A multi-QMOM framework to describe multi-component agglomerates in liquid steel



A variant of the quadrature method of moments (QMOM) for solving multiple population balance equations (PBE) is developed with the objective of application to steel industry processing. During the process of oxygen removal in a steel ladle, a large panel of oxide inclusions may be observed depending on the type of oxygen removal and addition elements. The final quality of the steel can be improved by accurate numerical simulation of the multi-component precipitation. The model proposed in this article takes into account the interactions between three major aspects of steelmaking modeling, namely fluid dynamics, thermo-kinetics and population balance. A commercial CFD code is used to predict the liquid steel hydrodynamics, whereas a home-made thermo-kinetic code adjusts chemical composition with nucleation and diffusion growth, and finally a set of PBE tracks the evolution of inclusion size with emphasis on particle aggregation. Each PBE is solved by QMOM, the first PBE/QMOM system describing the clusters and each remaining PBE/QMOM system being dedicated to the elementary particles of each inclusion species. It is shown how this coupled model can be used to investigate the cluster size and composition of a particular grade of steel (i.e., Fe-Al-Ti-O). © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010