A Simple Analytical Model Predicting Some Features of the Electrolytic Steel-Pickling Process

Authors: Ipek, N., Lior, N., Bark, F.H., Eklund, A., Alemany, A.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Russian Journal of Electrochemistry
Volume: 38   238-246
Year: 2002


Electrolytic pickling of steel with neutral solutions, to remove the surface scale, reduces the need for the use of strong acids as needed in conventional pickling. This study is a step towards a more in-depth understanding of the factors affecting the former process. A theoretical model, sufficiently simplified to allow analytical solution, is developed and evaluated to provide a first approximation of the potential and current distributions in the electrolyte and steel band. To gain knowledge and validate the model, a small electrolytic pickling cell is constructed, and experiments, including bubble generation and motion observation, are conducted. The experimental work has shown the remarkable bubble production and adherence to the surfaces, and its effects on reducing pickling efficiency and uniformity. The pickling efficiency is about 30%, confirming other researchers` results. The analytical model shows trends very similar to those observed in the experiments, and provides very valuable guidance. It shows, for example, that the current efficiency decreases as the electrode–band distance increases, and it increases with the band thickness and the band-to-electrolyte conductivity ratio. The energy efficiency decreases by orders of magnitude faster than the current efficiency with all of the above-mentioned parameters, because of the correspondingly strong drop in the band–surface potential. A large amount of current is lost due to interelectrode short circuiting