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The Need to Respect the Interlink Between Science, Physics, and Cell Design in an Environmentally Responsible Manner: The Next Big Challenge for Aluminium Smelting

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Light Metals 2023 (TMS 2023)

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Abstract

By building on the scientific and practical knowledge outstanding smelting cell designs have been developed that are energy efficient and environmentally responsible. With constraints arising from regional availability of energy and the substantial cost of supporting infrastructure, capacity creep by increasing amperage on the installed capacity provides a path for satisfying the growth in demand for the metal. Invariably design and operating retrofits become desirable or necessary because of cell heat balance and other constraints and these can lead to adverse performance and operating characteristics, such as a substantial reduction in cell life or reduced efficiencies. Root-casue contributors to such undesireable consequences are spatial and temporal changes of necessary transfer processes—the physics of getting the consumables or energy to or from the reacting sites at the rate required in order to maintain the desired uniformity in the cell. Hitherto this has been ignored—avoiding or minimising is the next challenge.

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References

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks to all the outstanding postgraduate students and postdoctoral research workers that I have had the privilege of motivating, guiding, and having an input into their experimentation. Collectively, the valuable information they have generated leaves the industry in a sound position for resolving the problems it creates when attempting to translate it to the operating mode! Also special thanks to companies associated with the industry that not only sponsored the projects but also made their special laboratory facilities available and hosted the students when doing experimental work in their facilities—especially R&D Carbon. All the industry sponsors showed trust in my ill-defined needs for sponsorship, commonly agreeing to fund proposal prior to terminating the phone call. And thanks to my academic colleagues who joined me on the journey and added the extra dimension through their own specialty and expertise.

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Correspondence to Barry J. Welch .

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© 2023 The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society

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Welch, B.J. (2023). The Need to Respect the Interlink Between Science, Physics, and Cell Design in an Environmentally Responsible Manner: The Next Big Challenge for Aluminium Smelting. In: Broek, S. (eds) Light Metals 2023. TMS 2023. The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-22532-1_3

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