Novosibirsk. March 13, 2020 EPM-NovEP purchased new equipment for quality control of cathode products for the Central Plant Laboratory (CPL) at a cost of 9 million rubles. As a part of cooperation with the Swiss research company R&D Carbon, the CPL will put two units into operation: to conduct the Rapoport sodium test and determine the abrasion resistance of the enterprise's cathode products.
"Our task is to increase the resistance of cathodes to chemical and abrasive wear during operation. For this purpose, the additional equipment is installed in the plant laboratory that will allow not only monitoring the quality of the finished product but also improving its production technology," Tatyana Butakova, Chief Product Engineer of EPM-NovEP explained.
She added that the cathode's resistance to sodium determines the cell's life and represents a key parameter of the cathode products. With new equipment, the conditions of the actual operation of the cathode blocks will be simulated in the plant laboratory. During the tests, the block samples are heated to 980 °C in a cryolite-alumina melt, as a result of which the carbon-graphite material expands due to the penetration of sodium and electrolyte. The result of the expansion measurement serves as a qualitative assessment of the cathode blocks: the smaller this indicator, the better the performance of the blocks. Therefore, in the manufacture of cathode blocks, preference is given to materials having low permeability of sodium and minimal expansion.
The acquisition of new laboratory equipment is part of the EPM Group investment program at the Novosibirsk Electrode Plant, aimed at improving the operational properties of electrode and cathode products.