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Heat Transfer Engineering


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Simulation of Cold Rolled Steel Coil Heating during


Batch Annealing Process
a

Ahmad Saboonchi & Saeid Hassanpour


a

Department of Mechanical Engineering , Isfahan University of Technology , Isfahan, Iran

Ryayan Tahlil Sepahan Company, Isfahan Science and Technology Town , Isfahan, Iran
Published online: 07 Oct 2011.

To cite this article: Ahmad Saboonchi & Saeid Hassanpour (2008) Simulation of Cold Rolled Steel Coil Heating during Batch
Annealing Process, Heat Transfer Engineering, 29:10, 893-901, DOI: 10.1080/01457630802125807
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01457630802125807

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Heat Transfer Engineering, 29(10):893901, 2008


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Copyright 
ISSN: 0145-7632 print / 1521-0537 online
DOI: 10.1080/01457630802125807

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Simulation of Cold Rolled Steel


Coil Heating during Batch
Annealing Process
AHMAD SABOONCHI1 and SAEID HASSANPOUR2
1
2

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


Ryayan Tahlil Sepahan Company, Isfahan Science and Technology Town, Isfahan, Iran

Cold rolled coils are subjected to the annealing process in order to improve their formability and mechanical properties. A
mathematical model of thermal behavior of coils during the heating cycle has been developed. Based on experimental data
from several tests, the accuracy of the model has been confirmed. This model enables us to determine the coldest point of
coils and the end time of furnace operation. Furthermore, the model has been used to analyze the effect of strip thickness on
the heating time required. Thinner strips lead to prolonged heating time and larger temperature differences within the coil.

INTRODUCTION
Cold rolled steel coils need to be annealed after they
leave the cold rolling process. The purpose of annealing is to
improve steel strip formability and remove residual internal
stresses imparted during rolling. Cold rolled coils are heated
and retained at a certain temperature in batch anneal furnaces,
and then cooled and removed. The heating and cooling rates
of coils in batch furnaces are slow due to large masses of
coils.
Figure 1 shows the schematic view of an annealing furnace.
It consists of an inner cover, the furnace, and the base. The basefan circulates an inert gas, usually a volume combination of
10% hydrogen and 90% nitrogen called HNX, inside the inner
cover and among the coils. Grooved plates, called a convector, are used between two adjacent coils to allow the gas pass
through the coils. A convector consists of a flat circular plate
with concentric hole and some thicker ribs welded on to it (see
Figure 2). The furnace mounted on the base has burners that heat
the wall of the inner cover, and the gas inside the inner cover
is heated as a result of contact with the wall. In some annealing plants, heating cycles are determined from prepared charts
based on experimental trial and error. They are for certain sizes
of coils and do not support all coil sizes. A proper mathematical model of the annealing process can predict the temperatures
Address correspondence to Professor Ahmad Saboonchi, Department of
Mechanical Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 84154, Iran.
E-mail: ahmadsab@cc.iut.ac.ir

of the internal points on the charges coils and the time when
each point reaches the desired recrystalization temperature. Efforts have been made in most plants to develop such a model.
Meyer and Woelk [1] first developed the theoretical basis of a
mathematical model of the annealing furnace. Harvey [2] also
developed a mathematical simulation of the annealing process.
Rovito et al. [3, 4] developed an online model, mostly based
on statistical functions, to predict the end time of the annealing process and the cold spot temperature (the coldest point of
the coils in heating cycle). It should be mentioned that in these
models, either the cold spot position was predetermined (see
Figure 3) or its calculated temperature was corrected by measuring an auxiliary point temperature located on the coils outside
layer.
The model developed in this paper is meant to simulate heating of cold rolled steel coils in annealing furnaces at the Mobarakeh Steel Complex (MSC) located in Isfahan, Iran. This
model is capable of online computation of the temperatures of
all points of a coil even when its only input variable is the inert gas temperature. This temperature is read by the operator
from a thermocouple mounted inside the inner cover. The model
was subjected to several experiments for validation. The good
agreement found between the predictions by the model and the
experimental data confirm the accuracy of the model. First, this
model was used to determine the exact time of furnace firing for
any coil size in the annealing plant. Finally, the effect of strip
thickness on the heating time required and on the temperature
difference between cold and hot spots of the coil was investigated. The great temperature difference in coil during heating

893

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894

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

Figure 3 Coil geometry and 2D coordinates system: predetermined positions


of hot and cold spots of a coil.

Figure 1 Schematic view of an annealing furnace.

time leads to disrupted uniformity of strip mechanical properties


along its length.

HEAT TRANSFER MODEL


Conduction Equation
With regard to the shape of cold rolled steel coils, the heat
transfer equation can be considered for cylindrical coordinates
(see Figure 3) in radial and axial directions as given by Eq. (1).





T
T
1

(cT ) =
kr r
+
kz
(1)

r r
r
z
z
The most important issue in the heat transfer equation within the
coil is the equivalent thermal conductivity along radial direction

Figure 2 A typical convector with circular plate and ribs.

heat transfer engineering

[5]. The thermal conductivity of the coil along its axial direction
(k z ) is assumed to be the same as that of the steel. But for the
radial direction (kr ), an equivalent thermal conductivity must be
assumed, due to the fact that a number of steel sheet layers are
laid alongside each other.
Radial Thermal Conductivity
Two flat surfaces lying on each other can have few contact
points [6]. The ratio of actual contact area (the sum of contact
points) to apparent contact area between the two flat surfaces
(A), depends on the material, surface roughness, and the pressure
created between them. It can thus be claimed that heat transfer
between the two layers will take place in the three following
ways:

1. conduction at contact points, Rcnd,cnt
;
2. conduction through the gas medium occupying the voids be
tween contact points, Rcnd,gas
; and

3. radiation through the voids between contact points, Rrad,gas
.

As seen in Figure 4, the equivalent thermal conductivity in the


radial direction can be obtained by writing the equivalent heat
resistance relation for one layer of metal strip and an intermediate layer. Heat resistance in the metal strip can be calculated
from Eq. (2), while Eqs. (35) can be used to obtain heat resistances in the intermediate layer. Substituting the above resistance
terms in Eq. (6) and ignoring the thickness of the intermediate
layer when compared to the thickness of the strip, we will finally obtain the equivalent thermal conductivity for one layer of
metal strip and an intermediate layer, which is the coil thermal
conductivity along the radial direction, as seen in Eq. (7).
Rs =

ts
ks

vol. 29 no. 10 2008

(2)

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

895

Table 1 Properties of steel [6] and inert gases [5] against temperature
Steel thermal
conductivity
T (K)
(W/m.K)

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300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000

Steel specific
heat capacity
(J/kg.K)

Nitrogen thermal
conductivity
(W/m.K)1000

Hydrogen thermal
conductivity
(W/m.K) 1000

490
527
563
612
685
782
886
991

26.2
33.3
39.8
45.8
51.2
56.1
60.7
64.8

182
228
272
315
351
384
412
440

59
57
53
50
45
41
34
33

Despite these approximations, the model was accepted due


to its accurate results that were satisfactorily comparable to experimental data (less than 10 C last hours of heating cycle).
Thermal conductivity of inert gas is calculated from that of
nitrogen (k N ) and hydrogen (k H ) as well as volume percentages
of hydrogen in inert gas (y H ), as seen in Eq. (8).
ka = y H k H + (1 y H )k N

(8)

As the coil undergoes great temperature changes, it is necessary


to use temperature-dependent physical properties of inert gas
and steel in all equations. Table 1 presents the value of these
properties for various temperatures.
Figure 4 Equivalent thermal conductivity of coil in radial direction.

Boundary Conditions

Rcnd,cnt
=

ta
ks (A)

(3)


Rcnd,gas
=

ta
ka (1 A)

(4)


Rrad,gas
=

4T 3

1
(1 A)

(5)

1
 1
1
1

Req
= Rs + Rcnd,cnt
+ Rcnd,gas
+ Rrad,gas
kr = 

ks

1+

(6)

As seen in Figure 5, the burners of the furnace heat the wall


of the inner cover. The cover will then transfer heat to the steel
coils directly by radiation and indirectly by the inert gas moving
through the coils. The inert gas is heated rapidly by the inner
cover wall and transfers heat by convection to all surfaces of the
coil. Due to their low mass, the convectors are heated faster than
the coils and, thus, transfer heat by radiation from its plate and
conduction from its ribs to the coils. Equations (911) represent
boundary conditions for the inside, outside, and end surfaces of
the coil, respectively.
kr (T /r )|r =Ri = h Ri,cnv (Tgas Tsurf )


(k s /k a )(2)(t s /t a )
[1+(k s /k a 1) A] (2)+(1A)4T 3 (t a /ka )

(7)

As strips are coiled under tension, the gas only penetrates in the
spaces between strips; it has no tangible circulation and must,
therefore, be assumed to be static and motionless.
Two simplifications have been made in Eq. (7): in contact points, steel thermal conductivity has been used in lieu of
the thermal contact conductance; and the values of A and ta
have been assumed to be constant throughout the heating cycle,
whereas their values depend on the quantity of pressure between
two layers, which in turn is a function of temperature gradient
inside the coil.
heat transfer engineering

(9)

kr (T /r )|r =Ro = h Ro,cnv (Tgas Tsurf ) + h Ro,rad (Twall


Tsur
f

(10)
k z (T /z)|z=0,L = C[h 0,L ,cnv (Tgas Tsurf ) +
)

h 0,L ,rad (Tconvector


Tsurf
]

(11)

Because only radiative and convective heat transfer mechanisms


have been assumed to apply to the end coil surfaces and the
conduction between coils and convector ribs have been ignored,
the total heat flux must be multiplied by C, defined as the ratio
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896

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

Ro < 925 mm, and

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500 mm < L < 1600 mm.


Dh was taken to represent the hydraulic diameter of mean gas
passageway between the coil and the convector. Similar to Eq.
(8), all properties of inert gas such as specific heat, viscosity,
and density are obtained from properties of N2 and H2 at similar
temperatures to be used in the above equations.
Equations (1315) were derived and applied only to the real
conditions in this study and cannot be claimed to accurately
capture the situation under other conditions.
After measuring the temperatures of the walls and the convector plates, two approximate relationships were developed to
hold between the inert gas temperature and these values, as illustrated in Eqs. (16) and (17). is time after annealing starts
(hr) (0 < < 35 hr). Tsurf is coil surface temperature in contact
with convector plate. Thus, if the gas temperature is known, the
h Ro,rad and h 0,L ,rad in Eqs. (10) and (11) are calculated from Twall
and Tconvector , respectively.
Twall = [0.56 0.77 ln(0.1 + ) 0.26 exp()
Figure 5 Heat transfer mechanisms of heating cycle in a typical batch annealing furnace.

of the area where the gas passes to the total convector area, and
determined from its shape.
Using the basic Eq. (12) by considering coil dimensions, the
circulation rate of inert gas, and temperature measurement near
surface points of coils in all experiments, heat transfer coefficients for all surfaces of coil were obtained as Eqs. (1315):


N u L = c Rem Prn
h Ri = 0.7kPr0.33

v Ri
L


0.33

0.5 

vRo
L

0.305 1.0
Ri L



Tconvector = 0.57Tgas + 0.43Tsurf

(17)

These two relations have been developed for the furnaces employed at the HNX annealing unit at MSC and may take different
forms under different conditions. They were based on measurements for different charges with varying dimensions so they
could account for all charges used.

0.45 

Ro 1.0
1.4 L

THE COMPUTER PROGRAM


(13)


(14)

h 0,L = 0.04kPr0.33

(16)

(12)


h Ro = 0.65kPr

+ 1.30.25 ]Tgas

v0,L
(Ro Ri)



Ro
r

0.60 

Dh
Ro Ri

0.055
(15)

Several experiments for different dimensions of coil and gas temperature were done. Then, the coefficients of Eqs. (1315) were
obtained. These equations are good for the following ranges:
0.65 < Pr < 0.79,
50 C < Tgas < 700 C,
210 mm < Ri < 320 mm,
heat transfer engineering

To solve Eq. (1), the finite difference method was used. The
equations were solved using the Alternative Implicit Directions
(ADI) and FORTRAN programming language. In the ADI technique, this equation was solved in the form of consecutive iterations of tridiagonal matrices to obtain temperatures for each time
interval. In the computer program, changes of physical properties were considered in terms of temperature changes in any
iteration. Equations (18) and (19) are the discretization form of
conduction equation in ADI method. Three computational grids
were studied (i.e., 15 15, 30 30, and 60 60). The errors related to energy balance of last two grids were below 3%.
Table 2 Characteristics of the three-coil charge
Coil number
(position)

Steel strip
thickness (mm)

Steel strip
width (mm)

External
diameter (mm)

1 (B-bottom)
2 (C-middle)
3 (T-top)

2.5
2.5
2.5

1250
1250
1250

1682
1691
1670

vol. 29 no. 10 2008

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

897

Table 3 Characteristics of the four-coil charge


Coil number
(position)
1 (B-bottom)
2 (C1-middle)
3 (C2-middle)
4 (T-top)

Steel strip
thickness (mm)

Steel strip
width (mm)

External
diameter (mm)

0.7
0.7
0.7
0.7

1000
1000
1000
1000

1661
1657
1627
1542

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Therefore the 30 30 grid was chosen.




Ti+1, j 2Ti,j + Ti1,


Ti,j Ti,nj
j
cn
= krn
t/2
(r )2

1 Ti+1, j Ti1, j
+
r
2r

Ti,n+1
j Ti, j

t/2

= kr

1 Ti+1, j Ti1, j
+
r
2r


+


k zn

Ti,nj+1 2Ti,nj + Ti,nj1


(18)

(z)2

Figure 7 Temperature-time curves for mid-point of middle coil (C) in a threecoil charge: experimental and numerical results.

Ti+1,
j 2Ti, j + Ti1, j

(r )2


+

k z

n+1
n+1
Ti,n+1
j+1 2Ti, j + Ti, j

(z)2

(19)

Temperature-dependent axial and radial conductivity variations


in these two equations have been considered only along time,
ignoring their spatial derivative. In a heating cycle, coil temperature rises from that of the ambient air to 550650 C, while
the temperature difference of two adjacent points in 30 30
computational grid will not exceed 5 C. To ensure the accuracy
of the model, a program was written using Eqs. (20) and (21)
that are based on complete derivation of Eq. (1). Below are the
observations:
1. The error related to energy balance (the difference between
the input energy and the energy stored in each coil) reduced
from 3% to 0.5%.

Figure 6 Temperature-time curves for near up surface point of middle coil


(C) in a three-coil charge: experimental and numerical results.

heat transfer engineering

Figure 8 Temperature-time curves for mid-point of third coil from bottom


(C2) in a four-coil charge: experimental and numerical results.

Figure 9 Temperature-time curves for near outside layer point of third coil
from bottom (C2) in a four-coil charge: experimental and numerical results.

vol. 29 no. 10 2008

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

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898

Figure 11 Radial conductivity variation of coil versus strip thickness.


+

krn(i+1, j) krn(i1, j)



+

kr(i, j)

+

t/2

Figure 10 Temperature distributions


of (a) middle coil of a three-coil
charge (C), and (b) third coil from bottom in a four-coil charge (C2), 15 hours
after the heating process.

2. The differences between similar points across the coil in the


two simpler and newer models were below 1 C. Therefore,
Eqs. (18) and (19) were used for simplicity.


n1/2
Ti,j Ti,nj
cn ci, j
n
n i, j
ci, j
+ Ti, j
t/2
t/2

=

krn(i, j)

Ti+1,
j 2Ti, j + Ti1, j

(r )2

1 Ti+1, j Ti1, j
+
r
2r

heat transfer engineering

Ti,nj+1 Ti,nj1


(20)

2z
+

ci, j
Ti,j

ci,n j

(r )2

kr(i+1, j) kr(i1, j)

t/2

Ti+1,
j 2Ti, j + Ti1, j





2r

(z)2

Ti,n+1
j Ti, j

+ k z(i,
j)

( C)

Ti,nj+1 2Ti,nj + Ti,nj1

2z
ci, j

2r

n
n
k z(i,
j+1) k z(i, j1)

Ti+1,
j Ti1, j

2r

n
+ k z(i,
j)



1 Ti+1, j Ti1, j
+
r
2r

Ti+1,
j Ti1, j

2r

n+1
n+1
Ti,n+1
j+1 2Ti, j + Ti, j

(z)2

kr(i, j+1) kr(i, j1)

2z

n+1
Ti,n+1
j+1 Ti, j1

2z


(21)

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Upon developing the model, two sets of three- and four-coil
charges were tested in order to validate the accuracy and performance of the model. A total number of 22 thermocouples with
accuracy of 1 C were embedded on points within these coil
charges. The characteristics of the two charges are presented in
Tables 2 and 3.
Figures 6 and 7 show the temperatures of two points in
the coil C of the three-coil charge (middle coil of charge) as
compared with predicted values by the model. Figures 8 and 9
vol. 29 no. 10 2008

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A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

Figure 12 Time-temperature curves of (a) middle coil in a three-coil charge


(C), and (b) third coil from bottom in a four-coil charge (C2), for three
thicknesses of strip.

compare measured temperature values of two points in coil C2


of the four-coil charge (third coil of charge from bottom) with
simulated ones. As seen in these figures, the accuracy of the
model, particularly at the end of the heating time, is satisfactory (less than 10 C) and can, therefore, be used to predict the
end time of the heating process and determine the cold point
temperature.
The model has the capability of computing the temperatures
of all points within the coil (900 points on calculation grid)
and comparing them to recognize cold spot temperature and
position. Figures 10a and 10b show temperature distributions
Table 4 Temperature difference and elapsed time for two values of cold spot
temperature: coil number 2, three-coil charge
Tcold spot = 400 ( C)
Strip
thickness (mm)
0.5
1.5
2.5

Figure 13 Temperature difference of (a) middle coil in a three-coil charge


(C), and (b) third coil from bottom in a four-coil charge (C2) for three
thicknesses of strip.

15 hours after heating starts in the C and the C2 coils of the


three- and four-coil charges, respectively.
This model can also be employed to predict the effect of strip
thickness of coils in the annealing process. Thinner strips result
in less radial thermal conductivity of coil. Figure 11 illustrates
a linear relationship between these two quantities. By changing
strip thickness of three-coil and four-coil charges, as mentioned
above, without any other changes, the effect of this parameter on time-temperature curves has been studied. As shown in
Figure 12, decreased strip thickness leads to slower heating rate
and prolonged annealing time.
Table 5 Temperature difference and elapsed time for two values of cold spot
temperature: coil number 3, four-coil charge

Tcold spot = 600 ( C)

Temperature
difference ( C)

Time (hr)

Time (hr)

Temperature
difference ( C)

18.0
14.0
12.5

208
194
183

34.5
25.0
23.0

62
63
56

heat transfer engineering

899

Tcold spot = 400 ( C)


Strip
thickness (mm)
0.7
1.5
2.8

Tcold spot = 600 ( C)

Temperature
difference ( C)

Time (hr)

Time (hr)

Temperature
difference ( C)

13.0
11.3
10.3

160
135
115

25.5
21.5
19.2

42
36
38

vol. 29 no. 10 2008

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900

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

Wide temperature difference of cold spot and hot spot (point


of coil near the outside and up surfaces at distances 5 cm apart)
of coil in the heating cycle leads to the deviation of mechanical
properties in the final product. Figure 13 shows the tense effect of strip thickness on temperature difference of two sample
coils in both charges during heating. In Tables 4 and 5, temperature differences and elapsed time for two values of cold spot
temperature in three-coil and four-coil charges are presented,
respectively.

v
y
z

CONCLUSIONS

The heating of cold rolled steel strip in annealing furnace was


modeled. Using the basic convection and radiation heat transfer
equations, and near surface point temperature measurements of
several charges during heating, the boundary conditions of the
model were obtained. A comparison of the models predicting
power and final test values was used as evidence, indicating
the capability of the model to be used in annealing plant for
furnace operation scheduling. The effect of strip on heating
time was studied by the model. Thin strip coils required more
time for heating cycle completion and faced larger temperature
differences.

Subscripts

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors graciously acknowledge MSC for funding this
project, Simulation of cold rolled coil HNX annealing process,
and would like to express their gratitude to the manager of the
cold rolling mill and the R&D department of Mobarakeh Steel
Complex, Isfahan, Iran, for their support.

velocity, m/s
volume fraction
axial coordinate from end of coil

Greek Symbols
emissivity
viscosity, kg/m.sec
density, kg/m3
Stefan-Boltzmann constant, 5.67
108 W/m2 K4
time, hr, sec

0
a
cnd
cnt
cnv
H
i
j
L
N
r
rad
Ri
Ro
s
surf
z

bottom end of coil


atmosphere (inert gas)
conduction
contact
convection
hydrogen
index of grid in r-direction
index of grid in z-direction
top end of coil
nitrogen
radial
radiation
inner radius of coil
outer radius of coil
steel
surface
axial

Superscript
NOMENCLATURE
n,*
A
c
C
c
Dh
h
k
L
Nu
Pr
r
R 
Re
Ri
Ro
T
t

ratio of actual contact area to apparent


contact area
specific heat, J/kg C
ratio of gas passage area to the total area
of convector
constant in basic equation of convective
heat transfer
hydraulic diameter, m
heat transfer coefficient, W/m2 C
thermal conductivity, W/m C
strip width of coil, m
Nusselt number
Prandtl number
radius of coil at different locations, m
thermal resistance, C/W
Reynolds number
inside surface of coil
outside surface of coil
temperature, C, K
thickness, m
heat transfer engineering

time interval

REFERENCES
[1] Meyer, U., and Woelk, G., Theoretical Fundamentals for the Development of a Mathematical Model of the Tight-Coil Bell-Type
Furnace, Steel Research, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 207212, 1974.
[2] Harvey, G. F., Mathematical Simulation of Tight Coil Annealing,
The Journal of the Australasian Institute of Metals, vol. 22, no. 1,
pp. 2837, 1977.
[3] Rovito, A. J., Aiello, W. M., and Voss, G. F., Computer-Based
Models for Predicting End of Anneal Time at LTV, Iron and Steel
Engineer, vol. 66, no. 7, pp. 3540, 1989.
[4] Rovito, A. J., Aiello, W. M., and Voss, G. F., Batch Anneal Coil
Cold Spot Temperature Prediction Using On-line Modeling at LTV,
Iron and Steel Engineer, vol. 68, no. 9, pp. 3137, 1991.
[5] Baik, S. C., Kwon, O., Park, S., Hong, B., and Oh, K. H., Analysis of
Heat Transfer in Hot-Rolled Coil for Optimum Condition of Forced
Cooling, Metals and Materials, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 369375, 1999.
[6] Greenwood, J. A., and Williamson, J. B. P., Contact of Nominally
Flat Surfaces, Proc. Royal Society of London, Series A, vol. 295,
no. 1442, pp. 300319, 1966.

vol. 29 no. 10 2008

A. SABOONCHI AND S. HASSANPOUR

Saeid Hassanpour is a research engineer in


Rayan Tahlil Sepahan Co. at Isfahan Science and
Technology Town, Isfahan, Iran. He received his
MS in mechanical engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in 2003. Currently, he is
working on material processing simulation.

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Ahmad Saboonchi is an associate professor in


the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Isfahan University of Technology (IUT), Isfahan,
Iran. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Oklahoma, Norman,
Oklahoma, USA, in 1986 and joined IUT in the
same year. His research interests are radiative heat
transfer and heat transfer in material processing.

heat transfer engineering

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vol. 29 no. 10 2008