High-quality cast iron products with spheroidal or vermicular graphite play an important role in automobile manufacturing and mechanical engineering. These products account for almost 40 percent of Germany’s cast iron production each year – around 1.5 million tonnes – and combine specific properties such as high tensile strength, ductility and thermal conductivity. Before spheroidal or vermicular graphite can form, the molten cast iron must be desulphurized. This is done using magnesium, which cannot be recovered after treatment.
The “EKALGU” project wants to replace this valuable raw material with lime, which is cheaper and more readily available. Building on the preceding “SubMag” (r3) project, the partners are now developing a plant to inject lime-based desulphurization agents directly into the molten cast iron.
“SubMag” demonstrated the feasibility of desulphurizing cast iron using lime-based agents in the lab and on a technical and industrial scale. Now it is being tested practically in industrial application. To start with, the existing technology will be supplemented by a pilot plant to inject fine-grained materials. Prototype tests will assess the quality of the cast iron and the resulting slag. Then the research partners will construct a demonstration plant and operate this parallel to ongoing production. Finally, the ecological and economic advantages will be analyzed and a marketing strategy developed.
The Fritz Winter Foundry is coordinating the project. The project’s scientific partners are the Chair for Metallurgy and Steel Production at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the FEhS – Building Materials Research Institute.