Solid State Carbothermal Reduction of Alumina

  • Dongsheng Liu
  • Guangqing Zhang
  • Jiuqiang Li
  • Oleg Ostrovski


The Hall-Héroult process, the only commercial technology for aluminum production requires high energy and is a major origin of perfluorocarbons and green house gases. A promising alternative process, carbothermal reduction of alumina to metallic aluminum has advantages of lower capital cost, less energy consumption, and lower emission of green house gases. Carbothermal reduction processes under development are based on formation of aluminum carbide-alumina melts at high temperatures. Solid state carbothermal reduction of alumina is possible at reduced CO partial pressure. This paper presents results of experimental study of carbothermal reduction of alumina into aluminum carbide in Ar, He and H2 atmospheres at 1500–1700°C. The reduction rate of alumina increases with increasing temperature, and is significantly faster in He and H2 than in Ar. Increasing gas flow rate and decreasing pressure favors the reduction.


Carbothermal reduction Alumina Aluminum carbide Solid state reduction 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    W. Jaupin, “Aluminum Production and Refining,” Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology (Elsevier Science Ltd. 2001), 132–140.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    G. Brooks, et al., “Challenges in Light Metals Production,” Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy (Trans. Inst. Min Metall. C), 116(1) (2007), 25–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Gruenert and J. Mercier, “Reduction of Aluminum Oxide with Carbon,” Patent DE 1144014,1963.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C.N. Cochran and N.M. Fitzgerald, “Energy Efficient Production of Aluminum by Carbothermic Reduction of Alumina,” Patent US 4299619, 1981.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. A. Persson, “Aluminum Production,” Patent US 4385930,1983.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    P.D. Dougan and F.W. Southam, “Process and Reactor for Production of Aluminum by Carbothermic Reduction of Alumina,” Patent CA 1184290, 1985.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    V.A. Dmitriev and S.V. Karasev, “Induction Heated Shaft Furnace for Carbothermic Reduction Alumina to Aluminum Carbide and Electrochemical Dissociation to Molten Aluminum Product,” Patent RU 2157856, 2000.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    A.F. Lacamera, “Carbothermic Reduction of Alumina at High Temperatures Followed by Melt Cooling with Scrap Aluminum,” Patent WO 2000040767, 2000.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    M.J. Bruno, “Aluminum Carbothermic Technology Comparison Hall-Héroult Technology,” Light Metals 2003, ed. P.N. Crepeau, TMS 2003, 395–400.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    K. Johansen, et al, “Aluminum Carbothermic Technology, Alcoa-Elkem Advanced Reactor Process,” Light Metals 2003, ed. P.N. Crepeau, TMS 2003, 401–406.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    K. Johansen and J. A. Aune, “High Temperature Reactor and Process for Preparation of Molten Aluminum by Carbothermic Reduction of Alumina,” Patent US 6440193, 2002.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    J.A. Aune and K. Johanson, “Partition Furnace Reactor for Preparation of Molten Aluminum by Carbothermic Reduction of Alumina,” Patent US 173053, 2004.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    R.J. Fruehan, Y. Li and G. Garkin, “Mechanism and Rate of Reaction of A12O, Al and CO Vapors with Carbon,” Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, 35B (4) (2004), 617–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    V. Garcia-Osorio and B.E. Ydstie, “Vapor Recovery Reactor in Carbothermic Aluminum Production: Model Verification and Sensitivity Study for a Fixed Bed Column,” Chemical Engineering Science, 59 (10) (2004), 2053–2064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    R.J. Fruehan and G. Carkin, “The Pressure of A12O and Al in Equilibrium with a Al2O3-Al4C3 (Saturated) Slag at 1950°C to 2020°C,” Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, 35B (5) (2004), 1011–1013.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    P. Lefort, D. Tetard, and P. Tristant, “Formation of Aluminum Carbide by Carbothermal Reduction of Alumina: Role of the Gaseous Aluminum Phase,” Journal of European Ceramic Society, 12 (1993), 123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    G Zhang, M. A. R. Dewan, N. Anacleto, R. Kononov, and O. Ostrovski, “Reduction of Stable Oxides,” in Advances in Metallurgical Processes and Materials. (Paper presented on International Conference on Advances in Metallurgical Processes and Materials, 27–30 May, 2007, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    S. A. Rezan, G. Zhang, and O. Ostrovski, “Synthesis of Titanium Oxycarbonitride by Carbothermal Reduction of Titania in Nitrogen Containing Gas Mixtures,” in Ti-2007: Science and Technology. Vol. 1, 79–82.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    M. A. R. Dewan, G. Zhang, and O, Ostrovski, “Carbothermal Reduction of Titania in Different Gas Atmospheres,” Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, in press.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    M. Yastreboff, O. Ostrovski, and S. Ganguly, “Effect of Gas Composition on the Carbothermic Reduction of Manganese Oxide,” ISIJ International, 43(2), (2003), 161–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongsheng Liu
    • 1
  • Guangqing Zhang
    • 1
  • Jiuqiang Li
    • 1
  • Oleg Ostrovski
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of New South Wales, UNSWSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations