How do Russian Aluminum
I wrote the company "RUSAL" and asked if I wanted to look at how they are doing on their aluminum plants - I, without thinking twice, agreed. I've always wondered how to get the metal out of clay by electricity. And look at the way we have in the country produce something, rather than just being driven oil through the pipe, it is very curious.
The result was a list of places you can go, we've compiled a schedule and I went on the first trip, first in Sayanogorsk, employing just three of the plant belonging to Rusal, then in Krasnoyarsk - where there is one of the largest in the world ( if not the largest) aluminum smelter.
After four days on, I plant seems to be completely can produce aluminum at home - so I am all the details shown and explained.
So everything is in order.
Aluminum - the third most common chemical element on Earth, after oxygen and silicon. The Periodic Table is at 13-th number and denoted as Al. Aluminum in the nature very much, but all of that which surrounds us, made an industrial way - it is not gold or platinum, which exist in the form of nuggets.
RUSAL held in 2007, the third largest aluminum producer, and is now part of the combined company "Russian Aluminum" - is the world's largest aluminum and alumina producer. On the Sayanogorsk aluminum smelter, which began with the history of RUSAL, I went first.
From Abakan, Khakassia capital to Sayanogorsk - hour drive away. The city is located in the very place where it ends and begins Khakass steppe Sayan Mountains. Plant (and there are three, actually) - fifteen kilometers from the city.
Since Sayanogorsk aluminum look of the plant box. I arrived on a Sunday, people in the territory almost was not, but the plant was working - aluminum production technology and continuous in all shops work was, as usual.
It all starts here - in the electrolysis shop. It produces aluminum for the very technology developed by another Frenchman and an American Era Hall, about which I wrote above. However, it now looks quite different, both in the XIX century. In doing Sayanogorsk aluminum baths with m. N. baked anodes. Here they were brought on the trolley. These anodes are immersed in an electrolytic bath, where alumina is filled, and where it is in metal conversion.
And here is how the exhaust his baked anodes. This sacrificial material that the plant also produces its own. This technology allows at the stage of manufacture to dispose of a plurality of contaminants. Anode with already formed carbon cube more harmless, as the resinous substance removed therefrom during the manufacturing process. Modern plants are built with the expectation of using it such anodes. There are Norwegian Soderberg technology, which works by, for example, the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant.
Rows electrolytic leave seems beyond the horizon. This new two shops in Sayanogorsk, built in 2004-2006 and allocated in a separate plant, named Khakas - for the construction of a new plant because it was easier to look for investors. This shop does not crowded, I met only one person. The production process is almost completely automated - alumina is filled from above, after the loop closure comes valve and the vacuum pump evacuates a large aluminum ladle.
Here is this design on tap drains from three-ton aluminum hydrolysis baths, and then poured into a ladle, which can then be taken to the foundry. In order to produce a ton of aluminum is necessary for almost two tons of alumina, a half-ton of carbon (anode) and about 15,000 kWh of electricity. All equipment in the shop Russian made in Research and Development Center of RUSAL, but the raw material is brought imported - from Guinea, Jamaica.
Hydrolysis shop - it is not only harmful to human production, but also for photography. Each ton of aluminum - is 280,000 cubic meters of gas selected. And if emissions have learned to deal with the help of a filter system, here is a photo and video equipment, I was told the accompanying better to gidrolizoram close not approach - where a strong magnetic field.
What's next? Then ladle with aluminum put on a truck and driven it to the foundry. There he was waiting for the oven, which is required for a customer from a simple aluminum alloy.
Photos foundry - from Sayanogorsk Aluminum, which was built during the Soviet era. Halls in two factories stand next and apparently differ only in color. By the way, two new shops Khakas plant (HAZ) - the first venture for the production of aluminum, built in Russia over the past 20 years. Well, the most modern, of course.
In the foundry are huge furnaces inside which look terrible - there sways slightly red-hot to 700 ° C the molten metal mirror. Here aluminum cook on demand - according to customer requirements. Everyone needs a different metal with additives under opredlenii production.
So is poured into the furnace pure aluminum, imported from the electrolysis shop. I do not know why he got the picture reddish - generally it is light gray.
Next to the ovens - an additive for alloys: silicon, titanium alloying, zirconium ingots.
This wizard keeps track of additives at metal smelting. Once in a furnace laid the components of the future of the alloy, the master takes a sample, makes it small, the size of a hockey puck ingot and sends it to a chemical laboratory to check their work.
In this furnace is poured into aluminum ingots - for customers who need the metal in its own foundries.
While aluminum is slowly moving on a conveyor belt, it is time to harden and output work just adds to the pig pile.
Aluminum - beautiful metal.
The sun shines in the side windows on the roof and in the shop - almost theatrical light. Working at the furnace as if under the spotlight.
In the filling machine control panel, which makes cylindrical ingots of several meters in length for the cable industry.
The metal is poured into a vertical shape.
Aluminum crystallizes in forms, cover ups, product ready.
Cranes picks still warm aluminum ingots and transported them to a special table.
Master adds bars in a row.
and puts a stamp on them and change their date of manufacture.
Elsewhere shop long cylinders are cut into pieces.
Made in Russia.
For some of the customers here are huge cast aluminum ingots.
At casters short break, you can drink tea. Next to the shop there round the clock dining room for workers virtually free - there ridiculous prices, and to each pay 70 "dining" rubles a day.
You can also look at the results of analyzes of samples of "their" metal in the laboratory.
At that time, the new foundry smelter is packing and loading of finished goods in railway wagons.
Factory complain Railways - crushed their tariffs. Monopolist raises the price of transportation in the year of the year.
Two new shops of the Khakas aluminum smelter.
In the end, for those who are interested - interesting facts from the history of aluminum.
Although, there were times when aluminum prized above precious metals. Pliny the Elder in the "Natural History" is a reference to the master who brought the emperor Tiberius cup of light white metal, mined, he said, out of clay. Tiberius then feared that all his wealth worthless and habitually cut off the head of the master - then the problem of competition in the market to solve simple. In 1855, when aluminum was first shown to the public at the World Exhibition in Paris, it was called "silver from clay", it was very expensive metal. At the court of the Emperor Napoleon III during the gala dinners dishes and tools for the imperial family were made of aluminum, the rest - from a simple gold. There are two names which are associated with the appearance of aluminum in our lives: Alessandro Volta and Humphry Davy. Italian Volta experimented with galvanic electricity, t. E. With the electricity, which appears as a result of chemical processes. He invented and made device consisting of alternating copper and zinc plates separated by spacers of cloth, wetted with sulfuric acid. Then it was thought that electricity from t. N. "Voltaic pile" can treat various ailments and the invention of Volta quickly became fashionable. Chemists well understood that by using electricity can be decomposed into simple complex bodies and have metals which exist in nature only in the form of compounds.
English chemist Humphry Davy, professor of the Royal Institute, engaged in experiments with electrolysis plant, with which he tried to extract pure metals. It electric current is passed through the water which is immersed in a variety of substances - platinum wire, mercury, sodium hydroxide. So he got the metal, now known as sodium and potassium. Strontium and barium were prepared by the decomposition of Davy alkaline earths. In 1808, he came right up to the creation of metal from alumina, which gave the name "aluminum". Humphry Davy could be called the father of modern-day aluminum industry - is now all the companies in the world use its electrolytic method.
However, it was still far from the present aluminum. Experiments Davey continued Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted and German chemist Friedrich Wohler. On receipt of aluminum in the form of several grain size of a pinhead at Wohler it took almost two decades. True, it was not the pure metal and its alloys with potassium, mercury and platinum. Wohler was able to get it for the first time in 1827. In 1856, Frenchman Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville, significantly reduce the cost and improve the technology Wohler, he began the first industrial production of aluminum factory Tissier brothers in Rouen. Per night Deville factory produced two kilograms of aluminum. In 1857, a kilogram of this metal was worth 300 francs. In those years in Paris, the room can be rented for 20 francs.
Aluminum production chemical method started in other countries - in 1888 in England began to work plant about metal production by Deville. The experiments were carried out about the production of aluminum in the United States - the obelisk at the top of the George Washington Memorial small pyramid made of pure aluminum was installed in 1888, which is produced when only one person - William Frishmus. In those days it was an event - a pyramid height of 22 cm and a weight of 3 kg even exhibited prior to installation in the window of a jewelry store Tiffany's in New York. Three kilos - that's a lot, in 1885 the United States produced a total of 28, 3 kg of aluminum. In shop windows always been a crowd - everyone wanted to see the miracle of aluminum. Pyramid has survived to our days, only a few oplavilas from frequent lightning strikes.
But all this still can not be called industrial production in full. Aluminum was a precious metal, and scientists have dreamed of its practical application. The chemical process was costly and was replaced by electrolysis, Davy invented yet. For this purpose it was necessary to wait until the change of the voltaic pile do not come more powerful sources of electrical energy. Frenchman Heroult Louis Paul and American Charles Martin Hall independently both invented and patented a method of industrial electrolytic aluminum production. In 1883, Era draws on the fields of their workbook almost modern electrolyzer - in a small pot with cryolite, serves as the cathode, carbon anode is placed. Eru crucible heated to 1100 degrees, it is destroyed and in the resulting alloy showed aluminum. Interestingly, the further improvement of technology and the increase in aluminum production release resisted owners - they were not interested in falling prices for the metal and otherwise interfere with the implementation of new inventions in this field. Brothers Coles, owned plant in Lockport, even wanted to buy the Hall patent, so they would not have used the competitors.
One way or another, but advances in technology have made his - aluminum material became available to the public at the end of the XIX century it has made no jewelry, and household items, optical instruments, crockery and cooking utensils, which was to replace traditional copper and iron. It appeared and aluminum foil as a packaging for food products. Chocolate in foil - a product of the late XIX century.
The subsequent history of aluminum in human life - is the search for its new properties and qualities. Aluminum alloys have been made new, he interacted well with other metals. In 1903 a German metallurgist, Alfred Wilm, after years of experimentation was 'solid' aluminum alloy with copper, magnesium and manganese. The new material called duralumin (from the Latin durus - hard). This metal has become the basis for the construction of aircraft - in 1920 from the Soviet counterpart called kolchugalyuminiem, was made famous ANT-2 design Andrei Tupolev.
Russia became the third country in the world, where they began to produce aluminum industrially produced. The first factory was founded in 1885 by industrialist A. Nowowiejski, it was located near the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. In 1916, in the vicinity of Tikhvin found a deposit of bauxite. In 1929 the factory "Red Vyborzhets" was installed six electrolyzers. March 27 this equipment first eight kilograms of Soviet aluminum were obtained. It was produced with the help of electricity Volkhov hydroelectric and domestic materials. Here, in the factory, this began to produce aluminum cookware and cutlery. Soviet prototype electrolyser was a French electrolytic bath. In 1930, at the pilot plant in Leningrad already produced 90 tons of metal! A second aluminum smelter became the plant, built next to the DnieproGES. The factory complex consists of an alumina refinery, which processes about 30 000 tonnes of bauxite, electrolysis production, designed for smelting 15,000 tons and own production of carbon anodes - the basis for the work of the foundry. Across the country, began to search for sources of raw materials for the aluminum plants - the need for this metal was extraordinary. Bauxite is found in the South Urals, Bashkortostan, began to be processed into alumina waste blast furnace. Metal is still not enough and had to be brought from abroad - from France, Norway, USA.
After the outbreak of war the country lost almost all of its power production of aluminum - Volkhov and Dnieper factories were dismantled. "Give me 30,000 tons of aluminum and I will win the war," - Stalin, Roosevelt wrote in 1941. The USSR was the only one aluminum factory in the Urals, who worked for the defense industry. During the war years, Ural Aluminum produced more than 244 000 tonnes of metal.
In the postwar years were built Kandalaksha, Nadvoitsky and Volgograd refineries. In 60-70 years, when the Soviet Union began to build a large hydroelectric power station in the Siberian rivers, appeared Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Bratsk aluminum smelters. There remained the problem of raw materials - alumina had to buy abroad - in Guinea, Africa. The first factory for the processing of imported materials became the Nikolaev Alumina Refinery (1980). It was designed to process high-quality African bauxite.
After the collapse of the USSR in the Russian aluminum industry found itself in a difficult situation - the state has ceased to invest, broke ties with suppliers of raw materials in the former Soviet republics. British Trans World Group, to gain control over a large part of the Russian aluminum plants in Russia has implemented a system known tolling when importing raw materials and exporting manufactured products duty-free, that brought the owners of huge profits, but deprive plants of funds for production development. After the privatization in 1993, criminal organizations began to come into the industry, hoping for a quick profit. control was established over the sea ports and factories were forced to pay the bandits for shipping goods abroad. In the struggle for control over the industry, criminal groups were trying to intimidate those plant managers, who refused to cooperate with them. Those who refused to work on the thugs brutally massacred. In 1994, Oleg Deripaska was elected Director General of the Sayanogorsk Aluminum Smelter. By this time he was its majority owner with TWG (Black brothers - known names). Three years after its establishment, led by Oleg Deripaska Group "Siberian Aluminum" entered the top ten world producers of aluminum products and Deripaska broke with Trans World Group, finding additional funds for the development of an additional issue of shares of the plant. In 2007, through the merger of aluminum and alumina assets of RUSAL, ranked third in the world in the production of aluminum, SUAL Group, one of the ten leading producers of aluminum and alumina assets of the combined company "Russian Aluminum" was created by Swiss company Glencore - the largest in world producer of aluminum and alumina.