Effects of Nozzle Radial Position, Separation Angle, and Gas Flow Partitioning on the Mixing, Eye Area, and Wall Shear Stress in Ladles Fitted with Dual Plugs
A. N. Conejo, Rishikesh Mishra, D. Mazumdar
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B
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Mixing time, slag eye area, and wall shear stress in a ladle fitted with dual plugs have been studied as a function of operating variables, namely, gas flow rate, radial nozzle position, separation angle between nozzles and flow rate partitioning. While the mixing time and slag eye area have been experimentally investigated in a scaled water model (with and without a top slag layer), the shear stress on the vessel wall has been studied computationally via a RANS-based turbulent, three-dimensional coupled Eulerian–Lagrangian (VOF-DPM), multiphase flow model. Experimental and computational results have indicated that the mixing, eye area, and wall shear stress depend on the gas flow rate, i.e., while mixing efficiency increases with the increasing gas flow rate, the slag eye area, and wall shear stress, in contrast, become more pronounced with the increasing gas flow, leading to an undesirable operating regime. The radial nozzle position, separation angle between the nozzles and flow rate partitioning at any given flow rate also influence the ladle process performance, influencing the mixing, eye area, and wall shear stress, albeit to a varied degree. Within the range of operating conditions studied, an expected inverse correspondence between mixing time and shear behavior was observed. Experimental and computational results in conjunction have indicated that the best arrangement of porous plugs or gas injection nozzles for superior ladle process performance is dependent on the gas flow rate and is specific to the desired objective (i.e., decreasing the mixing time, or slag eye area and wall shear stress). Hence, a unique gas injection practice cannot and should not be suggested as the optimum for ladle metallurgy in steelmaking. Nevertheless, if the mixing time is the parameter of primary interest, a nozzle configuration with equal flow partitioning (1:1) between the nozzles and identical nozzle radial positions (0.7R/0.7R, 45 deg) should suffice for both low and high gas flow rates. In contrast, a nonidentical nozzle radial position (0.7R/0.5R, 90 deg) and an unequal gas flow rate per nozzle (1:3) appear preferable if both ladle eye and shear stresses, rather than mixing, are the issues of concern.