, Volume 78, Issue 5-6, pp 363-376,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 Aug 2012

Active Oxidation of Liquid Silicon: Experimental Investigation of Kinetics


Small scale laboratory experiments on the oxidation of liquid silicon have reproduced important features of the industrial refining of liquid silicon: active oxidation led to the formation of amorphous silica spheres as a reaction product. The boundary condition for active oxidation in terms of maximum oxygen partial pressure in the bulk gas was found to lie between 2·10−3 and 5·10−3 atm at T = 1,500 °C. The active oxidation of liquid silicon had linear kinetics, and the rate was proportional to bulk oxygen partial pressure and the square root of the linear gas flow rate, consistent with viscous flow mass transfer theory. Classical theory for unconstrained flow over a flat plate led to mass transfer rates for SiO(g) which were 2–3 times slower than observed. However, computational fluid dynamic modeling to take into account the effects of reactor tube walls on flow patterns yielded satisfactory agreement with measured volatilization rates.