Unveiling the complex physics of a blast furnace

  • Faculté des Sciences, des Technologies et de Médecine (FSTM)
    05 juillet 2023
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Scientists and engineers from the University of Luxembourg have developed cutting-edge multi-physics simulation technology to analyse the complex process in a blast furnace. Their findings have been recently published.

Understanding multi-phase flow with its complex transfer mechanism of mass, momentum and heat between individual phases in a blast furnace is of critical importance for design, operation and meeting environmental challenges. A blast furnace is a key reactor in the steel making industry and consumes large amounts of energy and produces app 70 % of the CO2 emissions of a steel plant. Thus, small improvements can have a large impact on production costs and the carbon footprint. 

reflecting theFigure 1: Cohesive zone in a blast furnace production rate of liquid metal, characteristic temperature and velocity distribution

In order to support improvements, a novel and innovative numerical approach based on the Extended Discrete Element Method (XDEM) is applied to resolve the physics and phase interactions in a blast furnace. “A thorough analysis of the detailed data obtained unveils the underlying physics of the complex process in a blast furnace. With these insights, the understanding of multi-physics in a blast has been considerably broadened and promotes a shift from current empirical-based practice to an advanced multi-physics simulation technology. It will support decision makers and help them taking informed decisions”, explains Prof. Bernhard Peters from the Department of Engineering at the University of Luxembourg.


Picture of the blast furnace, © Paul Wurth