Influence of oxide dopants on the wetting of doped graphite by cryolite/alumina melts

Laé, E.; Sahajwalla, V.; Welch, B.; Skyllas-Kazacos, M.
February 2005
Journal of Applied Electrochemistry;Feb2005, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p199
Academic Journal
In the aluminium smelting industry, the wetting of the electrolyte on the carbon anode is an important property associated with the onset of the anode effect. The effect of dopants on the wettability of the anode was investigated in this study. The carbon material selected was graphite. The composition of the cryolite/alumina melts varied between a very low alumina content and 6 wt.% alumina. The sessile drop approach was adopted to measure the contact angle between the melt and the graphite at 1030 °C. The influence of oxide dopants, chromium III oxide and alumina, in the graphite on the wettability was studied. The wettability on a pure graphite surface depends to a small extent on the liquid surface tension but mostly on the liquid-solid interfacial tension that varies with the concentration of alumina in the liquid. The wettability on an oxide doped graphite surface depends on the dissolution of the oxide in the melt that changes the liquid-solid interfacial tension. The alumina dissolution has a double effect on the liquid-solid interfacial tension: the chemical reaction as well as the change in the oxy-anions concentration at the interface decrease the interfacial tension.


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