Non-destructive quality control of carbon anodes using modal analysis, acousto-ultrasonic and latent variable methods

Authors: Ben Boubaker, Moez
Advisor: Duchesne, CarlDarvishi Alamdari, Houshang
Abstract: The performance of the Hall-Héroult electrolysis reduction process used for the industrial aluminium smelting is strongly influenced by the quality of carbon anodes, particularly by the presence of defects in their internal structure, such as cracks, pores and heterogeneities. This is partly due to the decreasing quality and increasing variability of the raw materials available on the market as well as the frequent suppliers changes made in order to meet the smelter’s specifications and to reduce purchasing costs. However, the anode producers are not prepared to cope with these variations and in order to maintain consistent anode quality. Consequently, it becomes a priority to develop alternative methods for inspecting each anode block to improve quality control and maintain consistent anode quality in spite of the variability of incoming raw materials.A rapid and non-destructive inspection system for anode quality control is proposed based on modal analysis and acousto-ultrasonic techniques. The large set of vibration and acousto-ultrasonic data collected from baked anode materials was analyzed using multivariate latent variable methods, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Partial Least Squares (PLS), in order to cluster the tested anodes based on vibration and their acousto-ultrasonic signatures. The inspection system was investigated first using slices collected from industrial anodes and then on several full size anodes produced under different conditions at the Alcoa Deschambault in Québec (ADQ). It is shown that the proposed method allows discriminating defect-free anodes from those containing various types of defects. In addition, the acousto-ultrasonic features obtained in different frequency ranges were found to be sensitive to the defects severities and were able to locate them in anode blocks. The acousto-ultrasonic method was validated qualitatively using X-ray computed tomography, when studying the anode slices. The results obtained on the full size anode blocks were validated by means of images collected after cutting some tested anodes.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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