Natural graphite purification through chlorination in fluidized bed reactor
For use in many existing and emerging applications, the purification of natural graphite is required to achieve +99.9% carbon content with minimum metallic impurities. Currently, the hydrofluoric acid process is used, which carries certain environmental and workplace health and safety impacts. While thermal purification of graphite at temperatures over 2500 °C is a known alternative, such high-temperature furnaces are expensive to build and operate. Using chlorine at lower temperatures to purify graphite is also known and patented, but is currently limited to treating solid synthetic graphite shapes in small-scale batch furnaces. Chlorine treatment of natural flake graphite resources can be used commercially, if certain drawbacks are addressed through process improvements that can be helped with the use of fluidized bed reactor technology.