Electrical and Thermal Behaviour of Metallurgical Furnaces
Efficient production of metals requires extremely high temperatures within large furnaces. This heat is obtained through huge amounts of electrical energy. There is a great need for a better understanding of the interdependent mechanisms inside these furnaces, in particular between the electrical currents, the temperature distribution, the chemical reactions and the flow of the material. Due to the high temperatures within the furnaces, accurate internal measurements are almost impossible to achieve, therefore mathematical models are required to ascertain the behaviour. This insight is vital in understanding how to optimise the process and minimise the energy needed to obtain a satisfactory product.
Through collaboration with Teknova and the ElMet project, this work is the focus of my PhD research. Thus far, I have concentrated on understanding the electrical component of such furnaces, with particular emphasis on the impact of constrictive resistance within granular material. Constrictive resistance is the constituent of contact resistance associated with electric current flowing through a very small interface from one material to another. Through the use of asymptotic analysis, we can understand the behaviour of electric current on a microscopic scale, i.e. within a particle, and hence by applying mathematical homogenisation techniques, we can gain insight into how the current behaves on the macroscopic scale, that is, throughout the furnace.
Supervisor: Svenn Anton Halvorsen (Teknova)