Slag Ternary Diagramming Tool

In this post I introduce and demonstrate a ternary diagramming tool to calculate and analyse metallurgical slag properties, such as viscosity, liquidus temperature, etc. In short, this could be used to calculate slag liquid viscosity, and then to calculate and plot contours on a ternary diagram. It is also possible to import property values from a .csv file as a function of the varied components plotted on the diagram, and then to calculate and plot the contour values.

The ternary diagramming tool can be found here. This software was again based on the Microsoft Silverlight technology, which make it possible to have rich internet application inside your browser, or to easily install the software on your computer. More on this can be found in a previous post. The ternary diagram software component was developed in a way to easily be used in other applications as well.

Before I discuss the features and how to use it, some background information. A ternary diagram is type of diagram typically used to display some information of chemical compositions where 3 components are varied, almost similar to an XY plot where only 2 components are varied. A typical example, a ternary diagram can display contour lines of specific viscosity values of slags consisting of SiO2, CaO, MnO, Al2O3, and MgO. The latter two species need to have constant percentage values, while the other 3 species would have varied values depicted by the 3 axes of the ternary diagram. In actual fact, only 2 species are varied, with the third calculated by difference.

Each point on a ternary diagram would then represent a specific chemical composition, and each point on a line would depict that composition with the property value equal to that on the line. This tool developed makes it possible to estimate the viscosity at over the whole range of compositions on the diagram, and to display the values in the form of contours calculated between the points.

Another popular use of ternary diagrams is the display of stable phases for varying compositions, called ternary phase diagrams. In this case, the lines would depict compositions on the phase boundaries where either phases would appear of disappear with changing composition.

Below the typical configuration of the ternary diagram is shown, as used in this software. The “A” depicts the maximum amount of component A, and zero amounts of the components plotted on the “B” and “C” axes. The line between the “C” and “A” corner indicates increasing weight percentages of component “A”. Components plotted on the “B” and “C” axes could be interpreted from the diagram in the same way.

The following features currently exist in the ternary diagramming tool:

  • Ability to plot contours of property values on a ternary diagram configured for systems consisting of at least 3 of the following species: SiO2, CaO, MgO, Al2O3, FeO, Fe2O3, MnO, and P2O5.
  • Ability to analyse plotted property results by moving the cursor over diagram and observing the chemical composition shown at the cursor.
  • Ability to configure the diagram by specifying the species (1 or more) to be plotted on each of the axes and the constant species with their values.
  • Ability to change the scale of each of the 3 axes in order to zoom in on plotted data.
  • Ability to import slag property data from a .csv text file containing property results for each chemical composition.
  • Ability to calculate slag liquid viscosity over the range of the ternary diagram using the Urbain model published by K.C. Mills in the Slag Atlas, discussed here.
  • Ability to specify contour values and have the contours calculated and plotted on the ternary diagram.
  • Ability to save and reopen diagrams, which includes all the configuration data and calculated property contour data.
As an example, the following is a screenshot of the main window of this tool showing a ternary diagram of effective slag viscosity for a specific system.

The next sections contains “How to’s” on using the software.

How to: Configure diagram species
This section describes how to configure the diagram, in terms of selecting the varied and constant species.

The diagram configuration can be initiated by a right-click anywhere on the diagram, and selecting “Configure Diagram”, as in the following screenshot.

This would cause the configuration window to popup, and for now the first tab “Setup” is used to configure the diagram. This window (below) shows the species on each of the corners and the constant species in the left part of the window, with the available species for configuration on the right. A general note, the “A” corner is the top of the triangle, “B” the lower left, and “C” the lower right corner of the triangle

In the configuration window above, variable corner species and constant species could be removed by a right-click and selection of “Remove”:

Similarly, species could be added to the corners by a right-click on a specie in the right-hand list and selection of the appropriate action:

The above showed how to add P2O5 as a constant specie, in which case the weight percentage of the specie also need to be specified in the window that will automatically popup. This is shown below, with a value of 1% entered for the P2O5 (note the “%” must not be entered, only the numerical value):

If the “OK” button is clicked on the configuration window, the ternary diagram will be re-configured according to the species selected.

It is possible to have more than one variable specie plotted on the axes. For example, the diagram could be configured to plot mass percentage of CaO + MgO on the “B” corner axis. This is achieved by adding “MgO” and “CaO” to the list of corner “B” species.

How to: Configure diagram scale
This section illustrates how to change the axes scales in order to zoom in or out of the diagram.

The scale window could be accessed similarly to the setup window by a right-click anywhere on the diagram, selecting “Configure Diagram” and then selecting the “Scale” tab, partly shown in the following screenshot.

In this window it is possible to enter the weight percentage intervals for the gridlines of each of the axes, and also the minimum and maximum weight percentages of the axes to plot. The lower limit is zero, while the upper limit is 100 minus the sum of the constant species. Again, it should be noted that only the numerical value need to be entered. In the above screenshot then the intervals of the gridlines were all 10%, while the axes were plotted between 0% and 81%, with the sum of the constant species being 19%.

For illustration, the following blank diagram shows how the diagram was configure to display values between 10 and 50% on all the axes, with all gridline intervals of 5%. Not the corners of the triangle being cut off due to the axes maximum values being less than the maximums allowable.

How to: Calculate property data
This section shows the first step of adding data to the diagram through the calculation of the slag liquid viscosity. The data calculation window could be obtained by a right-click on the diagram and selecting “Add Data Layer” and then the “Property Raw Data” as in the following screenshot.

In the left section the “Property Source” is selected, and in this case the “Generate Data” option should be selected. Firstly the property to be calculated must be selected, currently the only option built in is the slag liquid viscosity. Then the temperature at which the property must be calculated need to be entered, and the interval with which it should vary the variable components when calculating the property (In general 1% works well).

The next step is to select the variable species and enter values for constant species in the “Component Values” list. Only 3 species can be selected as variable species and constant values can be entered for the non-selected species.

Pressing calculate will generate a range of compositions, with the constant specie values specified and the values of the other 3 species varied between 0 and 100 minus constant specie total to cover the entire ternary diagram. This data will be used to derive contours that will be plotted.

For example, to coincide with the configuration the variable species selected were SiO2, MnO, and CaO. The constant species and values specified were Al2O3 = 13%, and MgO = 6%. Pressing “Calculate” generated the results in the right-hand side of the screen, as shown in the screenshot below.

How to: Import property data
Should you wish to plot other slag properties than the liquid viscosity calculated here, then the following describes how to import data. The user can select the data calculated in the viscosity table and copy it to Excel, and calculate the properties there using the compositions. The results data could then be imported into this tool.

The property data should be placed in a .csv file with the first columns for the species (as mass fractions), and the last for the property values. The first line should be the header with the names of the species (allowable in this tool only) and then the names of the properties. The following shows a typical .csv file in Excel, with the values of percentage solids, liquid viscosity, and effective viscosity calculated for the range of compositions.

To import the data, the “Create Data Layer” window and “Property Raw Data” tab used in the previous section will again be used. Now the “Import Data” option must be selected, and the “Browse” button clicked:

Pressing the “Browse” button causes a file browse window to popup with which the .csv can be found and selected to be imported. The data will be imported into the data on the right-hand side of the window, similarly to when the liquid viscosities were calculated in the previous section.

How to: Calculate/add/remove contours
Now that property data is available, the contours can be calculated and added to the diagram. This could be done by selection of the “Property Contour Data” tab on the window used in the previous section.

This shows the window with which the contours can be configured, calculated and added to the diagram.

On the left-hand side of the above window the contour configuration is specified. Firstly the contour values need to specified as a comma-separated list (e.g. 5,10,20, 100). Each series will have a label containing the contour value, it is therefore also possible to specify a pre-fix and post-fix to the contour value for the label.

Next the “search” and “compare” species need to be selected from the lists of varied species in the data. This forms the basis of the contour calculations and is dependent on the properties plotted and how they vary with regards to composition. Should the contours plotted come out jagged, then these selections should be changed. For example, if the property varies less with regards to the species plotted on the “B” and “C” axes (i.e. horizontal line expected) then the “search specie” would be either that plotted on the “B” or “C” axes, and the “compare specie” that plotted on the “A” axis.

Lastly, the property for which the contours need to be calculated have to be selected from the list, if there is more than one in the data.

Pressing the “Calculate” button would then generate a tab for each contour in the column on the right. As an example, the contours were calculated for the effective viscosity data imported in the previous section:

To add the contours to the diagram, the “Add Contour Data” button could be pressed. This will cause the popup to close and plot the contours on the diagram, as partly shown in the screen shot below.

On the right of the main window in the screen shot above, a list shows chemical composition at the cursor over the diagram. Below this is a list “Plotted Series” showing all the contours plotted as series. It is possible to un-check a series to hide it, or to right-click and select “Delete Series” to remove it.

How to: Analyse and zoom in
As stated earlier, this tool is useful for analysing contour data on a ternary diagram. To illustrate this, the diagram generated in the previous section was zoomed in by changing the scale of the “A” corner axes to be between 0 and 40% SiO2, shown below.

When hovering the mouse cursor over a series, the name of the series will be shown as a tool tip. Left-click on the series would result in the series being highlighted and the series name appearing on the right as “Selected Series”. In the screenshot above, the mouse cursor was over the 5 Poise series, but the 6 Poise series was selected (also shown as thicker line).

How to: Save and open diagrams
Diagrams could be saved and opened at a later stage,  and in this section it is illustrated how.

To save and open diagrams are very simple processes, using the “Open” and “Save” buttons at the top of the main window. To save a diagram with its contour data and configuration click on the “Save” button. This opens a common Windows file save dialog window allowing you to browse to or create a new file in the .xtr file format.

To open a file click on the “Open” button, which opens up a file open dialog window again allowing you to browse to the saved file in the .xtr format. Note that opening a file will clear the current data and configuration.

To conclude, this post introduced a slag property calculation and ternary diagramming tool, and showing how to use its current features.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us should you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

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