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Flash Smelting Furnace

Flash Smelting Furnace

Flash Smelting Furnace

Flash smelting (FinnishLiekkisulatus, literally “flame-smelting”) is a smelting process for sulfur-containing ores[1] including chalcopyrite. The process was developed by Outokumpu in Finland and first applied at the Harjavalta plant in 1949 for smelting copper ore.[2][3] It has also been adapted for nickel and lead production.[2]

A second flash smelting furnace system was developed by the International Nickel Company (INCO) and has a different concentrate feed design compared to the Outokumpu flash furnace.[4] The Inco flash smelting furnace has end-wall concentrate injection burners and a central waste gas off-take,[4] while the Outokumpu flash smelting furnace has a water-cooled reaction shaft at one end of the vessel and a waste gas off-take at the other end.[5] While the INCO flash furnace at Sudbury was the first commercial use of oxygen flash smelting,[6] fewer smelters use the INCO flash furnace than the Outokumpu flash furnace.[4]

Flash smelting with oxygen-enriched air (the ‘reaction gas’) makes use of the energy contained in the concentrate to supply most of the energy required by the furnaces.[4][5] The concentrate must be dried before it is injected into the furnaces and, in the case of the Outokumpu process, some of the furnaces use an optional heater to warm the reaction gas typically to 100–450 °C.[5]

The reactions in the Flash Smelting Furnace produce copper matte, iron oxides and sulfur dioxide. The reacted particles fall into a bath at the bottom of the furnace, where the iron oxides react with fluxes, such as silica and limestone, to form a slag.[7]

In most cases, the slag can be discarded, perhaps after some cleaning, and the matte is further treated in converters to produce blister copper. In some cases where the flash smelting furnaces are fed with concentrate containing a sufficiently high copper content, the concentrate is converted directly to blister in a single Outokumpu furnace[8] and further converting is unnecessary.

The sulfur dioxide produced by flash smelting is typically captured in a sulfuric acid plant, removing the major environmental effect of smelting.[9]

Outotec, formerly the technology division of Outokumpu, now holds Outokumpu’s patents to the technology and licenses it worldwide.

INCO was acquired by Brazil’s Vale in 2006.[citation needed]

Flash Smelting Furnace

  1. Reactor: is Flash Smelting Furnace most important working area and also the worst working conditions area, dried material and preheated air through concentrate nozzle mixing and high-speed spray into reactor, temperature reaches 1500oC for desulphurization, smelting, slag making reactions and down to the settling hearth for further completion of slag making process, reaction produced matte and liquid slag are settling at the hearth as molten layers. Refractories working lining under over heat damage, unstable oxidation-reduction chemical atmosphere damage, copper slag sulphide, matte penetration etc. chemical attacks, vigorous erosion and severe temperature change damages. High grade refractories Direct-bonded magnesite-chrome bricks (DMK)  and Rebounded Fused Magnesite Chrome Brick (RMK) Products are recommended for reactor working linings.

  2. Settling Hearth: always being damaged by matte penetrating, strong slag attack reaction damages, gas flow erosions. Medium grade DMK and RMK Products are recommended.

  3. Exhaust air duct: exhaust air of all types from copper smelting has rigorous erosion to refractories linings. OSYMEN recommends ordinary DMK as exhaust air duct working linings.







Settling Hearth

Exhaust Air Duct






  1.  “flash smelting”. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved November 03, 2012.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Outokumpu Flash Smelting (PDF)Outokumpu. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  3. ^ Ilkka V. Kojo, Ari Jokilaakso and Pekka Hanniala (February 2000). “Flash smelting and converting furnaces: A 50 year retrospect”. JOM: Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. Springer Boston. 52 (2): 57–61. Bibcode:2000JOM….52b..57Kdoi:10.1007/s11837-000-0049-5ISSN 1047-4838S2CID 110355049.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Davenport et al. (2002), pp. 91–102.
  5. Jump up to:a b c Davenport et al. (2002), pp. 73–90.
  6. ^ S Ellor, M Chamberland and H Davies, ‘Development of models of INCO’s smelting processes,’ in: EPD Congress 1992, Ed. J P Hager (The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society: Warrendale, Pennsylvania, 1991), 1125–1145.
  7. ^ Davenport, W G; King, M; Schlesinger, M; Biswas, A K (2002). Extractive Metallurgy of Copper (4th ed.). Oxford, England: Pergamon Pressdoi:10.1016/B978-0-08-044029-3.X5000-XISBN 978-0-08-044029-3.
  8. ^ Davenport et al. (2002), pp. 187–198.
  9. ^ Davenport et al. (2002), pp. 217–246.


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