Reduction of electric arc furnace dust pellets by mixture containing hydrogen

Abstract The large amount of dust generated in electric arc furnace aligned with its chemical composition makes this dust a potential source of iron in the direct reduction iron process. Thus, the aim of this research is to investigate the reduction of pellets produced with electric arc furnace dust using hydrogen as the reducing agent. The kinetic investigation was examined applying the differential method. In addition, the influence of reducing gas stream and temperature in the reduction process were investigated applying the Forced Stepwise Isothermal Analysis technique. The temperature studied varied from 500 to 1000°C with isothermals in each 50°C. The reducing gas was a mixture of 10% of hydrogen and 90% of argon. Then, the product characterization was carried out via scanning electron microscope and X-ray analysis. A thermogravimetric test showed a mass loss of 42 wt% due to the reduction of iron and zinc oxides. Besides this, the reduction occurred in three steps: 550-650°C, 700-800°C, 850-950°C. Between 550-650°C, the reduction was controlled by a nucleation mechanism with an Ea of 41.1 kJ/mol. In the second step (700-800°C), a mixed control between nucleation and diffusion was obtained with an Ea of 89.1 kJ/mol. Furthermore, a crust of iron was formed around the pellet, which hindered the reducing gas diffusion into the pellet. In the third stage (850-950°C), the formation of a sintered structure was noted, which decreased pore volume. The internal diffusion of reducing gases was determined as the controlling mechanism, with an Ea of 130.9 kJ/mol.