A modernized ANSYS-based finite element model for the thermal-electrical design of aluminium reduction cells


As presented at the ICSOBA 2020 Conference, this 16-minute presentation centers around an upgraded methodology for the assessment of the thermal-electrical behavior of aluminium reduction cells.

Cell heat balance is critical to the design of aluminum reduction cells since it largely determines (along with magnetohydrodynamics) the operational window of these pieces of equipment. Furthermore, an inadequate lining design generally leads to degraded cell performance and premature failures. The first task in lining design is to determine the position of the frozen ledge and the cell superheat for a range of operational parameters.

A widely accepted methodology for the prediction of the ledge profile was originally introduced in the mid 80’s and is based on the iterative repositioning of the bath solidification front in a thermoelectrical (TE) Finite Element (FE) model. This presentation offers a generalization as well as improvements to the original methodology, enabling the prediction of the ledge profile using an arbitrary number of first or second order FE through the ledge thickness while including the metal pad and the bath.

The modernized modeling framework has been designed to minimize the computational cost of moving the ledge by means of generic core macros which also efficiently handle the ledge front displacement in any orientation thus allowing for the solution of otherwise impossible to converge problems.

The robustness of this improved methodology is illustrated by comparing the results obtained for a fictitious 300 kA cell technology against those computed by the standard approach.

Speakers included:

  • André-Felipe Schneider, Numerical Analysis Specialist

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