Until the 1950s of the last century, the oxidized iron ores that were loaded into the blast furnace had granulometries within 10 and 120 mm. However, the depletion of high-grade iron ore sources has made necessary the utilization of concentration processes with the purpose of enriching the iron ore. Because of these processes, a fine granulometry is produced, and thus iron agglomeration process is necessary. There are several agglomeration processes including: briquetting, extrusion, nodulization, pelletizing and sintering, although pelletizing and sintering are the most widely used, and especially sintering process (70% blast furnace load). Apart from obtaining an agglomerated product, the objective is reaching the suitable characteristics (thermal, mechanical, physical, and chemical) in a product that is then fed into the blast furnace, achieving a homogenous and stable operation in this furnace with economical profitability.
Part of the book: Iron Ores and Iron Oxide Materials