Phase Transitions and Microstructural Changes During Oxidation and Reduction of a Weathered Ilmenite Concentrate
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMining, Metallurgy & Exploration (MME). 2021, . 10.1007/s42461-021-00397-9
The present work aims to investigate the link between the oxidation and reduction of a weathered ilmenite concentrate in terms of phase transitions, microstructural changes, and element distribution. An ilmenite concentrate sample was pelletized and fired at 1000 °C in air, and as a result, the pellets were oxidized. The oxidized pellets were reduced by hydrogen gas at 1000 °C, which yielded almost complete metallization of the iron content of the pellets. The ore and the pellets were characterized in each step by XRD and SEM techniques, and distribution of elements and phases were investigated. Ilmenite, pseudorutile, and rutile were the main phases detected in the ilmenite concentrate sample, and depending on the weathering degree of the particles, different fractions of the phases were identified in their microstructure. It was found that irregular rutile grains dispersed in a pseudobrookite matrix is the morphology of the oxidized ilmenite phase. However, increasing microcracks and porosities were the only microstructural changes in the pseudorutile phase after oxidation in air. Studying the specific types of the ore particles and their oxidized and reduced forms indicated that the phase distribution in the ilmenite ore particles dictates the phase distribution in the oxidized and reduced ones. Results show that the morphology of the reduced particles includes a titanium (III) oxide matrix in which reduced iron globules are dispersed.