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Method for the Production of Mineral Wool and Iron from Serpentine Ore

Magnesium silicate-based mineral wool insulation

National Energy Technology Laboratory

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Mineral wool fiber in collector
Mineral wool fiber in collector

Blowing fiber
Blowing fiber

Technology Marketing Summary

This invention discloses a method to fabricate a product that has the potential to replace asbestos, which harbors health and environmental risks, with magnesium silicate-based mineral wools. The mineral wool product yields advantages similar to asbestos while eliminating its inherent detriments.

Description

Since the late 19th century and into the late 20th century, asbestos has been a commonly used building material for home and industrial use. The popularity of its use can be traced to advantages of high resistance to heat, aversion to electrical and chemical damage, high mechanical strength, and excellent acoustical properties. Despite those advantages, asbestos has been directly linked to numerous health and environmental hazards, resulting in the ban of many of its uses worldwide. As such, an important need exists to create an alternative to asbestos that still retains the key advantages of liquidus temperature (melting point) and heat resistance.

 

Although alternative mineral wool fibers have been developed from basalt, diabase, and similar materials, these alternatives have a liquidus temperature ranging from about 1,100 to about 1,200 degrees Centigrade, which is significantly lower than asbestos-based insulation. This magnesium silicate-based mineral wool invention addresses the shortcomings of basalt-like material by having a liquidus temperature of at least 1,400 degrees Centigrade, thereby providing an excellent heat insulating material.

 

This patented mineral wool fiber technology consists of melting a magnesium silicate feedstock containing iron oxide and having a liquidus temperature of at least 1,400 degrees Centigrade to form a molten magnesium silicate. This process subsequently fiberizes the molten magnesium silicate to produce a magnesium silicate mineral wool, with coincident production of cast iron through reduction of the iron oxide component.

 

Benefits

Provides a potential alternative to asbestos

Retains the advantages of asbestos while eliminating health, environmental hazards

Yields a liquidus temperature of at least 1,400 degrees Centigrade

Produces a cast iron co-product for additional economic benefit

Applications and Industries

Building materials for home and industrial uses

Any use that requires substitution or replacement of asbestos

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 8,033,140
Patent
8,033,140
Method for the production of mineral wool and iron from serpentine ore
Magnesium silicate mineral wools having a relatively high liquidus temperature of at least about 1400.degree. C. and to methods for the production thereof are provided. The methods of the present invention comprise melting a magnesium silicate feedstock (e.g., comprising a serpentine or olivine ore) having a liquidus temperature of at least about 1400.degree. C. to form a molten magnesium silicate, and subsequently fiberizing the molten magnesium silicate to produce a magnesium silicate mineral wool. In one embodiment, the magnesium silicate feedstock contains iron oxide (e.g., up to about 12% by weight). Preferably, the melting is performed in the presence of a reducing agent to produce an iron alloy, which can be separated from the molten ore. Useful magnesium silicate feedstocks include, without limitation, serpentine and olivine ores. Optionally, silicon dioxide can be added to the feedstock to lower the liquidus temperature thereof.
National Energy Technology Laboratory 10/11/2011
Issued
Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
DevelopmentAvailable01/18/201302/23/2016

Contact NETL About This Technology

To: Jessica Sosenko<Jessica.Sosenko@netl.doe.gov> <techtransfer@netl.doe.gov>