Deoxidation of steel, also known as killing of steel, occurs toward the end of the steelmaking process, but before desulphurization. After primary steelmaking, for example in a basic oxygen furnace (BOF) or electric arc furnace (EAF), the liquid steel contains a large amount of dissolved oxygen [O] (400 to over 1000 ppm, see the example on kinetic simulation of BOF process). This oxygen must be removed from the liquid steel for several reasons, including:
Continuous casting of un-killed steel is not possible and will result in “boiling” of the steel in the mould and massive porosity, as shown in the figure.
Blowholes formed during casting of a steel billet with insufficient deoxidation.
The two most widely applied methods of deoxidizing or killing the steel are adding Al (Al-killed steel) to the steel and adding Si (Si-killed steel) to the steel. These elements readily react with oxygen to form oxides that precipitate within the liquid steel. This does not reduce the total amount of oxygen in the liquid steel; it simply transforms the dissolved oxygen into an oxide precipitate. This oxide precipitate then needs to be removed from the steel by flotation during secondary metallurgy in the ladle furnace (LF).
About this Example
In this example we look at how the Process Metallurgy Module can be used to investigate these two widely applied methods of deoxidizing or killing the steel: adding Al (Al-killed steel) or adding Si (Si-killed steel). This, however, can result in the formation of damaging inclusions that cause problems during further processing, so we go on to look at two simple and very common processes that are used to transform the solid SiO2 and Al2O3 inclusions into liquid oxides so that they are less damaging.
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This example includes a PDF with in-depth explanations of all the calculations and interpretation of the results. It also includes a calculation file that can be downloaded and run in Thermo-Calc if you have a license for the relevant software and databases.