, Volume 66, Issue 11, pp 2343-2354,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 08 Nov 2013

Element Distribution in Silicon Refining: Thermodynamic Model and Industrial Measurements


To establish an overview of impurity elemental distribution among silicon, slag, and gas/fume in the refining process of metallurgical grade silicon (MG-Si), an industrial measurement campaign was performed at the Elkem Salten MG-Si plant in Norway. Samples of in- and outgoing mass streams, i.e., tapped Si, flux and cooling materials, refined Si, slag, and fume, were analyzed by high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HR-ICP-MS), with respect to 62 elements. The elemental distributions were calculated and the experimental data compared with equilibrium estimations based on commercial and proprietary, published databases and carried out using the ChemSheet software. The results are discussed in terms of boiling temperatures, vapor pressures, redox potentials, and activities of the elements. These model calculations indicate a need for expanded databases with more and reliable thermodynamic data for trace elements in general and fume constituents in particular.