Isothermal reduction and comparative analysis of reaction kinetics of sponge iron produced from hematite-charcoal reaction using non-contact direct reduction method

Joseph Ekhebume Ogbezode, Victor Ifetayo Aladesanmi, Olusegun Olufemi Ajide, Opeyeolu Timothy Laseinde, Olusoji Ofi, Oluleke Olugbemiga Oluwole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The challenge of making sponge iron, or direct reduced iron (DRI), is hard to overstate. These are a key feed for metallurgical operations while iron extraction sets these limits, which include scarcity of metallurgical coke, poor environmental impact, and high production cost. Thus, the non-contact direct reduction process of DRIs has the potential to significantly reduce carbon deposition and CO2 emission from the ironmaking process. This work produced sponge iron from commercially acquired hematite ore using an alternative reducing agent (i.e. charcoal) under specified isothermal conditions. Comparative analysis of reaction kinetics models including Ginstein−Brounshtein and Shrinking core models was also performed to ascertain the resistances that control the reaction rate for reduction degree up to 98.1%. The reduction kinetics were found to be described by reaction control time and activation energies based on a shrinking core model as the reduction time lasted for 120 min at temperatures 843–1273 K. At temperatures above 973–1073 K, the rate-limiting step was found to be solely an interfacial chemical reaction process, with an apparent activation energy of 196.1 kJ/mol. In addition, a slowing trend was observed for iron ore sample sizes 10–20 mm as a result of ash layer infiltration around the inner-core structure of the DRI metal matrix. The DRI morphological characteristics were performed using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Electron Dispersive Spectrometry (EDS) to ascertain the mineralogical and morphological properties of the DRI samples. The XRF analysis confirms that the raw iron ore sample is hematite. Its iron content is 70.04% metallic iron (TFe) which has 83.59% Fe2O3 The SEM/EDS image also revealed the presence of micropores on the DRI morphology. This indicates that the reduction ratio and swelling extent rise with the temperature and time. This happens for all DRI sizes. However, the EDS result confirms the presence of gangue elements within the DRI metal matrix and mineralogical structure. The DRI contains very high silicon content up to 33.90%. So, a fluxing experiment is needed using limestone (CaCO3) or quicklime (CaO) quicklime to remove gangue (silicate, aluminate) from the DRI matrix. At the set reduction temperatures, the largest metallization degree of 93.05% at 1273 K for a reduction time of 120 min was achieved. This showed that the overall reduction process still follows the expected chronological order since the NDR process uses CO gas from preheated charcoal. This makes DRI be produced from raw hematite under non-contact reduction bases. Therefore, the NDR technique offers a viable option for sponge iron production in modern-day iron and steelmaking processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100082
JournalJournal of Alloys and Metallurgical Systems
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Activation energy
  • Ginstein−Brounshtein model
  • Hematite ore
  • Morphology
  • Reaction kinetics
  • Shrinking core model
  • Sponge iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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