Nucor. has filed a patent for an improved direct smelting vessel that promotes metal mixing below the slag layer, enhancing heat transfer and maintaining a consistent temperature gradient. The method involves injecting solid carbonaceous material into the molten metal layer to produce high-quality molten metal efficiently. GlobalData’s report on Nucor gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Nucor, Structure Building Framework was a key innovation area identified from patents. Nucor's grant share as of January 2024 was 55%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Improved direct smelting vessel for promoting metal mixing

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Nucor Corp

A patent application (Publication Number: US20230407422A1) discloses a method for direct smelting of metalliferous material to produce molten metal in a direct smelting vessel. The method involves injecting solid carbonaceous material through injection lances into the vessel to penetrate a molten metal layer, with a slag layer floating on top. Metal mixing is promoted below the slag layer near the vessel wall to enhance heat transfer and reduce stagnant regions that impede the process.

Furthermore, the patent application describes an apparatus for direct smelting that includes features such as a split-level refractory hearth, gas bubbling devices, and pairs of solids injection lances to facilitate metal mixing and improve heat transfer efficiency. The apparatus aims to maintain a consistent temperature gradient within the vessel, ensuring optimal conditions for the direct smelting process. These innovative methods and apparatuses offer potential improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of metalliferous material smelting, with a focus on enhancing metal-slag heat transfer and reducing stagnant regions that can hinder the process.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies