Tuyere Cooling Hoses in Ironmaking

By: Erik Kane | On: November 22, 2017

Wait…How Do You Say It?

Let’s address the most obvious question first: tuyere is pronounced “tweer.” For anyone not familiar with the metals industry, you don’t want to repeat my amateur mistake of matter-of-factly referring to them as “too-years” in front of people who know what they’re talking about. It’s not healthy for the ego or your credibility. So what are tuyeres? Tuyeres are a particularly important part of a blast furnace that’s used in the pig iron making process.

Steel Industry vs. Iron Industry

We hear a lot about the steelmaking industry due to its relationship with many other large industries such as oil and gas, automotive manufacturing, construction. In fact, steelmaking has a profound impact on just about every industry in one way or another. But we don’t hear much about the precursor to steelmaking, which is ironmaking. We don’t hear about it because iron isn’t very useful by itself. It’s brittle, dirty, and doesn’t have any of the performance characteristics that we expect of modern alloys. But because iron is still the backbone of modern metal making, it plays a huge role when it comes to refining fresh steel. The big difference between the two is that ironmaking uses a raw material (iron ore) to create what we call “pig iron,” and steelmaking is really more of a conversion process that adds and subtracts elements to turn the iron into steel.

Turning Iron Ore into Pig Iron

The main way that Pig Iron is produced is through the use of a blast furnace. A blast furnace takes iron ore, limestone, and coke and smelts it into molten pig iron using extreme heat. The raw materials are dropped down into the towering cylindrical furnace and blasted with hot gasses as they fall, completing the chemical and physical change into pig iron. This is where the tuyeres come in. The tuyeres are responsible for delivering the hot blast and providing the means for the blast furnace to do its job. A tuyere is basically a nozzle assembly that forces hot air into the furnace to increase/maintain the heat required to smelt. Because the tuyeres are responsible for creating the heat inside the furnace, they get extremely hot. The copper tuyeres must be constantly cooled so that they don’t melt themselves as they supply hot blast to the furnace area that can reach over 4000 degrees!

Application Construction

These water cooling connections are a well-known application for Hose Master, as they often incorporate metal hose assemblies. This is mainly because the extremely high heat environment around the hoses makes life for anything other than an all-metal construction unbearable. In fact, life for these hoses is so strenuous that mills often keep multiple backups for each of the water cooling connections and, with each tuyere having multiple water connections, it can be quite a few assemblies. To facilitate rapid replacement and minimize downtime, cam and groove fittings are often used to connect these low-pressure water supply lines to the tuyeres.

Diagnosing hose and piping issues like water cooling connections on a blast furnace and specifying the right hose or expansion joint can be difficult. If you have a flexible connection issue or application in a blast furnace or steel mill, give Hose Master a call at 1-800-221-2319 or 1-216-481-2020, or send us an e-mail at insidesales@hosemaster.com and use our industry expertise to your advantage.


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