Numerical Modelling of the Influence of Argon Flow Rate and Slag Layer Height on Open-Eye Formation in a 150 Ton Steelmaking Ladle
Process Metallurgy Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 4300, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Outokumpu Stainless Oy, Terästie, 95490 Tornio, Finland
School of Metallurgy, Northeastern University, Heping District, Shenyang 11004, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2019, 9(10), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9101048
Received: 17 August 2019 / Revised: 21 September 2019 / Accepted: 25 September 2019 / Published: 26 September 2019
A transient computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling approach was used to study the complex multi-phase flow in an argon-stirred industrial scale ladle with a nominal capacity of 150 tons. During the stirring process, when gas was injected through the porous plug from the bottom into the steel bath, it breaks up into bubbles and infringes the slag layer creating an open-eye. The volume of fluid model was used to investigate the open-eye formation process in the simulations. In the numerical simulations, the open-eye area changed from 0.7 to 2.24 m2 with the increment of argon flow rate from 200 to 500 NL/min for slag layer thickness of 40 cm. Furthermore, the influence of slag layer height on the open-eye area was investigated. An argon flow rate of 200 NL/min was able to break the slag layer for slag layer height of 40 cm, and the open-eye formation was not possible for the same flow rate when the slag layer height was elevated from 40 to 55 cm. The numerical simulation results were validated against industrial measurements carried out at Outokumpu Stainless located in Tornio, Finland. The numerical simulation results of dynamics and time-averages of the slag area showed a good agreement when compared to the industrial measurements. To conclude, it is necessary to define gas flow rate based on the slag layer height to have an open-eye suitable for alloying.