NIST: AMTech Planning Grant

A collection of images showing CIVS simulations and visitors watching the visualizations with 3D glasses.

In order to maintain global competitiveness, steel manufacturing in the U.S. needs to optimize its manufacturing capabilities, and improve both efficiency and workforce training. Newly developed and emerging simulation and visualization technologies have recently provided efficient, effective, and economical tools for improving process and product design, troubleshooting, optimization, and workplace safety, while also providing state-of-the-art, cost-effective, and efficient workforce training to address debilitating skill gaps.

Water Inlet System

3D views of the circulating inlet system

NIPSCO’s Bailly Generating Station draws water from Lake Michigan to be used as a coolant. However, sand from the lake is also brought into the water inlet system. This sand must be cleaned out periodically to prevent buildup and damage to equipment. NIPSCO would like to have a study performed to evaluate its Bailly Generating Station’s water inlet system for sand accumulation problem.

Sinter Cooling Simulation

Geometry of the sinter cooler

The sinter cooler is a tall rotary cooler with permeable metallic hearth and it is used to cool the hot sinter particles before they can be charged into the blast furnace. The cooling efficiency of the sinter cooler is significant to productivity and the sinter quality. In addition, reducing cooling time by optimizing the operation conditions can save energy. The cooling efficiency of the sinter cooler depends upon the operating conditions and configuration of the cooler geometry. In this study, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) had been employed to simulate the sinter cooler process. The parametric study was carried out to investigate the effects of operating conditions and evaluate the efficiency of an alternative design.

QBOP Vessel

QBOP Vessel Sketch and Computational Geometry

The QBOP process for steelmaking is a variation of the basic oxygen process (BOP), which involves blowing high-purity oxygen through a bath of molten pig iron. Figure 1 shows the sketch of a QBOP vessel which is used in the production of low-alloy steel. The QBOP vessels being investigated experience excessive material buildup (“kidney”) on the mouth of the vessel. The buildup on the mouth pushes the steel bath back over the top of taphole which leads to unwanted slag carryover. Additionally, costly and timely vessel maintenance is required to remove the buildup on the mouth.

Power Station Condenser

Condenser Loop Geometry

NiSource Bailey Power Station uses a pair of coal-fired boilers to generate electricity via steam turbines. Water drawn from Lake Michigan is used for several condensers to recycle liquid water. However, lake water carries a large quantity of sand and sediment which could petentially clog the condenser system. Meanwhile, the West-West condenser box is having difficulty filling up with water. In order to solve these problems, better understanding of the sand distribution and flow patterns inside the condenser loop is required to identify the core issues which fundamentally cause the inefficiency of the condenser.