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Progress in Plasma Processing of Materials, 1997

1-56700-093-2 (Print)

Plasma Heating in Steelmaking: Graphite Electrodes versus Metallic Plasma Torches

Dieter Neuschutz
Lehrstuhl fur Theoretische Huttenkunde, Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen, D-52056 Aachen, Germany

P. Stadler
BGH Edelstahl Siegen GmbH, D-57076 Siegen

H. Bebber
Induga GmbH & Co. KG, D-50739 Koln


In steelmaking, heating the melt in the ladle has become common practice, and heating in the tundish is increasingly applied. Ladle furnaces are usually equipped with graphite electrodes, while for tundish heating metallic plasma torches are used for quality reasons. In ladle furnaces operating at power levels up to 15 MW carbon pickup from graphite electrodes is in the range of 15 to 60 ppm. For ultra low carbon steels, metal torch systems operating with argon are preferable, but available only for small ladles with power limits around 4 MW. Such a plasma torch ladle furnace went on stream early 1996 in Japan for nickel alloys. On the other hand, a 0.4 MW metal torch tundish heater at BGH (Siegen) was recently equipped with a hollow graphite electrode and is now operating reliably and at reduced costs with a carbon pickup below 10 ppm which is tolerable for all of BGH's steel grades.