Importance of Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer Modelling for Understanding Iron Steelmaking Processes

Author(s): K. Chattopadhyay
Association for Iron and Steel Technology Transactions; June 2013


All operations in process metallurgy involve complex phenomena comprising heat, fluid, and mass transport and iron and steel making is no exception. Heat, mass, and fluid flow play a dominant role in iron and steel making processes since their respective law govern the kinetics of the various physical phenomena. These phenomena include such events as counter current heat and mass flow, three phase reactions, entrainment of slag and gas in liquid steel, degassing, alloy melting and mixing, the movements and flotation of inclusions, melt temperature losses, residence times in steelmaking vessels, erosion of refractory linings, etc. In all these aspects, the evolution in our techniques and abilities to understand and control single and multiphase flows and their attendant heat and mass transfer processes has contributed significantly to effectively operate these processes, to design improvements, and to develop new processes. Prof Roderick Guthrie quotes “To be ignorant of these matters can doom a processing operation to the scrap heap of metallurgical failures”. Fluid flow and heat transfer analysis has been a very effective tool in the iron and steel industry for process improvements and enhancement of product quality. With the advent of Computational Fluid Dynamics and the availability of commercial CFD packages CFD has become the dominant approach for designing and performance optimization of various iron and steel processing operations. In this review the importance of heat, mass and fluid flows in iron and steelmaking processes are highlighted, and some notable research is reviewed and critiqued.