Metallurgical Coke is a carbon with high mechanical resistance produced from bituminous coal with special coking properties. It is heated in furnaces at 500°C to 1000°C in an oxygen-free atmosphere to fuse the fixed carbon with the inherent ash and expel most of the volatile matter. The end product is a solid, stable, and nearly pure non-fusible source of carbon.
About 90% of the metallurgical coke produced is used in the production of pig iron in the blast furnace where it has 3 main functions:
- Fuel: Provides heat for the endothermic requirements of chemical reactions and the fusion of slag and metal.
- Chemical reducer: Produces gases for the reduction of iron oxides.
- Permeable support: Acts as the only solid material in the furnace that supports the iron load and provides a permeable matrix for slag and molten metal to pass into the crucible and hot gases make their way to the chimney.