Cleanliness control is an eternal theme to improve the properties of steel products. With the increasing recycling rates of scrap steel, the removal and stabilization of residual elements have become a vital issue for improving the performance of steel products. Thermodynamic and mismatch calculations plus laboratory experiments were carried out to study the heterogeneous nucleation phenomena of inclusions when lanthanum was employed to remove arsenic from molten steel and stabilize arsenic in solid steel. The effect of heterogeneous nucleation on the mechanism of arsenic removal was discussed. A series of heterogeneous nucleation phenomena of inclusions in the La-O-S-As system were discovered, and the heterogeneous nucleation among the inclusions turned out to be selective. As the vital product of arsenic removal, La-S-As is most likely to generate with LaS as heterogeneous nucleation cores, and its possible chemical formula turned out to be 3LaS⸱LaAs. Sulfur plays an essential role in removing arsenic from molten steel by adding lanthanum. It needs to control the initial sulfur content in an appropriate range, because the high initial content causes too much loss of rare earth, and the low initial content cannot produce LaS and La-S-As.
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