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Development of eco-friendly ironmaking processes based on GPU-enhanced DEM-CFD modelling

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DECRON (Development of eco-friendly ironmaking processes based onGPU-enhanced DEM-CFD modelling)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-11-30

The aims of this project was to provide insight into the blast furnace charging which involves the feeding of feed materials (coke and ore) into the top of the furnace.
This is important as the steel making industry in the EU is under serve strain owing to increased production costs and emission levels, thus been able to optimise the operation of blast furnaces will lower production costs as well as reduce emissions.
Due to the extreme nature of a blast furnace obtaining information via experimental means is limited. Therefore this project aimed to use numerical modelling techniques in-order to provide a simulation of the relevant processes during blast furnace charging. While there have been a number of simulation studies on blast furnace charging they have all used simplified particle shapes in-order to reduce computational run times.
Thus the focus of this project has been to shed light on the effect that the particle shape has on the simulation results thus its ability to provide a closer match to reality. The main objective of this project has been to demonstrate how particle shape can change the spatial topology of the packed bed thus allowing blast furnace operations to achieve the desired distribution of the feed materials in the blast furnace.
The opensource DEM software Blaze-DEM was used for this project due to its GPU implementation and ability to model polyhedral particles. Q1/Year 1 of project involved the addition of code to Blaze-DEM in-order to enable the input of the complex blast furnace geometry as well as to mimic the feeding process which requires particles to be created as batches in the simulation. In the Q2/Year 1 the code was validated against experiment and two studies on the effect of particle shape on flow as well as mixing was done resulting in two published papers. Q3/ Year 1 involved a study on the effect of particle shape on blast furnace charging which consisted of both simulation and experiment building on the previous two papers . In the final quarter of Year 1 a paper on the work done in Q3 was submitted and an invited talk on blast furnace modelling at CPT 2019 in Melbourne was done. In addition to this two workshops and DEM and GPU computing were as given at the University of Surrey, ensuring knowledge transfer.

The first four months of Year 2 involved the development of models for heat transfer involving polyhedral particles as well as the development of experiments to validate the develop code. The next four months involved a study on the effect of heat transfer in packed beds using the developed models as well as a keynote talk on the effects of particle shape in blast furnace charging at the DEM 8 conference in the Netherlands. In the final three months of the project the developed software was presented within the group to enable uptake after the project ends, a final paper on the effect of particle shape on heat flow was submitted as well as an invited keynote talk INCHEM 2019, Tokyo was done.
This project demonstrated for the first time that particle shape can be used change the topology of burden formation a blast furnace, the publication of this journal in the highly rated Chemical Engineering Science journal and the number of invited talks demonstrates the significance of this work. While the aim was to show if particle shape has an effect we progressed beyond that and showed that by selecting certain shapes you can actually control the topology. The second part of this study again for the first time demonstrated that the packing micro-structure of static packed beds is significantly affected by particle shape, in carrying out this work we developed a new model for heat conduction in granular material made up of polyhedral particles. The impact of this work is supported by the invited talk at INCHEM 2019 in Tokyo. Based on the reception paper when published will have a significant effect on future studies involving heat conduction in packed beds.