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Evolution of Anode Porosity under Air Oxidation: The Unveiling of the Active Pore Size

Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Laval University, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
NSERC/Alcoa Industrial Research Chair MACE3 and Aluminum Research Centre—REGAL, Laval University, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Alcoa Primary Metals, Alcoa Technical Center, 100 Technical Drive, Alcoa Center, New Kensington, PA 15069-0001, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Manoj Gupta
Metals 2017, 7(3), 101;
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
PDF [2409 KB, uploaded 18 March 2017]


The carbon anode, used in aluminum electrolysis (Hall–Héroult process), is over-consumed by air oxidation and carboxy-reaction (with CO2). Several anode features may affect this over-consumption, such as impurity content, graphitization level and anode porosity features (e.g., porosity volume fraction or pore size distribution). The two first parameters are basically related to the quality of raw materials and coke calcination conditions. Anode porosity is, however, greatly affected by anode manufacturing conditions, and is possible to be modified, to some extent, by adjusting the anode recipe and the processing parameters. This work aims to investigate the effect of anode porosity on its air reactivity. Baked anode samples were prepared in laboratory scale and then crushed into powder form (−4760 + 4000 µm). The recipe for anode preparation was similar to a typical industrial recipe, except that in the lab scale no butt particles were used in the recipe. Anode particles were then gasified at six different conversion levels (0, 5, 15, 25, 35 and 50 wt %) under air at 525 °C. The porosity was characterized in several pore size ranges, measured by nitrogen adsorption and mercury intrusion (0.0014–0.020, 0.002–0.025, 0.025–0.100, 0.1–40.0 and superior at 40 µm). The volume variation of each pore range, as a function of carbon conversion, was assessed and used to determine the size of the most active pores for air oxidation. The most active pore size was found to be the pores inferior at 40 µm before 15 wt % of gasification and pores superior at 40 µm between 15 and 50 wt % of carbon conversion. Limitation of pore size range could be used as an additional guideline, along with other targets such as high homogeneity and density, to set the optimum anode manufacturing parameters. View Full-Text
Keywords: air reactivity; carbon anodes; active pore size; gasification air reactivity; carbon anodes; active pore size; gasification

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Chevarin, F.; Ishak, R.; Ziegler, D.; Fafard, M.; Alamdari, H. Evolution of Anode Porosity under Air Oxidation: The Unveiling of the Active Pore Size. Metals 2017, 7, 101.

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