Fluxes for Portland Aluminum Refining are used to modify the aluminum alloy structure to improve cast product specific properties, such as tensile strength, elongation, machinability, dispersion of porosity, improved pressure tightness, and prevention of hot tears, depending on chemistry and alloy type. In addition, refining fluxes reduce hydrogen content and assist in separation of non-metallic impurities from the melt.
Fluxes for Portland Aluminum Refining are used as a complement to master alloy additives, or used alone depending on the particular production situation.
When added to wrought aluminum alloys, refining flux increases the number of nuclei, which in turn increases the number of crystals when metal solidifies. The resultant microstructure is marked with finer grain size and shorter dendrite arms leading to better mechanical properties.
When added to cast Al-Si alloy, components of refining flux improve fluidity of the melt which is especially important for thin wall castings. Refining Flux also slows down the growth of silicon (Si) crystals during the solidification process.
On November 8, 2021, the Portland Aluminum Smelter in Australia will resume its long-term reduced production capacity of 35,000 tons per year. In the absence of metal supply, this will push the facility’s production capacity to approximately 95%.
The capacity recovery procedures that have been redundant since 2009 will begin directly, and metal production will begin in the third quarter of 2022.
Michael Gollschewski, President of Alcoa Australia, said: “Restarting idle capacity can improve the cost structure, competitiveness and long-term sustainability of the smelter.”
Due to production restrictions in China, the world’s largest producer, aluminum prices soared to a 13-year high in October 2021. However, due to the strong demand for light metal consumption in packaging and construction, aluminum prices still tend to rise.
The Portland aluminum smelter has a total production capacity of 358,000 tons per year. It received government assistance in early 2021. Alcoa, the world-renowned comprehensive aluminum group, announced its withdrawal to cut costs and reduce carbon emissions.
The Portland Aluminum Smelter is the largest single consumer of electricity in Victoria and has entered into a cheap electricity deal with AGL Energy and Alinta Energy as part of the lifeline agreed in March.