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Toughened Graphite Electrode for High Heat Electric Arc Furnaces

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryA tougher and more resilient graphite electrode was developed at ORNL to melt steel, titanium, and other scrap metal in industrial electric arc furnaces. Researchers invented a carbon fiber-pitch binder composition that is tough enough to avoid recurrent electrode failure in industrial smelting. The technology also reduces the amount of carbon needed in the production process and resolves inefficient dispersion of carbon in current technology.DescriptionGraphite electrodes are made by mixing petroleum coke particles with a pitch binder, extruding the mix through a die, and graphitizing them. Cracking or failure of the electrode in the electric arc furnace before the scrap has been successfully melted results in significant loss of productivity. To reduce the failure rate, the electrodes are toughened with bundles of carbon fibers that are dispersed in the pitch. However, carbon is expensive and the bundles disperse poorly in the pitch. Since one fiber of carbon is as effective per unit of electrode material as a bundle, the invention’s use of single fibers that disperse more homogeneously is an important innovation.Benefits
  • Energy cost savings
  • Fewer broken electrodes
  • Increased productivity
  • Faster tap-to-tap times
  • Furnace can operate longer without being opened
Applications and Industries
  • Electric arc furnace steel manufacturing
  • Steel refinement and similar smelting processes
More InformationInventor:
Peter J. Pappano
Materials Science and Technology Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20100175506
The present invention is directed to a method for producing a carbon fiber-pitch binder composition, the method comprising combining surface-modified carbon fibers with a molten pitch binder such that the surface-modified carbon fibers are substantially homogeneously dispersed throughout said molten pitch binder, wherein said surface-modified carbon fibers possess a surface that has been modified in a manner that increases the dispersability of the carbon fibers into said molten pitch binder. The invention is also directed to a method for producing a toughened graphite electrode and a method for processing metal in an electric arc furnace. The invention is also directed to carbon fiber-pitch binder compositions prepared by the inventive method in which carbon fibers are substantially homogeneously dispersed in the composition.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 01/14/2009
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200601819DevelopmentAvailable10/20/201012/15/2010

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