Analysis of the current distribution in an aluminum electrolysis cell with copper collector-bar cathode assembly

Das, Subrat, Morsi, Yos and Brooks, Geoffrey 2011, Analysis of the current distribution in an aluminum electrolysis cell with copper collector-bar cathode assembly, in Proceedings of the 10th Australasian Aluminium Smelting Technology Conference, University of New South Wales, [Launceston, Tas.], pp. 1-14.

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Title Analysis of the current distribution in an aluminum electrolysis cell with copper collector-bar cathode assembly
Author(s) Das, Subrat
Morsi, Yos
Brooks, Geoffrey
Conference name Australasian Aluminium Smelting Technology Conference (10th : 2011 : Launceston, Tas.)
Conference location Launceston, Tas.
Conference dates 9-14 Oct. 2011
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 10th Australasian Aluminium Smelting Technology Conference
Editor(s) Welch, Barry
Stephens, Gretta
Metson, Jim
Skyllas‐Kazacos, Maria
Publication date 2011
Conference series Australasian Aluminium Smelting Technology Conference
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher University of New South Wales
Place of publication [Launceston, Tas.]
Keyword(s) Aluminium reduction cell
current distribution
current density
copper collector bar
cathode voltage drop
numerical simulation
Summary Understanding the magneto-hydrodynamic forces generated due to the external magnetic field and current density distribution within the cell (current in cell linings) is important in the optimization of cell dynamics. It is well documented that these factors play a crucial role in establishing the metal-pad stability of the cell. Conventional cells use the cathode-collector-bar assembly to carry the current through molten aluminium, the cathode and the steel collector-bar to nearest external bus. The electrical conductivity of the steel is so poor relative to the molten aluminium that the outer third of the collector bar carries the maximum load, which in turn increases the horizontal components of the current within the cell. Previous studies have modelled improvement in the cell instability through external magnetic compensation by redistributing current in the cathode busbar. Very little to date has been published on work to improve the current distribution within the cell. In this work, the current distribution in an aluminium electrolysis cell with copper collector-bar was predicted using finite element modelling. A 2D cross-section of a commercial cell was used under steady conditions of electrical fields in anode, electrolyte, molten aluminium and copper cathode-assembly. Different shapes and sizes of the cathode assembly are also considered to optimise the distribution of current throughout the cathode lining. The findings indicated that the copper-bar of similar size to steel could save voltage up to 150 mV. There is a reduction of more than 70% in peak current density value due to the copper inserts. The predicted trends of current distribution show a good agreement with previously published data.
ISBN 9780733430541
Language eng
Field of Research 091501 Computational Fluid Dynamics
091508 Turbulent Flows
Socio Economic Objective 861101 Basic Aluminium Products
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
HERDC collection year 2011
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30045541

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Engineering
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