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Modeling Flows and Mixing in Steelmaking Ladles

Designed for Single- and Dual-Plug Bubbling Operations


S. JOO and R.I.L. GUTHRIE

Through solutions of appropriate forms of the Navier-Stokes equation, the intermixing of fluid
within gas-stirred ladles, with asymmetric single and multiporous plugs, can be modeled quite
satisfactorily. In this study, mixing behavior and mixing mechanisms are analyzed as a function
of porous plug location, tracer injection point, and ladle monitoring point. It is shown that off-
centered bubbling gives the most consistent results in terms of minimizing mixing times, since
angular momentum intermixes fluid across the width of a ladle. Comparisons between mathe-
matical and experimental data are presented.

I. INTRODUCTION acter (e.g., off-centered gas bubbling, multiplug gas


bubbling, off-centered alloy/tracer additions, the
F O R high-quality steelmaking, gas bubbling in ladles
Ruhrstahl-Heraeus (RH) degassing process, etc.). How-
is used to obtain chemical and thermal homogenization,
ever, few studies on three-dimensional turbulent flows
as well as to accelerate the absorption of harmful non- in gas-stirred ladles have been reported to d a t e . 16'7'8]
metallic inclusions into an overlaying slag. The main point
The concept of mixing time, Zm, has commonly been
in gas stirring operations is to identify procedures and
used to represent the state of agitation in chemical and
equipment needed for achieving minimum mixing times
metallurgical processing vessels. Since Nakanishi et al. t91
and maximum recoveries of alloy additions at optimum
fLrst correlated mixing times to stimng energy input, many
gas flow rates. In order to reasonably predict these phe-
empirical relationships of the type % = ke-", have been
nomena, detailed information on flow patterns, fluid ve- reported, t9-141 assuming that mixing times are indepen-
locities, and turbulent properties is needed. These have
dent of the experimental conditions. However, in gen-
been the subject of study via ongoing physical and math-
eral, the values of k and n vary with respect to the
ematical models over the last decade.
experimental situations studied by investigators. The fact
Szekely et al. m were the first to attempt modeling the
that there are various empirical values for them reveals
hydrodynamic behavior of liquid metal in an argon-stirred
that the measured mixing times could be dependent on
ladle. Velocity and turbulence energy fields were pre-
experimental conditions, such as vessel geometry, tracer
dicted through the solution of the turbulent Navier-Stokes
injection point, monitoring point, gas bubbling location,
equations in conjunction with the k-W two-equation model
gas injection rate, and the existence of a slag layer.
of turbulence. However, the boundary conditions (e.g., Mazumdar t141observed that the measured mixing time
velocity and shear stress), adopted for an "interface" be-
depends on the points of tracer injection and monitoring.
tween the bulk fluid and the plume, proved unrealistic.
He further demonstrated that mixing in gas injection ladle
DebRoy and Majumdar [2] and Grevet et al.[3] recognized
metallurgy operations can be expected to be controlled
the role of buoyancy in the gas/liquid mixture and pro-
by a combination of eddy diffusion and bulk convection,
posed that the gas/liquid mixtures could be represented
both mechanisms contributing in roughly equal propor-
by a pseudo one-phase fluid of variable density. Sahai tions. Asai et al., [~~ Kim e t a l . , 113] and Dobson and
and Guthrie ta,Sj went on to develop mathematical and al-
Robertson tlS] reported that mixing times decreased as the
gebraic models to describe the interaction of a plume
plug's location became more off-centered. On the other
with its surrounding liquid, enabling plume dimensions, hand, Marujama et al. t161reported that rapid mixing was
voidage, and centerline velocities to be specified and the
achieved with gas injection at the midradius of the ves-
whole flow field analyzed. Their results matched pilot-
sel, where both wall effects and relative stagnation zones
scale water model results.
could be minimized.
These mathematical models were developed for axi-
The purpose of the present research was to study re-
symmetric gas stirring. In such systems, flows can be
alistic industrial situations in order to analyze mixing be-
described via the two-dimensional continuity and mo-
havior and mixing mechanisms as a function of porous
mentum equations, expressed in cylindrical polar coor-
plug location, tracer injection point, and ladle monitor-
dinates. While many flows within ladles can be idealized
ing point. For this, mathematical and physical models
by assuming axisymmetric conditions, a major feature
were used.
of industrial operations is their three-dimensional char-

II. MATHEMATICAL MODEL


S. JOO, formerly Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill Metals Processing
A. Governing Equations
Center, McGill University, is Senior Researcher with the Research
Institute of Industrial Science and Technology, Pohang, Korea. R.I.L. In order to describe fluid flow, turbulent properties,
GUTHRIE, Macdonald Professor, is Director of the McGill Metals
Processing Center, McGill University, Montreal, PQ, H3A 2A7,
and alloy/tracer dispersion in steelmaking ladles, the
Canada. relevant partial differential equations requiring (numer-
Manuscript submitted March 15, 1990. ical) solution are the equations of continuity,

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992--765


momentum, and mass conservation, expressed in three- where
dimensional, incompressible, cylindrical, and ensemble-
averaged form as follows: Sw = -- '[- - - ~eff -- W
Oz r Or
Continuity Equation

(9 (9 1 (9 pv
+ ---
rO0
[f(0;0 )] + 2v

(gz (pu) + (gr (pv) + r-~O (pw) + r 0 [1]


+ +- - [8]
rO0
Momentum Conservation Equation
Axial direction: In the present study, the k-e, model of turbulence pro-
posed by Jones and Launder u7] was used to determine
(9 the value of the local turbulent viscosity. In this model,
(gz (puu) + r1(9 [~-~1(9
(gr (rpvu) + . uv (pwu)
(9(
(gz
~Zeff(gTZ
u)
the governing transport equations for turbulence kinetic
energy, k, and its dissipation rate, e,, can be represented
by the following:
r1 (gr
(9 r/~eff~rr --70"--0tlt'l'effTO--O/ - - - - +(gZ
S.
Equation of Turbulent Kinetic Energy
[2]
where 0 1(9 o
-- (puk ) + 1 __0 (rpvk) +
- -- (pwk) - - -
dz r Or r-~O c)z \o',
Su = ~ ~eff -~- - - - - r/~eff
(gz r (gr lO(tx___!rO__._kk~ l O (/z, Ok xI
r Or \o'k ar/ - r a--ok~-r-O-o/ - G + ~:~e,=~
rd'O tx~" Pg [31
[91

The turbulent effective viscosity, /z~ff, is defined as where

/xeff = ~ + #z, [4]


G = #.l,,[t~z 7 + \Or/
Radial direction:
(ow 7)}
2

+~o +
~z (puv ) + -r --(gr( rpvv ) + -r --(90(pwv ) - --(gz tx~ff 2 2

1 (9 ( (r9~ e0f_f r ) 1 .(9 (~_~(9~0) (gP + I~t + Oz/ + +


. . . + Sv
r(gr r-6-O Or
I5]
+ (;:o ow w) }
+
Or
2

where [lO]

Sv=-- /Xefe +--- r/xefr Equation of Energy Dissipation Rate


(gz r Or

+ --- O lO 10
r/~eff --Oz(pue, ) + -r --Or( rpve, ) + -r -~O (pwe, )
r (90

[6]
0 (i,x_..~O~zz) _ ___10 (I.X_.~r O-~r)
Oz r Or

Angular direction: 1 0 Ix, Oe _CiGk+C2Pk=O [11]


0 1(9 1(9
(Er ) e,2
- - (puw ) + -r-Or
-- ( rpvw ) + -r --~O( pww ) The turbulent eddy viscosity, /z,, is given by
(gz
C ~,pk 2
/x, - - - [12]
(g Z ~1s e f f
_ _
r _(g_ r r / ~ e f f e,

The five values of constants, set according to the rec-


1 O (jtLeff(9W~ lOP ommendation of Launder and Spalding, uol are given in
. . . . + Sw [71
rO0\ r 00/ r (90 Table I.

766--VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992 METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B


Table I. Constants Used for k-e boundaries, the wall shear stress and the energy dissi-
Two-Equation Model of Turbulence
pation rate were calculated using the wall function
Cl C2 C~, trk tr, methodY sJ The plume was assumed to be a vertical cyl-
inder of lower density liquid. At the free surface, the
1.44 1.92 0.09 1.0 1.3
boundary was assumed to be fiat, and normal velocity
components and normal gradients of all variables were
set equal to zero.
Dispersion of Alloy Additions/Tracer
D. Numerical Procedures
~(pC) +--Oz p u C - Fec, In this modeling program, finite difference forms of
the differential equations just presented (Eqs. [1] through
[14]) were discretized on the basis of the integral control
+ _B r pvC - Fe c volume approach and then solved using a semi-implicit
rOr finite difference procedure involving a line-by-line tri-
diagonal matrix algorithm approach in conjunction with
AV - - - pwC - - F e , C -- = 0 [13] the Gauss-Siedel method of numerical integration. The
rO0 r SIMPLE algorithm (Semi-Implicit Method for solving
Pressure-Linked Equations), introduced by Patankar and
The effective exchange coefficient, Fe,c, is defined by Spalding, t2~ was incorporated into the solution proce-
dure for both rectangular and cylindrical coordinates, in
order to solve the momentum-continuity equations by
Fe.c = / z + /z__.L [14]
or ort,C
deducing satisfactory pressure fields for their mutual
convergences toward stable numerical solutions.
where or and o',,c represent the laminar and turbulent For analysis of the gas-liquid region, the GALA t2~1
Schmidt number, respectively, and ort,c is assumed to procedure was incorporated into the SIMPLE algorithm.
have a value of unity. In this, the physical properties of the fluid mixture in a
cell in the two-phase region were averaged on a volu-
B. Treatment of Plume metric basis. This required that the conventional mass
continuity equation be replaced by a volume continuity
In the numerical solution procedures for this study,
equation, such that the volume of fluids entering a vol-
gas injection was treated as a pseudo one-phase flow
ume element equaled the total volume of fluids leaving.
phenomenon, in which the gas-liquid metal plume is
The numerical time step integration in the mass con-
characterized by a region of lower density steel. The gas
servation equation (namely, Eq. [ 13]) was approximated
voidage, a, within a rising gas-liquid plume was ac-
by a fully implicit marching integration procedure, while
counted for by introducing a buoyancy term, pLga, on
for the representation of total flux (i.e., convection +
the right side of Eq. [3] for Su, the source term for the
diffusion), a hybrid differencing scheme was adopted.
u-momentum equation. The gas voidage, a, can be cal-
Equation [13], though a linear differential equation,
culated by applying the principle of volume continuity
was solved iteratively, using a line-by-line solution
as follows:
scheme.
Ot = Q / T r r 2 v , p U p [15] Following grid independence studies, the domain was
divided into a uniform grid of 18 (axial) z 16 (radial) x
Sahai and Guthrie t41 have provided a simple algebraic 16 (angular) in the three polar directions. The compu-
equation to calculate the plume rising velocity, Up (valid tations were performed on a personal computer equipped
for 0.5 =< L I D <-_ 2), such that with a DSI (Definicon System Inc., Newbury Park, CA)
QI/3 L 1/4 micro coprocessor (68020 coprocessor system) which
Up = K Rl/---------y-- [16] magnified RAM size up to 8 megabytes and increased
clock speeds to 20 megahertz. About 600 to 1,000 it-
where the constant K is estimated as 4.17 in SI units. erations were needed to reach converged values of the
The density of the plume can then be obtained by velocity fields, the actual time taken amounting to about
12 to 18 hours.
p = ape + (1 -- a ) p r [17]
The approach is simple and correctly emphasizes the
importance of buoyancy vs shear forces in gas-driven re- III. EXPERIMENT
circulating flows. It has been confirmed through many A. Experimental Procedures
experiments to be an effective way of treating such
problems.tS,14~ Experimental work was carried out in a one-third scale
water model of a typical 100-tonne ladle. The model had
C. Boundary Conditions a bottom diameter of 0.864 m, a top diameter of 1.00 m,
and a filled height of 0.787 m. This corresponded to ac-
Impermeable and adiabatic conditions were assumed tual (internal) dimensions of 2.6, 3.0, and 2.36 m, re-
at all boundaries. All variables (i.e., u , v , w , k , e ) at solid spectively, for the McMaster Works ladle of Stelco Steel,
walls were set at zero. At the node adjacent to solid Canada. The ladle itself was housed in a much larger

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992--767


rectangular tank, also filled with water to the same level, The 95 pet bulk mixing time criterion was then used as
and fitted with transparent sidewalls. Visual distortion a suitable standard mixing time. This is defined as that
of plumes caused by the curved sidewall of the ladle time when all the local concentrations of tracer addition
could thereby be eliminated (Figures 16 and 17). have reached 95 pct of the bulk well-mixed value. For
A series of porous plugs were inserted into the ladle's double bubbler configurations, tracer was injected into
bottom surface at center, one-third, half, and two-thirds the center, and mixing times were again measured at a
radii. Similar inserts were made so that the role of an- point near the bottom sidewall and a plume. These lo-
gular offset could be studied (i.e., 0 = 7r/4, ~'/2, 3 / 4 It, cations were chosen, since computations showed that their
and or) for twin porous plug bubbling. Before each ex- local concentrations tended to be reasonably represen-
periment, air hoses would be connected to the desired tative of the bulk, or well-mixed, concentration's ap-
plug(s) and mixing times/flows then studied. proach toward the 95 pct well-mixed value.
Figure 1 provides a schematic diagram of the equip- Mixing times were measured five to six times for a
ment used for measuring local mixing times. Thus, for given set of experimental conditions, the mean value then
single porous plug bubbling, a tracer (20 pet HCI solu- being reported as the measured mixing time. It is ap-
tion) would be injected into the surface of the plume zone, propriate to note that individual mixing times fell within
and changes in acid concentration at a point near the ---10 pet of the mean values reported here.
bottom sidewall (50 mm above base and 50 mrn from
sidewall) close to the plume would be monitored vs time. B. Experimental Results
Figure 2 shows how experimental mixing times de-
creased with gas flow rate. As seen, the mixing time
decreases exponentially with increasing gas flow rate.
This work on a single porous plug gas bubbler confirms
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIU llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the relationship that mixing times decrease according to
the one-third power of the gas flow rate.
iOo o~ Figure 3 presents the data already shown in Figure 2,
',o o l in terms of mixing times vs radial placement of the plug,
i
L
0 0 0 l
J for various gas flow rates. As seen, mixing rates within
', PLUME [ the bulk of the liquid are increased and mixing times
WATER
,~0 0 ,, shortened, as the plug is moved away from the center
',i O 0 J'
',o ~ J
!Jo 0 JI
t
i CONDUCTI-

i~ ~ METER

',Of
CHART 80 O=
10 l/mit
ELECTRODE - ,~ RECORDER
/
POROUS 70
PLUG

Fig. 1 - - S c h e m a t i c d i a g r a m o f e x p e r i m e n t a l setup for m i x i n g time


measurements. 60
~K/Q = 20 I/min
L ~'A~./w~Q=3OI/min"
J

0 center
II 1/3R
80 9 1/2R E
9 2/3R
70
4(
A
~J 6 0

~ so 30
40

30 20

20

J
10 2~0 .. 3I0 4 0=
0.0 0.5 1.0
Q (liter~lmin.) r/R
Fig. 2 - - Variation in 95 pct m i x i n g t i m e s with gas flow rate for p l u g s Fig. 3 - - A plot o f m i x i n g t i m e vs radial position for a single p l u g for
p l a c e d at center, one-third, half, and two-thirds radius o f ladle base. various flow rates.

7 6 8 - - V O L U M E 23B, DECEMBER 1992 METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B


toward the half radius. Beyond a minimum mixing time, O 1/3R
reached at half radius, plugs set closer to the ladle side-
80
walls tended to give slightly longer mixing times for equal
flows of gas. Consequently, midradius bubbling gave a 70
reduction of 15 to 30 pct in mixing times over the range
of gas flow rates studied, compared to the mixing time 60
A
for center bubbling.
It is occasionally necessary to bubble an industrial ladle 5O
E
with two or more plugs, in order to achieve gentle but
rapid mixing, as well as to promote slag/metal inter- 40
mixing, and to avoid explosive degassing effects under
30
vacuum.
Figure 4 shows the effect of having two bubblers. Here, 20
experimental mixing times are plotted vs net flow of gas.
As seen, for two bubblers placed at midradius and dia- o ~b sb 3b 4b
metrically opposite each other (0 = 0 and 7r), the mixing
Q (liters/min.)
time for a net flow of 40 L / m i n is about 28 seconds, vs
33 seconds for the same flow through a single bubbler. Fig. 5 - - V a r i a t i o n in 95 pct mixing times with symmetrical changes
This represents a 15 to 20 pct reduction in mixing times in the radial positions of two opposing plugs (0 = 180 deg).
v s the optimum single bubbler configuration.
Figure 5 shows that two bubblers, placed diametri-
cally opposite each other, will exhibit minimum mixing injected through a single porous plug. In these modeling
times when operating at half radii. By moving both plugs predictions, the position of the porous plug was changed
out to two-thirds radii, mixing times are practically dou- from the center to two-thirds radius in order to investi-
bled at the higher flow rate ( i . e . , 40 L/min). gate the effect of plug location and tracer input location
on mixing time. Figures 7(a) through (f) provide de-
tailed two-dimensional flow fields in some selected ver-
IV. C O M P U T A T I O N A L
tical ((a) through (c)) and horizontal ((d) through (f))
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
planes for half radius placement of the plug. There, ve-
In order to study mixing behavior during such gas stir- locity vectors in vertical planes through the plume (a),
ring operations in steelmaking ladles, computations were
performed to predict flow patterns, transient mixing pro-
cedures, and the final mixing time for a vertical, cylin- = 0.2 rn/sec.
drical ladle of equivalent scale to that studied, using the
METFLO code already described, in conjunction with
gas-liquid mixture models developed previously by Sahai
and Guthrie [4l and Mazumdar and Guthrie. [22]

A. Flow Patterns

Figure 6 illustrates some predicted three-dimensional


sui'face flow fields when a gas flow of 30 N1/min is

O 8=nM
A 0 = n/2
8c

70

6O

E 50

+,i"
40
rs j

30

20

lb 2b 3b 4b
Q (literslmin.)
Fig. 4 - - V a r i a t i o n in 95 pct mixing times with gas flow rate for double- Fig. 6 - - ( a ) through (d) Computations illustrating flow patterns de-
plug arrangements, placed at midradius. The effect of the angle, 0, veloped by submerged gas injection through a single porous plug lo-
subtended between the two plugs, is illustrated. cated at center, one-third, half, and two-thirds radius, respectively.

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992--769


--=. = 0.2 m/sec.

~Ii~. . . . . ,,,spp. r.G~'lt~,.:Tl |~:[;;;;iiii,,,, .... ;!~

;,:...--//tit NU|i;;:

...... ,/llffff: ~;::


.... .#/ltlffff: ll~1~..;:
t "** ..o

(a) 0 = 0 (b) 0 = n/4 (c) 0 = n/2

(d) surface (e) middle ( f ) bottom


Fig. 7 - - ( a ) through ( f ) Two-dimensional velocity vectors in some selected vertical and horizontal planes for half-radius placement of a single
plug.

at 45 deg to the plume (b), and at right angles to the B. Mixing Procedures
plume (c), have been provided. Similarly, horizontal
Using the numerical procedures already outlined, the
components of the fluid flow across the surface (d), at
combined effects of tracer addition point and bubbler lo-
midlevel (e), and along the bottom of the ladle (f), are
cation on mixing times were studied mathematically.
presented. The average recirculating flow speed was pre-
Figure 10(a) shows the four different locations chosen
dicted to be 0.1 m/s.
for tracer input with respect to the plume's eye for single-
The key features to note are the angular velocities which
plug bubbling. Figure 10(b) gives three different loca-
significantly affect tracer dispersion rates (as discussed
tions of tracer input chosen for twin-plug bubbling.
in Section IV-B). It can be seen that as the plug's po-
Thus, Figure 11 provides mixing times predicted for
sition is moved off center, the angular momentum of fluid
tracer input to a 1/3-scale water model of a 100-tonne
motion increases remarkably. Predicted mean speeds
ladle with single-plug bubbling. The marked squares
within the ladle vs change in porous plug location are
represent the experimentally measured mixing times for
presented in Table II. It can be seen that the mean an-
comparison with mathematical predictions. As seen, when
gular velocity increases and the mean axial and radial
the tracer was added exactly into the eye of the plume
velocities decrease as the plug is moved away from the
(case A), center gas bubbling proved to have the shortest
center.
bulk mixing time. This was followed by increases as the
Flow patterns for twin-plug injection are provided in
bubbler position approached the ladle sidewall. How-
Figure 8. There, diametrically opposed porous plugs were
ever, since the flow characteristics of real plumes in the
placed at one-third, half, and two-thirds radii, respec-
tively. Two-dimensional plots for selected planes are il-
lustrated in Figure 9 for plugs at half radius location and Table II. Predicted Mean Speeds of Axial,
diametrically opposed to each other. The mean speed for Radial, and Angular Directions in a 1/3 Scale
recirculating flow was predicted to be 0.09 m / s for such Water Model of a 100-Tonne Ladle for Various
cases, this being 10 pct less than that for single plug Plug Positions (Q = 30 NI/min, unit = m/s)
bubbling with the equivalent gas flow rate. The mean
speed in axial (u), radial (v), and angular (w) directions 1.1 Ivl Iwl Iu cl
was predicted to be 0.068, 0.020, and 0.028 m / s , re- Center 0.1094 0.0464 0.0000 0.1391
spectively. It can again be seen that the angular mo- 1/3 R 0.0687 0.0346 0.0311 0.1008
mentum of fluid motion increases as the plug's position 1/2 R 0.0658 0.0368 0.0421 0.1025
2/3 R 0.0529 0.0355 0.0533 0.1028
is moved off center.

770--VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER I992 METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B


= 0.2 m/sec. B A C E F G

Oo;/
\~
/~ c

(
q

~
oo
~q
oo
s,
c

(a) single porous plug (b) twin porous plugs

Fig. 10--Location of tracer additions with respect to the centerline


of rising gas-liquid plume for (a) single porous plug bubbling and
(b) twin porous plug bubbling.

gas-stirred ladles are turbulent, unstable, and time-


dependent, with vertical plume axes that tend to precess,
this "theoretical" experiment proved to be difficult to
reproduce in practice.
It is more realistic to suppose that the tracer will inev-
itably be added slightly off-center to a plume's eye
(case B). Predicted mixing times for off-center plume
additions were therefore studied, and these exhibit very
different characteristics vs center-plume additions. In this
case, the 95 pct bulk mixing times for center bubbling
were greatly extended, and moreover, an off-plume ad-
Fig. 8--Isometric views of flow vectors predicted for double porous
plug gas bubbling diametrically opposed at (a) one-third, (b) half, and dition close to a ladle sidewall (cases C and D) leads to
(c) two-thirds radii, respectively. much longer mixing times. For sidewall additions,

-~ = 0 . 2 m/sea

LS~ ~'.~ 7~.-~,-.~ 7--. 7 ~ - - - "~..7..~ ..... ~.7,.7~.71


i,.,~,,..~ii6~.,,~,~,., ~
J~i6~d~#6~ ttttkkbtt~t~

0
.,0~r

n .......................

............ *,* ...........


o~ l ~

~kkkk~"
~' ..........

. . . .
"~r

"'~gddilifl

(a) 0 = 0 (b) 0 = n / 4 (c) 0 = n/2

(d) surface (e) middle ( f ) bottom


Fig. 9 - - ( a ) through ( f ) Two-dimensional velocity components in some selected vertical and horizontal planes for diametrically opposed porous
plugs at half radii.

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B. DECEMBER 1992--771


I?0 steel in ladles occurs by a combination of both convec-
''-..... ',\'\\ 0 Prediction tive transport and turbulent eddy diffusion, both mech-
lOG Experiment anisms contributing in roughly equal proportions.
'~""~ \'~\,. "(Case A/B7) Figures 12(a) and (b) illustrate the transient mixing pro-
cesses for center bubbling computed for case A and
8O case B tracer addition, respectively. The shaded region
represents the zone wherein 95 pct bulk mixing times
E O0 C~"""~".-...-..~
:'~\9-.. \\~....L~e
c ,..11
j are reached. Since center gas stirring has no angular mo-
mentum associated with it, angular mixing can only take
i place by eddy diffusion processes should the tracer not
Case A ~ be added precisely into the eye of the plume. As noted,

t
the consequence of missing the "bull's eye" (or center
of the up-welling plume) leads to tremendous increases

O0
I
0.5 1.0
in mixing times.
P e r contra, as the plug is moved away from the center
toward the sidewall, solute transport by angular mo-
r/R mentum increases, yielding faster mixing even though
the tracer is injected at the sidewall. Figures 13(a) and
Fig, l 1--Illustration of predicted 95 pct bulk mixing times in a
1/3-scale water model of a 100-tonne ladle for various plug positions
(b) illustrate the transient mixing processes for a plug
and tracer addition points. (Square marks represent measured mixing placed at half radius, when tracer was injected into the
times.) center plume (case A) and into liquid at the sidewall
(case C), respectively. As seen, for the center-plume ad-
dition, tracer is dispersed rapidly, reaching 95 pct bulk
95 pct mixing times for center bubbling proved to be the mixing at the left side and bottom of plume after
longest and decreased significantly as the plug was moved 24 seconds and then at the upper right sidewall to plume
toward the sidewall. Asai et al.,[l~ using physical models, after 30 seconds. The 95 pct bulk mixing time was pre-
studied mixing behavior under the conditions of case C. dicted to be 38 seconds for such a case. Dispersion char-
As discussed in previous research work, ttaj mixing of acteristics for the sidewall additions were seen to be similar

A tracer
120 10541.05 1.20 0.95 0.95

-7...... .- ~

A
bubbling

(a) 10 seconds (b) 20 seconds (c) 30 seconds

B tracer
0.50

bubblinq
(a) 20 seconds (b) 60 seconds (c) 110 seconds
Fig. 12--Illustration of transients in isoconcentrations following center-plume addition of a tracer (A), and tracer addition just off-center to the
gas/liquid plume (B), during center gas bubbling.

772--VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992 METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B


A tracer
1.05~ 1.50 o.95 i

1.05 ~ ~,
20~ 0.8CC ~,~f" / 0.95
"~b.95 -- -v '~../I
bubbling
(a) 10 seconds (b) 20 seconds (c) 30 seconds

I
tracer
_ _ -~-3~:._z.Z22- i.Gg--

1 O5
bubbling

(a) 10 seconds (b) 30 seconds (c) 50 seconds


Fig. 1 3 - - I l l u s t r a t i o n of transients in isoconcentrations following center-plume addition (A) and a sidewall addition (B) of a tracer for an off-
center porous plug placed at half radius.

but to take much longer (55 seconds) for complete 95 pct bulent viscosity as computed for off-center single-plug
bulk mixing. bubbling at half radius and for dual-plug bubbling dia-
In summary, since center gas bubbling has no angular metrically opposed bubblers at half radius. As seen, for
momentum, mixing is dominated by eddy diffusion, re- the dual-plug bubbling, the average turbulent viscosity
suiting in delayed mixing times for off-center plume ad- in the center vertical plane of the bubblers was in-
ditions. As the plug is moved away from the center toward creased. Furthermore, its predicted distributions were
the sidewall, momenta in the three polar directions be- relatively homogeneous across the ladle by comparison
come comparable. Owing to concurrent increases in an- with that for single-plug bubbling. In contrast, as already
gular momentum, mixing times become relatively noted, the predicted mean speed (of recirculation) was
insensitive to the tracer addition point. This can be in- reduced to 90 pct of that for single-plug bubbling at
terpreted for the industrial steelmaking ladle process such 40 L/min. This is consistent with the concept that greater
that off-center gas stirring is relatively insensitive to the shearing actions are generated in twin, or multiplug,
location of thermal and chemical segregation in ladle. bubbling vs single-plug bubbling, such that diffusive
Figures 14(a) through (c) illustrate tracer dispersion components are raised at the expense of convective com-
behavior for twinly opposed porous plugs, at half radii ponents of the intermixing process.
for a center-ladle addition (case E), a plume addition
(case F), and a sidewall addition (case G), respectively. C. Plume Distortion and Wall Effects
Mixing times were predicted to be 38 seconds for
case E, 58 seconds for case F, and 70 seconds for The results of the computations just described provide
case G. It is interesting to note that for the center-ladle a convincing argument for mixing times becoming shorter
addition, 95 pct bulk mixing levels are first reached in as the plug is moved away from the ladle's center. How-
the two plume zones, expanding the mixing area to each ever, since slippage and wall friction effects were not
sidewall, while for cases F and G, it is first reached at taken into account in the present computational model
the center of the vessel. It can be seen from Figures 12 for plugs located near the sidewall, the experimental ob-
through 14 that the last mixing point is dependent on the servation that mixing at two-thirds radius was again
tracer injection point and plug locations. somewhat delayed could not be properly predicted.
Figures 15(a) and (b) illustrate the distributions of tur- Figure 16 illustrates pictorially the characteristics of a

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992--773


A tracer
/

_L _ 1.05 1.05

0.95
bubbling bubbling
(a) 10seconds (b) 20 seconds (c) 30 seconds

).50 0.9 05 .93 . .

h.hhling bubbling
(a) 10 seconds (b) 20 seconds (c) 45 seconds
L
C tracer

. . . . . . . . 0.80 ~ 0.__ ~. 1.10 0.95 1.0,

bubbling bubbling
(a) 20 seconds (b) 40 seconds (c) 60 seconds
Fig. 14--=Illustration of transients in isoconcentrations following center-tank addition (A), a plume addition (B), and a sidewall addition (C), of
a tracer for double porous plug gas bubbling diametrically placed at half radii.

single plume rising through water, for plugs set at the procedure by Boysan and Johansen t8} can predict those
ladle's center, one-third, half, and two-thirds radii, re- conditions for which the plume is "bent" inward, or out-
spectively. One should note that the flow field can dis- ward, as a result of interactions with the bulk flow fields.
tort the plume from a vertical trajectory, the degree to There, a flow field is first deduced using the Eulerian
which the plume is "bent" being a function of crossflows scheme. Successive bubbles are then introduced into the
within the ladle. system, using a Lagrangian framework. This allows spa-
For a plug located at two-thirds radius, its associated tial variations in plume voidage to be computed as a
plume is distorted toward the sidewall, resulting in con- function of bulk flow patterns. Through successive it-
tact of the plume with the sidewall. This might cause a erations between Eulerian and Lagrangian frames of ref-
part of the buoyancy force of the bubbles to be lost by erence, therefore, plume geometries can be deduced as
slippage, together with an increase in drag force (shear part of the numerical solution procedures.
stress) up the sidewall. Furthermore, the large shear stress Figure 17 shows plume interactions for two plug ar-
on the wall will increase the potential for hydrodynamic rangements. As seen, when two plugs are closely placed,
erosion of the ladle's refractories. However, plume dis- the plumes coalesce, diminishing the effect of double
tortions were not observed with weak gas bubbling (i.e., gas bubbling. Similarly, when two plugs are located near
<10 L/rain in this water model system). the sidewalls, this will increase wall shear stresses and
An alternative, but more computationally demanding, the potential of hydrodynamic erosion of the refractories.

774--VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992 METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSB


........... c,- ....
~--rl---s:~ ....... c( ..... ry-i

ILl\)\ i ! 4.0
'
, I

I/\ % \ JV /I
0.08._., I .- - ~ ~ o.I- ;:~' o.s ,: r -o-z

(a) 1/2R single bubbling (b) 1/2Rdual-plug bubbling


Fig. 15--Distribulions of computed turbulent viscosity (kg m ~ s -~) in a 1/3-scale water model o f 100-tonne ladle for (a) half-radius single-
plug bubbling and (b) half-radius dual-plug bubbling (Q = 30 N1/min).

(a) center (b) 1/3 R

(r 1/2 R (d) 2/3 R


Fig. 16--Photographs of model ladle illustrating the distortion of the plume during single-plug bubbling: (a) center, (b) 1/3 R, (c) 1/2 R, and
(d) 2/3 R (R = radius).

METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992--775


(a) 1/3 R

(b) 112 R (c) 213 R


Fig. 17--Photographs of model ladle illustrating the distortion of the plume during double-plug bubbling: (a) l/3 R, (b) 1/2 R, and (c) 2/3 R
(R = radius).

It is therefore concluded that the placement of porous to steel reoxidation by entrained slag droplets and oxy-
plugs at half radius is an optimum location. There, the gen and nitrogen pickup from the free metal surface ex-
portion of momentum in each direction is of the same posed to the atmosphere in the "plume's eye."
order, and wall effects are minimized. Kim et al. tl31 proposed an empirical expression for
predicting the critical gas flow rate through a plug that
D. Industrial Applications causes liquid slag to start to be entrained into an under-
lying steel bath. It is given by (cgs units)
Proper stirring of the liquid steel is very important
during steelmaking processes. For instance, there are Qcr = 6.7 •
10_2H1.8, ( o ' A o ' ~ ~
\--ZI [18]
metallurgical reactions which require strong mixing of
metal and slag. Stirring for decarburization, desulfuriza-
tion, and dephosphorization belongs to this case. On the where Qcr (cm3/s) represents the critical flow rate, H
other hand, stirring for deoxidation, alloy homogeniza- (cm) the height of ladle, o" (dyne/cm) the interracial sur-
tion, or inclusion removal requires gentle mixing at the face tension, Ap (gr/cm 3) the density difference between
metal/slag interface and maintenance of an unbroken slag slag and metal, and Ps the slag density.
layer. The critical flow rate for slag/metal mixing expressed
For gas stirring in the teeming ladle, the need for gentle by Eq. [18] could be used as a criterion for the deter-
mixing can be intensified due to improper control of slag mination of gentle stirring. The analysis indicates the flow
carryover. The presence of a liquid slag layer on the metal rate should be quite low, typically 100 to 150 L/min for
surface can cause significant delay in mixing times, since a 150-tonne ladle, t23JThe critical flow rate for slag/metal
the breakage and deformation of the slag layer consume mixing is mainly related to slag layer breakup and slag
part of the stirring input energy. Moreover, strong tur- droplet entrainment caused by strong upward momentum
bulent flows at the slag/metal interface activate inter- of the plume. Therefore, if high flow rates with gentle
facial mass transfer and slag droplet entrainment, leading but fast mixing are needed, multiplug gas bubbling could

776--VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992 METALLURGICALTRANSACTIONSB


be appropriate as a technical solution, since it would dis- W time-averaged circumferential component of
tribute input stirring energy over the bath with a low plume velocity
velocity from each bubbler. Z axial coordinate

Greek Symbols
V. CONCLUSIONS
a volume fraction of gas in the gas/liquid
Mixing phenomena in steelmaking ladles have been plume
studied using mathematical and aqueous physical models E dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy
for a one-third scale of a 100-tonne ladle. It was con- Fe,C effective diffusivity of tracer
cluded that: 0 partial differential term
1. Flow patterns are strongly dependent on the number 0 circumferential coordinate
and positions of the bubblers. As the bubblers are laminar viscosity
moved off-center, angular momenta increase, reduc- /Zeff effective turbulent viscosity
ing mixing times significantly. /xt turbulent viscosity
2. Measured mixing times are sensitive to monitoring P density of fluid (water/molten steel)
point as well as to bubbler location. Ap density difference between metal and slag
3. When a porous plug bubbler is close to a ladle side- Pc density of gas
wall, flows will distort the plume toward that side- PL density of liquid
wall, increasing drag force on the wall. This increases Ps density of slag
the mixing time needed f0r alloy homogenization and o- laminar Schmidt number in Eq. [14] (v/D or
increases the potential for hydrodynamic erosion of tx/pD), where D = diffusivity interfacial
the ladle's refractories. tension in Eq. [18]
4. For double porous plug bubbling, more gentle flow ort turbulent Schmidt number (tx,/pD,)
and equivalent mixing times vs single off-center bub-
bling were predicted, using equal net flows of gas
into the ladle. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
5. A midradius placement of a porous plug represents
an optimum location for single-plug bubbling, while The authors deeply appreciate the support of NSERC
diametrically opposed, midradius placement of bub- and the Korean Ministry of Education for providing
blers is recommended for double-plug bubbling. research support funds for S. Joo.
6. The last point within the bulk of the liquid to become
mixed depends on the tracer addition point and plug
arrangements. REFERENCES
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METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992--777


17. W.P. Jones and B.E. Launder: Int. J. HeatMass Transfer, 1972, 21. D.B. Spalding: Heat Transfer in Turbulent Buoyant Convection,
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778--VOLUME 23B, DECEMBER 1992 METALLURGICAL TRANSACTIONS B