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ArticleName Automatic burden balance monitoring and control in the production of metallurgical silicon
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2023.04.07
ArticleAuthor Bazhin V. Yu., Masko O. N., Martynov S. A.

Saint Petersburg Mining University, Saint Petersburg, Russia:

V. Yu. Bazhin, Head of the Metallurgy Department, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:
O. N. Masko, Postgraduate Student at the Department of Process and Plant Automation, e-mail:
S. A. Martynov, Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Process and Plant Automation, Candidate of Technical Sciences, e-mail:


Production of metallurgical silicon for Al – Si alloys and silumins is of strategic importance and defines the future of a great number of Russian industries. Reducing the weight of commercial silica, which belongs to the expenditure side of the balance, is the key resource-saving objective of the silicon industry. In today’s environment, it is necessary to develop a monitoring and control system for quartz burden used for the production of metallurgical silicon as it would help tackle the issues caused by the reliance on different sources of raw materials, which can differ in terms of impurities content. This can affect the energy performance of the smelter and the quality of the final product. At the basis of the proposed system there lie mathematical calculations and models built with an account for the physicochemical and polymorphous transformations of the quartz material during smelting in an ore-thermal furnace. The paper relies on the relationships obtained earlier that show how the amount of microsilica and the type of emissions are determined by the chemical composition and the size distribution, the structure of quartz material and the smelting temperature. A CFD model of the exhaust duct of the furnace was used to obtain new data on dust and gas emissions. As a result, an algorithm was built that help analyze how the quality of the mineral material influences the amount and the type of emissions generated by silicon industry. The authors implemented a central data acquisition and analysis module that links the chemical composition with the size distribution of three samples of the quartz material while coordinating them with the key smelting parameters (i.e. speed, exhaust gas pressure, electric mode). The material balance monitoring and control software, which accounts for impurities as elements and compounds, as well as transition and phase states of silica at all process stages, enables to control the output of waste in the form of microsilica of required structure in order to process it and obtain high value-added materials. The proposed balance monitoring and control scheme will help raise the process efficiency by 15–20%.

keywords Metallurgical silicon, carbothermic reduction, ore-thermal furnace, impurities, monitoring of chemical composition, silica balance, polymorphism typical of microsilica

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