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Title:
CARBON ELECTRODE ELECTRIC FURNACE FOR SMELTING AND REFINING ORES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1986/003282
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus for the simultaneous smelting and refining of metal ores comprises a chamber (1) having parabolic-shaped internal top and bottom walls and a carbon electrode extending transversely across the chamber (1). Optionally the electrode is held between water cooled holders (8) which pivot in collars (6). Ore, for examplecassiterite, is placed in the chamber (1), the chamber sealed and the electrode heated by the passage of high current at low voltage to white heat for sufficient time to reduce the ore to substantially pure metal. Typical current and voltage values are up to 600 amps and up to 72 volts.

Inventors:
WILSON NOEL HENRY (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU1985/000286
Publication Date:
June 05, 1986
Filing Date:
November 19, 1985
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WILSON NOEL HENRY
International Classes:
F27B3/08; F27D11/02; F27D99/00; (IPC1-7): F27D11/10; C22B4/08; F27B3/08; F27B3/20
Foreign References:
DE887874C1953-08-27
DE881410C1953-06-29
DE735985C1943-06-03
DE608152C1935-01-16
DE403075C1924-09-24
US3700224A1972-10-24
US2778866A1957-01-22
US2682566A1954-06-29
GB1483721A1977-08-24
EP0017211A11980-10-15
AU149839B
AU374836B
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Claims:
THE CLAIMS :
1. A simultaneous smeltering and refining apparatus compris¬ ing: a chamber having parabolic shaped top and bottom internal walls; and a carbon electrode running transversely across the cham¬ ber, wherein said carbon electrode is adapted to be heated to incandescent heat by the application of a high current and low voltage to thereby melt and reduce the ore placed in the cham¬ ber to obtain substantially pure metal.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the chamber has a cylindrical shaped internal side wall.
3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the carbon electrode is held between water cooled holders, from which the chamber is pivotally mounted.
4. A method of simultaneously smeltering and refining ore comprising the steps of placing a quantity of ore in a pre¬ heated chamber having parabolic shaped top and bottom walls, with a carbon electrode running transversely across the cham¬ ber; sealing said chamber; passing a high current and low voltage through said electrode to cause said carbon electrode to be heated to white heat until the ore has been reduced; and pour from said chamber substantially pure metal.
5. A method according to claim 4 wherein the chamber has a cylindrically shaped internal side wall.
6. A method according to claim 5 wherein the carbon electrode is held between water cooled holders from which the chamber is pivotally mounted, so that the refined metal can be poured from the chamber by pivoting the chamber.
Description:
CARBON ELECTRODE ELECTRIC FURNACE FOR SMELTING AND REFINING ORES

The present invention relates to an improved process and apparatus for the refining of metal ores and in particular to the refining of non-ferrous metals from their ores.

It is known to win metals from their ores by various processes. As shown in Australian Patent No. 502,603, it is known to process tin concentrates by admixing with a solid carbonaceous reducing agent and line flux where it is charged in an electric furnace and tapped to remove the reduced tin metal.

The present invention seeks to provide an improved process and apparatus for the simultaneous smeltering and refining of metal ores. In one broad form the invention provides a simultaneous smeltering and refining apparatus comprising: a chamber having parabolic shaped top andbottom walls; and a carbon electrode running transversely across the cham- ber, wherein said carbon electrode is adapted to be heated to incandescent heat by the application of a high current and low voltage to thereby melt and reduce the ore placed in the cham¬ ber to obtain substantially pure metal.

In another form the invention comprises: a method of simultaneously smeltering and refining ore comprising the steps of placing a quantity of ore in a pre¬ heated chamber having parabolic shaped top andbottom walls, with a carbon electrode running transversely across the cham¬ ber; sealing said chamber; passing a high current and low voltage through said electrode to cause said carbon electrode to be heated to white heat until the ore has been reduced; and pour from said chamber substantially pure metal. The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a refining apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 illustrates an electrode suitable for use in the

present invention.

As shown in FIG. 1 the apparatus comprises a housing 1 having the inner surface thereof lined with suitable refrac¬ tories 2. The inner surface of the top 3 and bottom walls 4 are parabolic in shape. The chamber is circular in cross- section. The housing is pivotally mounted on supports 5 by means of the pivot collar 6.

Extending across the chamber of the housing 1 is a graph¬ ite electrode 7, which is supported in a water cooled holder. The water cooled holder 8 being supported by the pivot collar 6.

The electrode as shown in FIG. 2 comprises a carbon electrode 7 held between two water cooled holders 8.

In operation the chamber is preheated by current passing through the carbon electrode 7 and a quantity of ore, for example, cassiterite, is placed therein and the chamber sealed.

The temperature of the carbon electrode is raised, as a result of its resistance to passage of the current through the rod, to white heat. Currents between 0 and 600 amps and voltages between 0 to 72 volts, can be used depending upon the metal to be refined.

Because of the shape of the chamber and the orientation and material of construction of the carbon electrode, sufficient temperatures and conditions are generated within the sealed chamber to smelt the ore and refine the metal in a one-step process.

With the use of cassiterite in the above described embodi¬ ment of the present invention, 99.7% pure tin ingots can be produced, and nickel can also be produced at a grade suitable for the manufacture of electroplating anodes.

The process can also be worked by admixing the ore with anthracite or by the passing of carbon monoxide into the chamber.

It is theorised that the present invention works in the following manner.

In the immediate vicinity of the surface of the graphite rod, electromagnetic waves are generated. This vapourizes the surface of the graphite rod producing a plasma. The electrons within the plasma field are accelerated within the magnetic

field.

As the plasma field expands away from the surface of the graphite rod it loses power and produces C-.0. (The plasma itself is an isotope of carbon in a gaseous state.) The plasma field is generated in pulses. Each pulse of plasma pumps up behind the pulse that has preceded it. As each pulse of plasma producing C-,0 is pushed outwards to the optical reflective refractory lining, C-,0 breaks down to CO.

The optical pumping with circularly polarized light generates angular momentum which is transferred to a collection of atoms in the gaseous state. (Alfred Kastler; New Direction in a Atomic Physics I S B N O - 300-01398-1.)

The continuous stream of pulses, described as optical pumping, or "weak interaction" builds up pressure in the cham- ber and reflects and refracts the electromagnetic waves (which are in the form of light waves) , creating a laser shine.

The laser shine collides with the flow of pulses still being continuously generated. The collision causes what are known as "hot spots". The frequency of collisions is extremely high, and is known as an aneutronic reaction, and is the kinetic energy of charged particles.