Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 633–646 | Cite as

Experimental study of splash generation in a flash smelting furnace

  • Liow Jong-Leng
  • Neil B. Gray
Transport Phenomena


A survey of previous studies of splash formation in metallurgical vessels revealed that little information is available to characterize and describe the processes involved in splash formation. An experimental study of splash formation by top submerged gas injection was carried out in the settler region of the nickel flash smelting furnace at the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter (KNS) both to obtain some visualization of the splash mechanisms that occur on a plant scale and to measure the amount of splash being formed. Video images taken of the splashing showed that large sheets of melt were formed by the escaping gas and subsequently thinned into ligaments which then broke up into large splash drops. The video could only resolve a minimum size of 2 cm. The large splash drops visible on video have an initial velocity between 1 and 2 m/s, are unstable, and fall back into the bath after traveling a short distance. The analysis identified two major splash forming mechanisms. First, the gas injected resulted in the bulk movement of the melt to form a cavity and large sheets of melts being thrown around the point of injection. The area affected by this splash mechanism can be predicted successfully by using an energy balance between the removal of the melt in the cavity and the energy of the gas being injected. Second, the slag free surface within the cavity is highly unstable, and through the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability mechanism, small splash droplets are generated which are carried into the furnace’s top space. A model proposed for the formation of the smaller splash droplets predicted that the splash collected decreases exponentially with increasing height above the slag free surface from the point of splashing, and this is in agreement with the experimental results obtained.


Material Transaction Slag Layer Slag Surface Flash Smelting Furnace Splash Droplet 
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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society - ASM International - The Materials Information Society 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liow Jong-Leng
    • 1
  • Neil B. Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.G.K. Williams Cooperative Research Centre for Extractive Metallurgy, Department of Chemical EngineeringThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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