The Bureau of Mines evaluated synthetic fluorspars as substitutes for natural fluorspar in basic oxygen steelmaking using a high- temperature rotational viscometer and a quarter-ton basic oxygen furnace (bof). Considerable variation in stability and bof slag fluidizing properties were found when using the initial synthetic products, but improved synthesis methods produced synthetic fluorspars that were generally comparable to natural fluorspar in laboratory testing. Trials in the furnace showed the synthetic products to be operationally the equivalent of natural fluorspar. Higher sulfur and phosphorus contents in some of the synthetic materials did not adversely affect the steel chemistry. Analyses of wet scrubber samples showed evidence that the pelletized synthetic fluorspars experienced greater physical and chemical disintegration than did natural fluorspar. It was also found that operation of a bof without fluorspar is possible when making low-carbon steels because iron oxide is intrinsically generated as the slag fluidizer.
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