Purdue Calumet’s blast furnace shaft simulator broke through as an innovative, international, application

Written by Jamie Wayne.
Photography by Ron Delhaye.


With each and every successful project, the work of several graduate engineering students at Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization & Simulation (CIVS) continues to impress the gamut of big name steel industries in the United States, and has established a groundbreaking reputation for its research and strategic processes in the facilitation of solving real-world problems.

Dong Fu presenting the Blast Furnace Shaft to AISI


Four years in the making

Just last week on June 19 and 20, CIVS presented four years of extensive research wrapped up in one complete software package to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the Department of Energy, alongside several industrial collaborators in an astounding event known as the “Technology Transfer-Workshop.”


Through the research, the Center’s Director, Dr. Chenn Zhou, and her students developed a software package to simulate the blast furnace shaft process. The package is called the Blast Furnace Shaft Simulator. This state-of-the-art software uses advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and 3D visualization to optimize burden and gas distribution for minimizing the fuel rate in blast furnaces.

Dong Fu presenting the software package to AISI

Ph.D. student, Dong Fu, presenter of the Blast Furnace Shaft Simulator, explains, “The goal of the research was to improve the competitive edge of the steel industry by using advanced CFD combined with 3D visualization to increase yield, maximize blast furnace fuel efficiency and to improve the environment.


During the event, students instructed attendees on the use and application of the software, instructional manuals and showed 3D demonstrations of results conducted during the workshop.

CIVS student instructing AISI attendee on the use of the software


A design made easy and user-friendly

The Blast Furnace Shaft Simulator package will be a tool to provide guidance for design, troubleshooting and optimization of blast furnace operations. It can be used to train novice operators and engineers by providing flow information, evaluating system performances and seeking optimal operating conditions. It can also be applied to develop strategies to control the system automatically. Furthermore, it can be employed by system designers to develop new and improved systems by conducting experiments for various innovative concepts.


Making an impact in the industry and academia

AISI in the CIVS Immersive Theater

With several accolades, admiration and $30 million in cost savings, the Center continues to succeed as the stronghold for leading edge simulations since 2009. This finalized software package has established itself as an innovative, international application that has not only impressed AISI, but has left them wanting more with higher hopes.