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(searched for: doi:10.4236/jcpt.2018.81003)
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, B. Böttger, M. Apel
Published: 7 March 2022
Materials Theory, Volume 6, pp 1-22; https://doi.org/10.1186/s41313-022-00042-y

Abstract:
Ultra pure metals have various applications, e. g. as electrical conductors. Crystallization from the melt, e. g. via zone melting, using the segregation of impurities at the solidification front is the basic mechanism behind different technical processes for the refining of metals and semi-metals. In this paper, we focus on a crystallization methodology with a gas cooled tube (“cooled finger”) dipped into a metallic melt in a rotating crucible. The necessary requirement for purification in a solidification process is a morphologically stable solidification front. This is the only way to enable macroscopic separation of the impurities, e. g. by convection. For cellular or dendritic solidification morphologies, the segregated impurities are trapped into the interdendritic melt and remain as microsegregations in the solidified metal. Morphological stability depends on the temperature gradient G at the solidification front, the solidification front velocity V front and thermodynamic alloy properties like the segregation coefficients of the impurity elements. To quantify the impact of these parameters on the morphological evolution, especially on the planar/cellular transition and thus on microsegregation profiles, phase field simulations coupled to a thermodynamic database are performed for an aluminium melt with three impurities, Si, Mn and Fe. In particular, we have investigated the morphology evolution from the start of solidification at the cooled finger towards a stationary growth regime, because in the technical process a significant fraction of the melt solidifies along the initial transient. To solve the transient long range temperature evolution on an experimental length scale, the temperature field has been calculated using the homoenthalpic approach together with a 1D temperature field approximation. The simulations provide the process window for an energy efficient purification process, i. e. low thermal gradients, and elucidate the benefit of melt convection.
Heli Wan, Lingxin Kong, , , Mengping Duan, Yongnian Dai
Journal of Materials Research and Technology, Volume 17, pp 802-808; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmrt.2022.01.010

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 6 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Aluminum and aluminum-based alloys have been used for many years. In view of the increase in material purity requirements of advanced technology products, research regarding high-purity aluminum has gained significant attention in recent years. In this review, we seek to describe the fundamental purification principles and the mechanisms of various segregation techniques used to produce high-purity aluminum. Moreover, we aim to provide an overview of high-purity aluminum production, with particular emphasis on: (a) principles on how to produce high-purity aluminum by layer- and suspension-based segregation methods; (b) discussion of various influencing process parameters for each technique, including three-layer electrolysis, vacuum distillation, organic electrolysis, suspension-based segregation, zone melting, Pechiney, Cooled Finger, and directional solidification; as well as (c) investigations of fundamental working principles of various segregation methods and corresponding reported end-purification for the production of HP-Al. Eventually, the end-reported product purity, and advantages and disadvantages of various purification methods and technologies are summarized. By analyzing and comparing the characteristics of different methods, we put forward suggestions for realizing efficient and environmentally friendly production of high-purity aluminum in the future.
Mingxu Li, Qingle Tian, Meizhen Wu, Jubo Peng, Jiatao Zhang, Lishi Chen, Xingwei Lu, Zhishuai Xu,
Published: 23 April 2021
Journal of Crystal Growth, Volume 565; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2021.126156

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 20 April 2021
by MDPI
Materials, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14082064

Abstract:
The zone refining method is a physical method for effectively purifying metals. Increasing yield and reducing impurity content have always been the focus of its research. This article systematically summarizes the relevant research on the production of high-purity metals by zone refining, including mechanisms, parameter optimization, zone refining types, analysis methods, limitations, and future development directions, and it provides relevant theoretical foundations for the production of high-purity metals as well.
Yuan Tian, Xiao Pan Zhang, Tao Qu, Fei Lyu, Hao Du, Lei Shi, Bin Yang, Yong Nian Dai
Published: 22 January 2021
Materials Research Express, Volume 8; https://doi.org/10.1088/2053-1591/abdf12

Abstract:
In this study, the distribution and evaporation principles of impurities in distilled magnesium metal were investigated using a low vacuum (8 × 104 Pa) distillation purification experiment and theoretical analysis. Provided all other factors remain unchanged (distillation time, pressure, and total area of evaporation), the optimum temperature for preparing high-purity Mg (99.99%) is 750 °C. A detailed analysis of purified Mg was obtained by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) for 10 major impurity elements. After distillation at 750 °C, low vapor pressure impurities in condensed magnesium, including Si, Mn, Al, Fe, Cu, Ni, and Sn were significantly reduced as other impurities were slightly reduced. Our analysis confirmed a decrease in the following impurities: Fe, Si, Mn, Cu, and Al were reduced from 21.8, 78.6, 68.4, 4.4, and 39.4 ppm to 1.2, 9.3, 6.0, 1.0, and 5.4 ppm, respectively; satisfying the 99.99% Mg standard. The evaporation rate and separation coefficient were calculated under experimental conditions. To better describe the distillation process of metallic magnesium under low vacuum conditions, the mean free path is also calculated in this study under actual conditions.
Heli Wan, Jinyang Zhao, , BaoQiang Xu, Mengping Duan, , Yongnian Dai
Journal of Materials Research and Technology, Volume 9, pp 10366-10376; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmrt.2020.07.050

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Heli Wan, BaoQiang Xu, Bin Yang, Mengping Duan, Jia Yang, Yongnian Dai, Lingxin Kong,
Published: 14 March 2020
Silicon, Volume 13, pp 399-407; https://doi.org/10.1007/s12633-020-00443-z

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Xiaoxin Zhang, Semiramis Friedrich, Bernd Friedrich
Journal of Materials Research and Technology, Volume 9, pp 4386-4398; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmrt.2020.02.063

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, Shreyas Pitale, S G Singh, Shashwati Sen, S C Gadkari
Published: 11 September 2019
Bulletin of Materials Science, Volume 42; https://doi.org/10.1007/s12034-019-1944-8

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Heli Wan, BaoQiang Xu, , Jinyang Zhao, Yongnian Dai
Published: 25 July 2019
The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 25 May 2018
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8060875

Abstract:
Zone refining, as the currently most common industrial process to attain ultrapure metals, is influenced by a variety of factors. One of these parameters, the so-called “zone length”, affects not only the ultimate concentration distribution of impurities, but also the rate at which this distribution is approached. This important parameter has however neither been investigated experimentally, nor ever varied for the purpose of optimization. This lack of detections may be due to the difficult temperature measurement of a moving molten area in a vacuum system, of which the zone refining methodology is comprised. Up to now, numerical simulation as a combination of complex mathematical calculations, as well as many assumptions has been the only way to reveal it. This paper aims to propose an experimental method to accurately measure the molten zone length and to extract helpful information on the thermal gradient, temperature profile and real growth rate in the zone refining of an exemplary metal, in this case aluminum. This thermographic method is based on the measurement of the molten surface temperature via an infrared camera, as well as further data analysis through the mathematical software MATLAB. The obtained results show great correlation with the visual observations of zone length and provide helpful information to determine the thermal gradient and real growth rate during the whole process. The investigations in this paper approved the application of an infrared camera for this purpose as a promising technique to automatically control the zone length during a zone refining process.
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