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Experimental study of rate of silica formation from active oxidation of liquid silicon


In the silicon and ferrosilicon industry there are several environmental challenges, one of
them being diffuse emissions of fume. Fume emissions in the plant are often poorly captured, and
thus contribute to making the indoor environment harmful for the workers. On-going research into
solutions to reduce the emissions is hence vital.
In earlier studies, the main source of fugitive emissions - amorphous silica fume formation -
was established; oxidation of liquid silicon during tapping and refining. The limiting factor for the
fuming rate was found to be the oxygen availability at the liquid silicon surface, and a silica flux
was estimated from measurements.
In order to better understand the mechanisms behind industrially observed fuming rates,
experiments performed in a 75 kW induction furnace were carried out, and the rate of fume
formation as a function of gas composition and flow velocity was measured. The particle size of
fume particles, formed due to active oxidation of a moving liquid silicon surface, was also
determined as a function of gas flow rate, and gas composition. The fume was collected in an
industrial type filter, and all equipment was weighted before and after each experiment in order to
monitor the weight loss/gain.
The results of the experimental study showed that the flux of silica increased with increased
gas velocity above the liquid surface, and was found to correlate well with mass transfer rates
calculated from impinging jet theory. The size of the particles was also found to be dependent on
the gas flow rate.
The findings are discussed in light of recent measurements and modeling of Si oxidation rate
in industrial and small scale.


Academic lecture





  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Industry

Presented at





09.06.2013 - 13.06.2013


Abishev Chemical-Metallurgical Institute and National Center



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