High pure and ultrapure Aluminum is increasingly used in highly corrosion resistant applications or to replace copper in conductive parts such as high voltage cable and transformers due to their higher electrical conductivity properties. Ultrapure Aluminum is also used in semiconductors industry. Hence, the market demands innovative refining technologies, which consume less energy, take less time and lead to higher resource efficiencies. The most common methodology to produce ultrapure Aluminum is zone refining, based on the principle of fractional crystallization. Zone refining is however a very time-consuming process. In order to achieve a purity of 6N, several passes along the crucible with each full day treatment must be carried out. Also this method cannot be conducted continuously. This paper presents first time a new and eco-efficient method, which offers high potential to meet the mentioned multi-dimensional demands. Firstly, distribution coefficients of main impurities in Aluminum—a deciding factor to forecast and assess the removal behavior of impurities-were studied theoretically as a function of temperature using thermo-chemical calculation in FactSageTM. Secondly, the innovative method using a rotating and gas cooled crystallizer (“cooled finger”) was developed to validate the principle. The influencing process parameters such as temperature gradient, cooling gas flow rate, etc. were experimentally investigated and the theoretical results could be verified.
Cite this paper
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