Pig Iron Production By The Ilmenite Smelting Route
Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide mineral which is iron-black or steel-gray. It is a crystalline iron titanium oxide (FeTiO3). It crystallizes in the trigonal system. The ilmenite crystal structure is an ordered derivative of the corundum structure; in corundum all cations are identical but in ilmenite Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions occupy alternating layers perpendicular to the trigonal c axis.
Producers of titanium dioxide slag in Canada, South Africa, and Norway smelt ilmenite (FeTiO3) in electric Furnaces at temperatures ranging from 1650-1700° C, using either coal or another carbonaceous material as reductant. Titanium dioxide slag is largely used as a raw material for producing white pigment, mostly for the paint and plastics industries.
Basic reactions in ilmenite smelting are:
Reduction of FeO from slag
FeO + C→ Fe + CO
Partial reduction of TiO2 from slag
TiO2 + 1/2 C→ TiO1.5 + 1/2 C
1 “Ilmenite smelting: the basics” by P.C. Pistorius, a paper first presented at SAIMM Conference on Heavy Minerals, 10-14 September 2007); published by South African Insitute of Mining & Metallurgy, 2008, SA ISSN 0038-223X/3.00+0.00