This grant provides funding for the investigation of strategies to improve the quality of continuous-cast steel by applying tailored magnetic fields to alter fluid flow in the mold region to reduce the formation of defects. Magnetic fields apply additional forces to the steel flow which change the velocities that affect the transport of inclusions and level fluctuations that produce most of the defects in the current process. To accomplish this, high-fidelity computer models will be developed based on accurate modeling of the turbulence and its interactions with the magnetic fields. Advanced parallel computers based on graphics processing units will be used to reduce the computational times and increase the mesh resolution. The computer models developed will be applied to study flow fields in model and industrial geometries to characterize the effects of different magnetic field configurations. The ultimate objective is to obtain the most desirable configuration for performance and practical viability.
If successful, the project will reduce defects and reduce the waste of energy, material and resources during the continuous-casting of steel, a process which is used to produce over 90 percent of the steel in the United States and globally. The principal investigators have close interactions with several steel producers through the Continuous Casting Consortium at the University of Illinois which provides an industry perspective as well as the means to implement results into practice. The research is expected to contribute to the fundamental understanding of turbulent flows in complex domains subjected to varied magnetic field configurations. The use of graphics processing units for fluid flow simulations has recently enabled significant advantages in speed and accuracy and this work will also be extended to clusters of multiple graphics processing units.