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Metals 2016, 6(7), 151; doi:10.3390/met6070151

The Potential of Acousto-Ultrasonic Techniques for Inspection of Baked Carbon Anodes

1
Aluminum Research Centre—REGAL, Département de génie chimique, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
2
Aluminum Research Centre—REGAL, Département de génie civil, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
3
Alcoa Primary Metals Smelting Center of Excellence, Québec, QC G0A 1S0, Canada
4
Aluminum Research Centre—REGAL, Département de génie des mines, de la métallurgie et des matériaux, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hugo F. Lopez
Received: 30 May 2016 / Revised: 24 June 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 4 July 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4844 KB, uploaded 4 July 2016]   |  

Abstract

High quality baked carbon anodes contribute to the optimal performance of aluminum reduction cells. However, the currently decreasing quality and increasing variability of anode raw materials (coke and pitch) make it challenging to manufacture the anodes with consistent overall quality. Intercepting faulty anodes (e.g., presence of cracks and pores) before they are set in reduction cells and deteriorate their performance is therefore important. This is a difficult task, even in modern and well-instrumented anode plants, because lab testing using core samples can only characterize a small proportion of the anode production due to the costly, time-consuming, and destructive nature of the analytical methods. In addition, these results are not necessarily representative of the whole anode block. The objective of this work is to develop a rapid and non-destructive method for quality control of baked anodes using acousto-ultrasonic (AU) techniques. The acoustic responses of anode samples (sliced sections) were analyzed using a combination of temporal features computed from AU signals and principal component analysis (PCA). The AU signals were found sensitive to pores and cracks and were able to discriminate the two types of defects. The results were validated qualitatively by submitting the samples to X-ray Computed Tomography (CT scan). View Full-Text
Keywords: baked carbon anode; non-destructive testing; acousto-ultrasonics; principal component analysis (PCA); primary aluminum smelting baked carbon anode; non-destructive testing; acousto-ultrasonics; principal component analysis (PCA); primary aluminum smelting
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ben Boubaker, M.; Picard, D.; Duchesne, C.; Tessier, J.; Alamdari, H.; Fafard, M. The Potential of Acousto-Ultrasonic Techniques for Inspection of Baked Carbon Anodes. Metals 2016, 6, 151.

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