Viðburðir eftir árum

Thesis defense - Rauan Meirbekova

Impurities and Current Efficiency in Aluminum Electrolysis

  • 3.9.2015, 14:00 - 17:00

Rauan Meirbekova will defend her doctoral thesis "Impurities and Current Efficiency in Aluminum Electrolysis" Thursday September 3 at 2 pm in room M209.

Thesis Committee:

Guðrún Arnbjörg Sævarsdóttir, Supervisor
Associate Professor, Reykjavik University

Geir Martin Haarberg, Co-Supervisor
Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Andrei Manolescu, Committee
Professor, Reykjavík University

Þröstur Guðmundsson, Committee
HRV Engineering

Arne Petter Ratvik, Examiner
Senior Research Scientist, SINTEF, Norway

Summary of thesis:

A typical aluminum smelter consists of multiple Hall-Heroult cells, requiring high investment costs for construction and operation. Furthermore, aluminum smelters are known to be heavy users of electrical energy. Therefore, it is important that the process is managed efficiently both for the aluminum industry and environmental issues. The cell parameter which describes how efficiently electrical energy is used to produce aluminum is current efficiency. One of the factors which contribute to current efficiency loss is the presence of impurities.

The primary objective of this work is to contribute to the understanding of behavior of detrimental impurities such as phosphorus and sulfur in aluminum electrolysis and particularly their effect on current efficiency. Phosphorus is the most well-known example of an impurity which has negative effect on current efficiency. In the last few decades aluminum smelters have increased operating current density due to their focus on increasing productivity by increasing pot line amperage. In this work, the effect of phosphorus on current efficiency was studied at higher current densities and at concentration levels which are present in electrolytes commonly used in the aluminum industry.

The second part of the study concentrates on behavior of the sulfur and its effect on the current efficiency. The decrease of the availability of low sulfur anodes has raised marked interest on whether there are any negative effects of increasing sulfur levels in anodes. The results conclude that both phosphorus and sulfur present detrimental effect on current efficiency in aluminum electrolysis and their effect is even more pronounced at lower concentrations of particular interest for the industry.

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