CFD Modeling of boron removal from liquid silicon with cold gases and plasma
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMetallurgical and materials transactions. B, process metallurgy and materials processing science. 2018, 49 (3), 1288-1301. 10.1007/s11663-018-1228-5
The present study focuses on a specific step of the metallurgical path of purification to provide solar-grade silicon: the removal of boron through the injection of H2O(g)-H2(g)-Ar(g) (cold gas process) or of Ar-H2-O2 plasma (plasma process) on stirred liquid silicon. We propose a way to predict silicon and boron flows from the liquid silicon surface by using a CFD model (©Ansys Fluent) combined with some results on one-dimensional diffusive-reactive models to consider the formation of silica aerosols in a layer above the liquid silicon. The comparison of the model with experimental results on cold gas processes provided satisfying results for cases with low and high concentrations of oxidants. This confirms that the choices of thermodynamic data of HBO(g) and the activity coefficient of boron in liquid silicon are suitable and that the hypotheses regarding similar diffusion mechanisms at the surface for HBO(g) and SiO(g) are appropriate. The reasons for similar diffusion mechanisms need further enquiry. We also studied the effect of pressure and geometric variations in the cold gas process. For some cases with high injection flows, the model slightly overestimates the boron extraction rate, and the overestimation increases with increasing injection flow. A single plasma experiment from SIMaP (France) was modeled, and the model results fit the experimental data on purification if we suppose that aerosols form, but it is not enough to draw conclusions about the formation of aerosols for plasma experiments.