For use in electric arc furnaces, typically used for steel production, graphite electrodes are an essential part of the system. The value in the use of graphite in these applications is actually twofold.
Graphite is one of the few substances which is highly electrically conductive, making it an ideal consideration in the manufacturing of electrodes for this purpose. The actual production methods, including the uniformity of the graphite, is an essential consideration in both electrical conductivity as well as long life cycles for the electrode.
The other benefit to the use of graphite is the ability of this material, once processed, to stand up to the incredible and extreme continuous heat produced in the process of processing steel. The same two features also make these electrodes a popular option for other applications such as use in other smelting applications or with a ladle furnace in other metallurgical processing.
Options in Graphite Electrodes
Regardless of the grade of graphite electrode, it is essential to choose only those electrodes produced in ISO 9001 certified manufacturing facilities. This will ensure quality throughout production, resulting in a long life and consistent conductivity throughout the electrode.
There are two categories or options in electrodes. They include the LDGE or large diameter graphite electrode and the SDGE or small diameter graphite electrode. Both are commonly used in industry, and it is the size of the processing application and furnace which will be the determining factor. Within the two categories, there are different grades. The common grades include high power or HP, HD or high density, UHP or ultra high power and SHP for super high power.
While less commonly used in large types of furnaces, there are also regular, normal and medium powered grades of graphite electrodes. These are typically used for other applications outside of large-scale steel production.