NUMERICAL ANALYSIS OF DISSOLUTION BEHAVIOR OF MICRO-ALLOYING ELEMENTS IN LADLE METALLURGY FURNACE
Due to the difficulty in physically observing the phenomena inside the actual ladle furnace in the industry, to ascertain optimized methodology for high-grade steel production, an investigation was carried out using numerical modeling to simulate the behavior of alloying elements within the liquid steel bulk using ANSYS Fluent 2020 R1 (ANSYS Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, USA). The model solves the governing equations utilized in computing the trajectories of each particle in the discrete phase. Furthermore, a user defined (UDF) code maps the mass of each parcel based on the total amount of alloy injected. The code also defines the total time it takes for the shell formed around the added materials to melt or dissolve. The study consists of a two-step procedure: ladle stirring by argon inert gas injection and mixing study by injecting micro-alloying elements to capture the flow field, turbulence, and species transport occurring during the refining process. A generic dual plug ladle metallurgy furnace, dimensions, and data obtained from Nucor Steel is used to validate the CFD simulation results. Concise parametric studies consist of ladle geometry design adjustments, variations of argon gas flow rates, and different alloying elements. Though the efficiency of the LMF process is quantified using the mixing time, which decreases as initial gas flow rates increase, results from this study show that extremely high charging of ladles is optional in obtaining shorter mixing. Also, particles behave substantially differently when their densities are below or above that of steel, and their melting points and specific heat capacities influence the time it takes for them to melt or dissolve. The overall potential outcome for this study is to improve the mixing practices due to different optimal procedures required by some materials than others.