Investigation of phase transformation related electrical conductivity of long-term heat treated aluminium electrolysis cathodes

Hankel, J. and Kernebeck, S. and Deuerler, F. and Weber, S.

Volume: 4 Pages:
DOI: 10.1007/s42452-022-05101-0
Published: 2022

This study presents an investigation on the specific electrical conductivity of the cathode materials used in an aluminium electrolysis cell over a temperature range between room temperature and 950 °C. Those materials are subjected to a diffusion related aging process due to the high operating temperature of the cell, leading to a change in chemical composition and microstructure. The materials were investigated both in the initial state before use in an aluminium electrolysis cell and after an operating period of 5 years. It is shown that the changes in chemical composition and thus also in microstructure over the service life at elevated operating temperature exert an effect on the electrical conductivity. In addition, calculations based on thermodynamic data were used to relate phase transformations to the changes in electrical conductivity. On the one hand, the electrical conductivity of the collector bar at 950 °C is reduced by about 11% after 5 years of service. On the other hand, the ageing process has a positive influence on the cast iron with an increased conductivity by about 41% at 950 °C. The results provide an understanding how diffusion related processes in the cathode materials affect energy efficiency of the aluminium electrolysis cell. © 2022, The Author(s).

« back