Blast Furnace – Comprehensive Modeling Package


Three side by side visualizations of a blast furnace.

Blast furnace simulation and visualization

The driving forces for technological improvements are particularly strong in the iron making process, since the extraction of iron from ore is capital and energy intensive. A blast furnace represents the predominant iron-producing process in North America. Due to difficulty in measurements, advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation has been recognized as a powerful technology for improving the blast furnace to address critical issues such as:

  • Furnace campaign life and productivity
  • Energy efficiency and fuel utilization
  • Pollutant emission


A consortium has been formed to develop comprehensive CFD models for the simulations of the blast furnace hearth, pulverized coal injection and coke combustion, and gas and burden distributions. These models have been validated using measurement data from lab experiments and real blast furnace operations. They have been used to (1) gain fundamental insights, (2) investigate the impact of key operation and design parameters, and (3) develop strategies for process optimization. The CFD simulation has been integrated with virtual reality visualizations to create a virtual blast furnace for training.


  • This extensive research has made significant impacts such as:
  • Over $20 million in savings and cost avoidances
  • Guidance for design, optimization, and trouble- shooting
  • A virtual blast furnace used for training worldwide
  • Copyrighted CFD and VR software packages
  • International awards
Two views of a simulation of gas distribution through the cohesive zone.

Gas distribution through the cohesive zone

Sponsors & Partners: American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), ArcelorMittal USA, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, SeverStal, U. S. Steel, U. S. Steel – Canada, and Union Gas

Blast Furnace Flyer





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