Penetration of matte into tap-hole bricks causes detrimental refractory
wear, which can lead to furnace breakouts. The ability of the tap-hole clay
to form a protective layer on the brick, thereby limiting matte penetration
was investigated by examining the interaction between platinum group
metal (PGM) matte, tap-hole clay, and alumina-chrome refractory bricks
on a laboratory scale.
Samples containing clay and brick as well as samples containing clay,
brick, and matte were heated to different temperatures to establish the
clay-brick interaction and the extent of matte penetration. The greatest
degree of physical contact between the brick and clay was achieved at
curing temperatures of 600°C. Poor clay-brick contact was observed in the
sample that was heated to 900°C.
Matte displaced the clay in the clay-brick-matte sample that was
heated to 1350°C, with significant matte penetration into the brick. Less
matte penetration was observed when the clay-brick-matte sample was
heated to 1500°C. Less matte penetration was also observed in the claybrick-
matte sample in which the clay and brick were pre-baked at 800°C,
and the sample then reacted with matte at 1350°C.