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Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 1736-7530 (electronic)   ISSN 1736-6046 (print)
Formerly: Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, series Physics & Mathematics and  Chemistry
Published since 1952

Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 1736-7530 (electronic)   ISSN 1736-6046 (print)
Formerly: Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, series Physics & Mathematics and  Chemistry
Published since 1952
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Reduction of tantalum pentoxide with aluminium and calcium: thermodynamic modelling and scale skilled tests; pp. 243–252

(Full article in PDF format) doi: 10.3176/proc.2010.3.07


Authors

Rein Munter, Anatoli Parshin, Leonid Yamshchikov, Vladimir Plotnikov, Valeri Gorkunov, Viktor Kober

Abstract

High reactivity of powdered aluminium together with its relatively low price are the main reasons for the application of this metal as a reducing agent for the reduction of oxides and fluorides of rare and rare earth metals by the aluminothermal method. This technology is widely used in the production of master alloys for ferrous metallurgy. The “out-of-furnace” process (i.e. without external heat access) is the prevailing technology for metallic niobium production worldwide. However, aluminothermal reduction for industrial production of metallic tantalum has been limited because of the high required temperature, over 2800 °C.

In this paper the results of simultaneous reduction of tantalum(V) and iron(III) oxides by calcium–aluminothermal “out-of-furnace” process are presented. Powdered aluminium and metallic calcium were used as reductants. The pickup of tantalum at smeltings with the mass of raw materials over 1 kg reached 94%. The metal was obtained in the form of compact ingot; separation of metallic and slag phases was excellent. Crushed melt underwent refining remelting in an electron beam furnace.

For thermodynamic studies and optimization of the aluminothermal reduction processes of Ta2O5 and Fe2O3 in the temperature range of 1000–3000 °C a licensed computer simulation program “HSC Chemistry 6.1, 2007”, elaborated by the company Outotec Oy, was applied.

Keywords

rare metals, tantalum pentoxide, ferric(III)oxide, aluminium, calcium, “out-of-furnace” reduction, thermodynamic functions, computational analysis.

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