Investigating the effectiveness of organic binders as an alternative to bentonite in the pelletization of low grade iron ore
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University of Zimbabwe
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Publication date: 2023-11-29
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Tafadzwa Ngara   

University of Zimbabwe
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2023;59(6):176094
Bentonite is the traditionally used binder in iron ore pelletization. However, it consists of up to 85% silica and alumina which are undesired acidic gangue in iron-making. In this study, carboxymethyl cellulose, sodium lignosulfonate and cornstarch were used as acidic gangue-free organic alternatives to bentonite in synthesizing iron pellets. Iron ore, water and the corresponding binder were mixed and rolled in a pelletizing disk to form green pellets. The green pellets were dried and subsequently indurated in a furnace at 1200 ℃ to form indurated pellets. To evaluate the effectiveness of the organic binders, the pellets produced were tested on various pellet properties. Known industrial pellet property standards and the bentonite binder were used as references. Carboxymethyl cellulose, sodium lignosulfonate and corn starch produced green pellets with average drop numbers of 7.20 ± 0.84, 5.60 ± 0.89 and 6.00 ± 1.00 respectively, compared to bentonite’s 5.00 ± 0.71. Dry pellets of average compressive strength 5.93 ± 0.09, 5.86 ± 0.03 and 11.52 ± 0.18 kg/pellet were produced by carboxymethyl cellulose, sodium lignosulfonate and corn starch respectively while bentonite’s averaged 5.60 ± 0.08 kg/pellet. For indurated pellets, carboxymethyl cellulose (210.2 ± 1.88 kg/pellet) and sodium lignosulfonate (198.1 ± 2.49 kg/pellet) pellets were weaker than those of bentonite (250.4 ± 2.06 kg/pellet) but satisfied the industrial requirement of 181.4 kg/pellet. A boron oxide additive (0.1 wt. %) was used to boost the strength of carboxymethyl cellulose indurated pellets to 252.6 ± 1.32 kg/pellet, rendering them superior to those of bentonite.
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