Experiments and simulations on a cold-flow blast furnace hearth model

Tim M.J. Nijssen, Indy Hoeks, Vishwanath Manjunath, Hans A.M. Kuipers, Jan van der Stel, Allert T. Adema, Kay A. Buist (Corresponding author)

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The blast furnace hearth plays an important role in the operational stability and lifetime of the reactor. The quasi-stagnant bed of coke particles termed the deadman undergoes complex interaction with the flowing hot metal, and remains largely ill-understood. In this work, a cold model blast furnace hearth is presented, and studied using both numerical and experimental techniques. Magnetic Particle Tracking (MPT) is used to investigate the individual particle behaviour within the cylindrical, opaque bed. At high liquid holdup, the particle bed was found to alternate between floating and sitting states, following the liquid level during the tapping and filling cycle. This bed motion was found to induce a migration of particles, thereby slowly renewing the deadman. The rate of horizontal migration increases with the vertical bed amplitude, and the renewal of particles is concentrated around the opening of the tap hole. No direct influence of the coke-free space on the tapping rate was found in these experiments. Instead, the disturbance of the packing in front of the tap hole was observed to lead to a higher tapping rate. Additionally, a coupled numerical framework is presented, in which Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the Volume of Fluid (VOF) method and the Discrete Element Method (DEM) are combined. A simulation set-up is presented which closely replicates the experimental conditions. The position and movement of the floating bed are found to be well-predicted by the VOF/CFD-DEM model. Particle trajectories are presented, and migration of particles within the deadman is observed. Alongside the particle motion, the liquid flow pattern during draining of the vessel is visualised. It is concluded that a coke-free space underneath the deadman significantly impacts the shape of the liquid flow pattern, which affects the erosion processes within the blast furnace hearth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100120
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Engineering Science: X
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Tata Steel Europe for their financial support for this project. This research was carried out under project number S16046 in the framework of the Partnership Program of the Materials innovation institute M2i ( www.m2i.nl ) and the Technology Foundation TTW, which is part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research ( www.nwo.nl ).


  • Blast furnace
  • Deadman
  • Ironmaking
  • Magnetic Particle Tracking


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