electrodes

Graphite electrode is a kind of high temperature resistant graphite conductive produced by a series of processes such as kneading, molding, roasting, impregnation, graphitization, and mechanical processing by using petroleum coke and needle coke as aggregates and coal pitch as binder. Material.

Graphite electrode is an important high-temperature conductive material for electric furnace steelmaking. Electric energy is input to the electric furnace through the graphite electrode. The high temperature generated by the arc between the electrode end and the charge is used as the heat source to melt the charge for steelmaking. Some other submerged arc furnaces for smelting yellow phosphorus, industrial silicon, abrasives and other materials also use graphite electrodes as conductive materials. Utilizing the excellent and special physical and chemical properties of graphite electrodes, it also has a wide range of uses in other industrial sectors.

The raw materials for the production of graphite electrodes are petroleum coke, needle coke and coal tar pitch.

Petroleum coke is a combustible solid product obtained by coking petroleum residue and petroleum pitch. The color is black and porous, the main element is carbon, and the ash content is very low, generally below 0.5%. Petroleum coke belongs to the category of easily graphitized carbon. Petroleum coke is widely used in chemical, metallurgical and other industries. It is the main raw material for the production of artificial graphite products and carbon products for electrolytic aluminum.

Petroleum coke can be divided into green coke and calcined coke according to the heat treatment temperature. The former petroleum coke obtained from delayed coking contains a large amount of volatile matter and has low mechanical strength. Calcined coke is obtained by calcining green coke. Most oil refineries in China only produce coke, and most of the calcination operations are carried out in carbon plants.

Petroleum coke is classified according to the level of sulfur. It can be divided into three types: high-sulfur coke (sulfur content above 1.5%), medium-sulfur coke (sulfur content 0.5%-1.5%), and low-sulfur coke (sulfur content below 0.5%). Low-sulfur coke is generally used in the production of graphite electrodes and other artificial graphite products.

Needle coke is a kind of high-quality coke with obvious fibrous texture, low thermal expansion coefficient and easy graphitization. When the coke is broken, it can split into elongated particles according to the texture (the aspect ratio is generally above 1.75). An anisotropic fibrous structure can be observed under a polarized light microscope, so it is called needle coke.

The anisotropy of the physical and mechanical properties of needle coke is very obvious. It has good electrical and thermal conductivity parallel to the long axis of the particles, and has a low thermal expansion coefficient. During extrusion molding, most of the long axes of the particles are arranged in the extrusion direction. Therefore, needle coke is the key raw material for the manufacture of high-power or ultra-high-power graphite electrodes. The resulting graphite electrodes have low resistivity, low thermal expansion coefficient, and good thermal shock resistance.

Needle coke is divided into oil-based needle coke produced with petroleum residue as raw material and coal-based needle coke produced with refined coal pitch raw material.

Coal pitch is one of the main products of coal tar deep processing. It is a mixture of various hydrocarbons. It is a black high-viscosity semi-solid or solid at room temperature. It has no fixed melting point. It softens after heating and then melts. The density is 1.25-1.35g/cm3. According to its softening point, it can be divided into low temperature, medium temperature and high temperature asphalt. The yield of medium temperature pitch is 54-56% of coal tar. The composition of coal tar pitch is extremely complex, which is related to the properties of coal tar and the content of heteroatoms, and is also affected by the coking process system and coal tar processing conditions. There are many indicators that characterize the characteristics of coal pitch, such as pitch softening point, toluene insoluble matter (TI), quinoline insoluble matter (QI), coking value, and coal pitch rheology.

Coal pitch is used as a binder and impregnant in the carbon industry, and its performance has a great impact on the production process and product quality of carbon products. Binder asphalt generally uses medium temperature or medium temperature modified asphalt with moderate softening point, high coking value, and high β resin. As impregnant, use medium temperature asphalt with low softening point, low QI, and good rheological properties.
Calcining: The carbonaceous raw material is heat-treated at high temperature to discharge the contained moisture and volatile matter, and correspondingly improve the original cooking performance of the production process is called calcination. Generally, carbonaceous raw materials are calcined using fuel gas and their own volatile matter as the heat source, and the maximum temperature is 1250-1350°C.

Calcining causes profound changes in the structure and physical and chemical properties of carbon raw materials, which are mainly reflected in increasing the density, mechanical strength and conductivity of coke, improving the chemical stability and oxidation resistance of coke, and laying the foundation for subsequent processes. .

The calcination equipment mainly includes tank calciner, rotary kiln and electric calciner. The calcination quality control index is that the true density of petroleum coke is not less than 2.07g/cm3, the resistivity is not more than 550μΩ.m, the true density of needle coke is not less than 2.12g/cm3, and the resistivity is not more than 500μΩ.m.

Raw material crushing treatment and batching

Before batching, the large calcined petroleum coke and needle coke must be crushed, ground, and sieved.

Medium crushing usually involves crushing materials with a size of about 50mm through jaw crushers, hammer crushers, counter-roll crushers and other crushing equipment to further crush materials with a particle size of 0.5-20mm required for ingredients.

Grinding is a process in which carbonaceous raw materials are pulverized to small powder particles with a particle size of 0.15mm or 0.075mm by means of a suspended-rod ring roller mill (Raymond mill), ball mill and other equipment.

Sieving is the process of dividing materials with a wide range of sizes into several granular grades with a narrower size range through a series of sieves with uniform openings. The current electrode production usually requires 4-5 granular grades and 1-2 powder granular grades.

Ingredients are a production process in which aggregates, powders, and binders of various sizes are calculated, weighed, and focused according to the requirements of the formula. The scientific suitability of the formula and the stability of the batching operation are one of the most important factors affecting product quality indicators and performance.

The formula needs to determine 5 aspects:
①Choose the type of raw materials;
②Determine the ratio of different types of raw materials;
③Determine the particle size composition of solid raw materials;
④Determine the amount of binder;
⑤Determine the type and amount of additives.

Kneading: Stir and mix quantitatively various carbonaceous particles and powders with a quantitative binder at a certain temperature, and the process of kneading into a plastic paste is called kneading.

Kneading process: dry mixing (20-35 min) wet mixing (40-55 min)

The role of kneading:
① During dry mixing, the various raw materials are mixed uniformly, and at the same time, solid carbon materials of different particle sizes are uniformly mixed and filled to improve the density of the mixture;
②After adding coal tar pitch, make the dry material and asphalt mix uniformly, and the liquid asphalt evenly coats and infiltrates the surface of the particles to form a layer of asphalt bonding layer, which binds all materials together to form a homogeneous plastic paste. Conducive to molding;
③ Part of the coal pitch penetrates into the internal voids of the carbonaceous material, further improving the density and cohesiveness of the paste.

Molding: The molding of carbon materials refers to the process by which the mixed and kneaded carbon paste produces plastic deformation under the external force applied by the molding equipment, and finally forms a green body (or green product) with a certain shape, size, density and strength Process.
Inspection of green body: bulk density, appearance knocking, analysis

Roasting: It is a process in which the green carbon product is placed in a specially designed heating furnace for high-temperature heat treatment under the protection of the filler, so that the coal pitch in the green body is carbonized. The pitch coke formed after coal tar pitch carbonization consolidates the carbonaceous aggregate and powder particles together, and the roasted carbon product has higher mechanical strength, lower electrical resistivity, better thermal stability and chemical stability .

Roasting is one of the main processes in the production of carbon products, and it is also an important part of the three major heat treatment processes in the production of graphite electrodes. The roasting production cycle is longer (22-30 days for one roasting, 5-20 days for second roasting depending on the furnace type), and Higher energy consumption. The quality of the green body roasting has a certain influence on the quality of the finished product and the production cost.

The coal pitch in the green body is coked during the roasting process, and about 10% of the volatile matter is discharged, while the volume shrinks by 2-3%, and the mass loss is 8-10%. The physical and chemical properties of the carbon billet have also changed significantly. Due to the increase in porosity, the volume density is reduced from 1.70g/cm3 to 1.60g/cm3, and the resistivity is reduced to 40-50μΩ.m from about 10000μΩ.m. The mechanical strength of the calcined billet is also large. To improve.

Secondary roasting is a process in which the roasted product is immersed and then roasted again to carbonize the pitch immersed in the pores of the roasted product. The production of electrodes with higher bulk density requirements (all varieties except RP) and joint blanks need to be subjected to two baking, and the joint blanks also need to be subjected to three immersion and four baking or two immersion and three baking.

Main furnace types of roasting furnaces:
Continuous operation-ring furnace (with or without cover), tunnel kiln
Intermittent operation-inverted flame kiln, car bottom roaster, box roaster

Roasting curve and maximum temperature:
One-time roasting-320, 360, 422, 480 hours, 1250 ℃
Secondary roasting-125, 240, 280 hours, 700-800 ℃

Inspection of baked products: appearance knock, resistivity, bulk density, compressive strength, internal structure analysis

Impregnation is a process in which the carbon material is placed in a pressure vessel, and the liquid impregnant pitch is immersed into the electrode pores of the product under certain temperature and pressure conditions. The purpose is to reduce the porosity of the product, increase the volume density and mechanical strength of the product, and improve the electrical and thermal conductivity of the product.

The impregnation process and related technical parameters are: roasted billet-surface cleaning-preheating (260-380 ℃, 6-10 hours)-loading into the impregnation tank-vacuuming (8-9KPa, 40-50min) ——Inject bitumen (180-200 ℃)——Pressurize (1.2-1.5MPa,3-4 hours)——Return bitumen——Cooling (in or outside the tank)

Inspection of impregnated products: impregnation weight gain rate G=(W2-W1)/W1×100%
Weight gain rate of one-time impregnation product≥14%
Weight gain rate of secondary dipping product≥9%
Weight gain rate of three dipping products ≥5%

Graphitization refers to a high-temperature heat treatment process in which carbon products are heated to above 2300 ℃ in the protective medium of a high-temperature electric furnace to transform the amorphous chaotic layer structure carbon into a three-dimensional ordered graphite crystalline structure.

The purpose and function of graphitization:
①Improve the electrical and thermal conductivity of carbon materials (resistivity is reduced by 4-5 times, and thermal conductivity is increased by about 10 times);
②Improve the thermal vibration resistance and chemical stability of carbon materials (the linear expansion coefficient is reduced by 50-80%);
③Make the carbon material have lubricity and anti-wear properties;
④Exhaust impurities and improve the purity of carbon materials (the ash content of the product is reduced from 0.5-0.8% to about 0.3%).

Realization of graphitization process:

The graphitization of carbon materials is carried out at a high temperature of 2300-3000 ℃, so the industry can only be realized by electric heating, that is, the electric current directly passes through the heated roasted product. At this time, the roasted product loaded into the furnace generates high temperature through the electric current. The conductor is the object that is heated to a high temperature.

Currently widely used furnace types include Acheson graphitization furnace and internal heat series (LWG) furnace. The former has large output, large temperature difference and high power consumption, while the latter has short heating time, low power consumption, uniform resistivity, but it is not easy to install joints.

The graphitization process is controlled by measuring the temperature to determine the electric power curve suitable for the heating situation. The power-on time is 50-80 hours for the Acheson furnace and 9-15 hours for the LWG furnace.

Graphitization consumes a lot of electricity, generally 3200-4800KWh, and the process cost accounts for about 20-35% of the entire production cost.

Inspection of graphitized products: appearance knocking, resistivity test

Mechanical processing: The purpose of carbon graphite material mechanical processing is to rely on cutting to achieve the required size, shape, precision, etc., to make the electrode body and joints that meet the requirements of use.

Graphite electrode processing is divided into two independent processing processes, the electrode body and the joint.

The body processing includes boring and rough flat end face, turning outer circle and fine flat end face, and thread milling 3 processes. The processing of conical joints can be divided into 6 processes: cutting, flat end face, turning taper surface, milling thread, drilling bolt And slotting.

Electrode connector connection method: conical connector connection (one inch three buckles and one inch four buckles), cylindrical connector connection, concave-convex connection (male and female buckle connection)

Processing precision control: thread taper deviation, thread pitch, joint (hole) large diameter deviation, joint hole coaxiality, joint hole perpendicularity, electrode end surface flatness, joint four-point deviation, etc. Use special ring gauges and board gauges to check.

Inspection of finished electrodes: accuracy, weight, length, diameter, volume density, resistivity, pre-installation accuracy, etc.

Post time: Aug-16-2021