Molten Metal Handling: A Guide to Aluminium Processing

As industries across the globe require increasingly high product performance, molten metal quality is becoming more and more important. Aluminium is the second-most consumed metal across the globe and the market produces more than 50 million tons of aluminium every year.

Molten metal handling requires highly durable materials with superior high temperature corrosion resistance and zero aluminium penetration. This article will explore how sialon is used for molten metal handling.

Aluminium Foundry
Aluminium Foundry – Image Credit: Shutterstock

High Demand for Molten Metal Handling

Aluminium is mainly produced through the refinement of bauxite ore, where industrially viable alumina (Al2O3) is refined from bauxite through the Bayer process. This involves crushing and heating followed by smelting to form pure aluminium to be used in a range of industrial and commercial sectors.

As aluminium is such a widely used material, a high demand for molten metal handling and casting arises. Refractory components such as thermocouple protection tubes, immersion and radiant heater tubes, and high- and low-pressure riser tubes / stalks must work efficiently and consistently to guarantee optimal production levels in industries which have such a high global demand.

Between the production bauxite to recognizable end products such as alloy wheels and automotive components, window frames and guttering, and food and drink containers a series of processing steps takes place. Forming of aluminium products via casting, extrusion, milling, and rolling technologies allows the industry to supply end users and intermediate manufacturers with innovative designs.

Sialons for Molten Metal Handling

Advanced silicon nitride-based ceramics, known as sialons (Si-Al-O-N), are well-suited to demanding applications. These are highly technical ceramics which are available in a variety of shapes and offer high strength up to temperatures of 1450°C, meaning they are well-suited to molten metal handling. They also have very low wettability to molten non-ferrous metals and excellent thermal shock resistance which means they can guarantee a long service life in the aluminium industry.

Sialon protection tubes
Sialon Protection Tubes – Image Credit: International Syalons (Newcastle) Ltd.

International Syalons manufactures a range of sialon components for use in molten metal handling and casting, used chiefly in the aluminium industry. These are:

At International Syalons, our products are used extensively for molten metal handling in both primary and secondary aluminium smelters, cast houses and foundries for a wide range of holding furnaces and filter box systems. To find out more, contact us today.

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