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Porous Plugs

JAYANTA MANDAL, SUJOY PATIL, M. MADAN, and DIPAK MAZUMDAR

Bulk mixing times up to a degree of 95 pct were measured in three different, cylindrical-shaped water

model ladles (D 0.60 m, 0.45 m, and 0.30 m, respectively) in which, water was agitated by air intro-

duced through two tuyeres/nozzles placed diametrically opposite at the base of the vessels at 1/2 R

positions. To this end, the electrical conductivity measurement technique was applied. A range of gas

flow rates and liquid depths were investigated (viz. 0.7 L/D 1.2 and 0.002 m (watt/kg) 0.01)

and these were so chosen to conform to the practical ladle refining conditions. In the beginning, extensive

experimental trials were carried out to assess the reliability of the measurement technique. In addition,

some experiments were carried out to determine the location of the probe in the vessel such that measured

mixing times could be interpreted as the bulk mixing times.

It was observed that for smaller gas flow rates (or specific energy input rates), 95 pct bulk mixing

times tend to decrease appreciably with increasing gas flow rates (e.g., mix Q0.58). However, for

relatively higher flow rates, the dependence was found to be less pronounced, mixing times decreasing

nearly in proportion to a third power of gas flow rates. Similarly, it was found that there exists a critical

gas flow rate for any given vessel beyond which mixing times in dual plug stirred configuration are

somewhat shorter than those in equivalent axi-symmetrical systems. A dimensional analysis followed

by multiple regression of the experimental data (for m 0.07 W/kg) indicated that mixing times in

ladles fitted with dual plugs located diametrically opposite at R/2 locations could be reasonably

described via mix, 95 pct 15Q0.38L0.56R2.0 in which L is the depth of liquid (m), R is the vessel radius

(m), and Q is the ambient flow rate (referenced to mean height and temperature of the liquid). Finally,

the adequacy and appropriateness of the correlation was demonstrated with reference to the experimental

data derived from a 0.20 scale, tapered cylindrical-shaped water model of a 140 T industrial ladle as

well as scaling equations and modeling criteria reported in the literature.

and to avoid explosive degassing effects under vacuum. Given

THE efficiency of many chemical processing operations such, the relevance of the present study to industrial steel-

carried out in the present day steelmaking ladles is intricately making practice is readily apparent.

related to mixing phenomena. Mixing enhances chemical Joo and Guthrie[2] were among the first to investigate mixing

reactions by bringing in reactants together and removing phenomena in a ladle fitted with twin porous plugs both exper-

products from reaction sites. In addition, it also influences imentally and computationally. Their study indicated that shorter

the extent of thermal and particulate inhomogeneities within mixing times (relative to conventional axisymmetrical/

the ladle. It is therefore desirable to ascertain the extent of asymmetrical gas bubbling) can be achieved by injecting gases

mixing in order to evaluate the process performance of argon- through two porous plugs, located diametrically opposite at

or nitrogen-stirred ladles. midbath radius position (i.e., at 1/2R). Reconstructed from

Mixing phenomena, by and large, have been investigated Reference 2, this is shown in Figure 1, in which mixing times

in aqueous models of gas-stirred ladle systems in which a for an axisymmetrically placed single porous plug/nozzle is

centrally or an asymmetrically placed single porous plug/nozzle shown vis á vis the same for twin plug bubbling as a function

is used to stir the contents of the ladle. A great deal of infor- of net gas flow rates. There, it is at once evident that the twin

mation on these is already available in the literature and sum- plug configuration ensures relatively faster mixing only at mod-

marized by Mazumdar and Guthrie[1] in a review. While fluid erately higher gas flow rates. The figure also appears to suggest

model studies on gas-stirred systems using a single, axisym- that such advantages associated with twin plug bubbling are

metric/asymmetric plug/nozzle have been relatively common, likely to fade away at lower operating gas flow rates. This

not much information on ladles fitted with dual plugs/nozzles aspect, however, was not given sufficient attention by Joo and

is available in the literature. It is to be noted that occasionally Guthrie in their work and has not since been confirmed through

it might be necessary to bubble an industrial ladle with two any subsequent investigation.

or more porous plugs, in order to achieve gentle but rapid In a later work, Zhu et al.[3] carried out similar investi-

gations on ladles fitted with one or more porous plugs. Their

observations reproduced from Reference 3 and shown in

JAYANTA MANDAL, Engineer, is with Ispat Industries, Dolvi, Figure 2 clearly indicate that mixing times, regardless of the

Maharastra, 402107, India. SUJOY PATIL, Graduate Student, M. MADAN, magnitude of gas flows, are smaller in the dual-plug-stirred

Senior Project Associate, and DIPAK MAZUMDAR, Professor, are with

the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Indian Insti-

system than those in the equivalent axisymmetrical system.

tute of Technology, Kanpur, 208016, India. Contact e-mail: dipak@iitk.ac.in Such observations are grossly similar to those reported by

Manuscript submitted September 18, 2003. Joo and Guthrie, while some dissimilarity between the two

above that a physically plausible, effective correlation for

estimating mixing times does not yet exist for such systems.

As such, the influence of the operating variables such as gas

flow rates (Q), depth of liquid (L), and radius of the vessel

(R) are likely to exert on mixing is not known with any

certainty for such a system. Consequently, the primary objec-

tive of the present work has been to experimentally inves-

tigate mixing phenomena in ladles fitted with dual porous

plugs/nozzles over a wide range of operating conditions and,

thereby, to develop an effective correlation for estimating

mixing times in such systems. Toward these, experimental

observations and a discussion on 95 pct mixing times derived

from three different size water model ladles, in which water

is agitated by air introduced through a pair of nozzles located

diametrically opposite at midbath radius position, are pre-

sented in the following Sections III(B) and III(C).

Fig. 1—Experimentally measured 95 pct mixing times in a water model ladle

as a function of gas flow rates for two different nozzle/plug configurations

(reconstructed from Ref 2). II. EXPERIMENTAL WORK

As pointed out already, mixing times were measured in

three different cylindrical vessels (i.d. 0.60 m, 0.48 m, and

0.30 m), in which water was agitated by injecting air or N2

through a pair of nozzles located at the bottom of the vessel

at the midbath radius position. No attempt has been made to

investigate mixing phenomena as a function of nozzle locations

since it is rather well known[2] that porous plugs/nozzles placed

diametrically opposite at midbath radius position ensure the

best mixing conditions. Prior to monitoring mixing, air/N2

was bubbled into the water bath at the desired flow rate for

a few minutes to ensure the stability of the flow in the vessel

as well as to remove any inhomogeneities present in the bath.

The gas flow rates investigated were so chosen to ensure a

gentle stirring condition as is typically encountered in actual

ladle metallurgy steelmaking operations[1] (viz. 0.001 to

0.015 Nm3/t min). It is to be noted here that while lower end

flow rates are typically used in industry for bath homoge-

nization (i.e., of thermal or material), relatively large gas flow

Fig. 2—Experimentally measured 95 pct mixing times in a water model ladle rates are used to achieve enhanced slag-metal reactions. The

(D 0.40 m) as a function of gas flow rates for two different nozzle/plug

configurations.[3] objective of this study was to primarily investigate bath homog-

enization, it was deliberately decided to use smaller flow rates,

embodying a fraction of the entire range of gas flow rates

sets of experimental results,[2,3] particularly at relatively small mentioned previously.

operating flow rates, is evident. Zhu and co-workers also A conductivity probe supplied with a digital conductivity

proposed an empirical correlation for estimating 95 pct mix- meter (Eutech make, Cyberscan 200, Eutech Instruments Pte

ing times in ladles operated with multiple porous plugs/noz- Ltd., Singapore) was employed to record changes in the local

zles (up to a maximum of three plugs) according to ion concentration of a pulse tracer (NaCl or H2SO4) added

directly to a point on the liquid-free surface, lying midway

tmix 8.52m0.33 N 0.33 [1] between the “eyes” of the two surfacing plumes (e.g., the axis

of symmetry). The change in local ion concentration around

Equation [1] suggests that at an equivalent specific poten- the probe tip was measured through the changes in the water’s

tial energy input rate, m, any increase in the number of electrical conductivity and recorded manually via the digital

porous plugs/nozzles is likely to lead to a corresponding conductivity meter. Thus, data on conductivity were collected

increase in mixing times. This is in direct opposition to the typically every 2/3 seconds and simultaneously stored in a

experimental results presented in Figures 1 and 2. It is instruc- computer using the Cyber Comm Portable software, Eutech

tive to note here that Eq. [1] was developed by Zhu and co- Instruments Pte Ltd., Singapore. On addition of tracer, con-

workers in light of empirical correlations proposed several siderable oscillations in the conductivity value were observed,

years back by Nakanishi et al.[4] for their bottom blowing which essentially resulted from the periodic fluctuations of the

steelmaking converter, fitted with multiple tuyeres/nozzles. amount of tracer passing through the probe tip. For each exper-

The brief review presented above evidently suggests that iment, the recording of tracer response was carried out until

more systematic study of mixing phenomena in dual-plug- the concentration of the tracer in the bath was considered to

stirred ladle is required. Similarly, it is apparent from the have reached a homogeneously mixed value. Experimental

Fig. 4—Adequacy of the present experimental technique illustrating the

Fig. 3—A typical tracer response curve and the procedure adopted to esti-

correspondence between measured mixing times (for an axisymmetric gas

mate 95 pct mixing times.

injection configuration) and those estimated on the basis of an equivalent

correlation reported by Mazumdar and Guthrie.[5]

data were subsequently analyzed through MICROSOFT

EXCEL* software and a plot between conductivity vs time was Table I. Ninety-Five Percent Mixing Times as Registered

by a Conductivity Probe Placed at Different Locations in the

*MICROSOFT EXCEL is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation, Bath (D 0.60 m, L/D 1.0, and Q 2.83

104 m3/s)

Redmond, WA.

Height of the

generated. This is shown in Figure 3 from which corresponding Probe Tip from the Average

mixing times were estimated. These are defined in the present Bottom of the Probe Mixing

context as the time required for the monitoring point concen- Vessel (m) Location Times (s)

tration to fall continuously within a 5 pct deviation of the well 0.04 A 30

mixed/homogeneous value. By keeping the probe tip immersed B 27

in the slowly moving/mixing region of the vessel (discussed C 23

in Section III), measured mixing times were interpreted as 0.46 A 23

the bulk mixing times. The present approach therefore ensured B 22

that by the time the monitoring point reached a degree of 95 pct C 30

homogeneity, the bulk of the liquid was practically well mixed. Nozzles/plugs are located in 0.53 A 19

this central vertical plane B 15

A set of at least five measurements was made for each exper- C 20

imental condition and thereby an average mixing time was

determined. The variation in successive measurements was

found to be sensitive to gas flow rates as well as vessel size. evidently indicates the reliability of the present approach.

Maximum variation between successive measurements for the It is important to mention here that the tracer addition as

largest vessel (D 0.60 m) was found to be around 15 pct. well as the monitoring point locations in these experiments

(e.g., Figure 4) were essentially identical to those for which

the correlation[5] was originally developed.

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A. Adequacy of the Experimental Technique B. Determination of the Monitoring Point Location

Since the digital conductivity meter–probe assembly was for Registering Bulk Mixing Times

applied to measure mixing times in the gas-stirred water The bulk mixing times (mixing times registered from a

model ladles for the first time and mixing was monitored probe located in the slowest moving region in the bath) rather

through manual recording of conductivity data (as opposed than local mixing times are a parameter of practical impor-

to continuous measurements, typically used in such studies), tance. However, none of the two previous studies[2,3] specif-

it was decided to assess the reliability of the present technique ically shed any light on the slowly moving/mixing region

prior to any detailed measurement of mixing times. To this in the dual-plug-stirred ladle system. Consequently, flow

end, experiments were carried out in one of the vessels visualization studies (through addition of KMnO4 solution

(D 0.60 m) for a central/axisymmetric gas injection con- to the bath) were carried out to identify the regions that are

figuration and 95 pct bulk mixing times were measured as relatively slowly moving/mixing in the system. Visual obser-

a function of gas flow rates (varying between 1.95 and 3.0

vations indicated that the recirculating fluid moves rather

104 m3/s) and vessel aspect ratio (in the range 0.8 to 1.2). slowly in the vicinity of the ladle bottom, and there, three

In Figure 4, measured 95 pct bulk mixing times for var- distinct pockets of slowly moving regions (e.g., marked by

ious operating conditions are compared directly with equiv- “A”, “B”, and “C” in Table I) appear to exist.

alent estimates derived from a well-established empirical To confirm this and hence to identify the slowest mixing

correlation[5] (viz. mix,95 pct 25.4 Q0.33 L1.0 R2.33). There, region in the vessel, mixing times were measured in the largest

reasonable agreement between measurements and predictions vessel (D 0.60 m and Q 2.83

104 m3/s), keeping

the probe immersed at nine different locations in the bath. system. Thus, Mazumdar and Guthrie[5] pointed out that in

In all these experiments, the tracer was added through the axisymmetrical gas-stirred systems at low operating gas flow

free surface immediately above the line of symmetry. It should rates, a relatively weak, secondary recirculation typically

be mentioned here that this tracer addition location remained exists at the bottom of the vessel adjacent to the vertical side

invariant throughout the present investigation. In Table I a wall. This disappears beyond a critical gas flow rate leading

summary of these measurements is presented. There, it is to the characteristic flow patterns of an axisymmetrical gas-

evident that mixing is more rapid in regions close to the stirred ladle system (e.g., large recirculating vortices on either

free surface, whereas toward the base of the vessel, mixing side of the line of symmetry).[5] Tracer dispersion tests carried

is relatively sluggish. Furthermore, Table I indicates that out in the larger model ladle indicated that similar phenomena

the registered mixing time is the longest provided the probe’s are at work in the dual-plug-stirred system as well. Conse-

tip is collinear with the plugs and placed near the junction quently, the shift in mixing time vs gas flow rate relationship

of the vertical side wall and base of the vessel. The exact beyond a flow rate of 12 L/min as depicted by Figure 5

dimensionless probe location in the study was r/R 0.89 appears to be the result of a changing hydrodynamic condition

and z/L 0.93. In all experiments, the conductivity probe within the system. Since the exponent on Q beyond 12 L/min

was therefore placed at location A, as shown in Table I. or 2

104 m3/s is practically equivalent to 1/3,[1,6] it is

therefore reasonable to consider the flow phenomena beyond

C. Variation of Mixing Times with Gas Flow Rates this critical flow rate to be essentially dominated by the inertial

and gravitational forces, as discussed in Section III(D).

A series of experiments were carried out in which 95 pct

bulk mixing times were measured in the largest vessel as a func-

tion of gas flow rates. Since mixing time vs gas flow rate rela- D. Development of a Correlation for Mixing Times

tionships are known to be specific[5] to the operating flow in Ladles Stirred with Dual Plugs/nozzles

regimes, a rather wide range of gas flow rates was applied. In Because the mixing time vs gas flow rates relationship in

Figure 5, a log-log plot between 95 pct bulk mixing times and the dual-plug-stirred system is shown to be specific to the oper-

gas flow rates is presented. There, in the spirit of numerous pre- ating flow regimes, it is unlikely that a single empirical cor-

vious studies, two distinct line segments have been fitted through relation could effectively describe mixing times in such systems

the experimental data points. These indicate that initially mix- across the entire range of gas flow rates. Because industrial

ing time decreases rather sharply (e.g., mix Q0.58) with ladles are massive and kinematic viscosity of steel is small,

increasing net gas flows, up to about 2

104 m3/s (or inertial and gravitational forces in gas-stirred-ladle systems are

12 L/min). Thereafter, the decrease in mixing times with gas likely to be relatively more important (in comparison to vis-

flow appears to be somewhat less pronounced (viz. mix Q0.35). cous forces). Consequently, from the viewpoint of practical

A similar behavior between gas flow rates and mixing relevance, it is desirable that a correlation of relevance to the

times was also reported by many investigators for axisym- inertial-force-dominated flow regime be developed (m 0.007

metrical gas-stirred-ladle systems.[1] In such context, it has W/kg, as in Figure 5). Toward this, as our first step, a num-

been suggested[6] that a shift in such a relationship essen- ber of experiments were carried out in the remaining two

tially results from a change in the flow pattern within the vessels as a function of gas flow rates to identify the corre-

sponding critical gas flow rates, Qc. As mentioned already, a

set of at least five measurements were made for each experi-

mental condition from which an average mixing time was

determined and considered for subsequent analysis.

In the inertial- and gravitational-force-dominated flow

regime (viz. Froude dominated flows), the thermophysical

properties of the liquid (i.e., in the absence of any upper

buoyant phase) do not influence flow phenomena to any

appreciable extent. Consequently, a functional relationship

between mixing times mix and the key operating parameters,

namely, the gas flow rate, Q, the liquid depth, L, and the

radius of the vessel, R, can be expressed as[7]

be conveniently recast in the following form:

tmix2g L a Q2 b

C0 a b a 5 b [3]

R R gR

in which C0, a, and b are the three constants to be determined

through consideration of experimentally measured mixing

times and the corresponding operating parameters L, R, and

Q, respectively. Thus, on the basis of the experimentally

Fig. 5—Ninety-five percent bulk mixing times in a water model ladle (D measured 95 pct bulk mixing time and the corresponding

0.60) fitted with twin porous plugs at different gas flow rates. operating parameters, the three dimensionless groups in

(a)

Fig. 6—A comparison between experimental 95 pct bulk mixing times in

three different water model ladles with those deduced on the basis of Eq. [5]

illustrating the adequacy of the proposed correlation.

carried out embodying the Polymath software.[8] On the basis

of the values of C0, a, and b thus derived, Eq. [3] can be

represented in the following explicit form:

tmix,95 pct2 g L 1.12 Q2 0.38

936 a b a 5b [4]

R R gR

or, alternatively, in terms of the key operating variables, L,

R, and Q as

tmix,95 pct 15Q0.38L0.5R2.0 [5]

The value of the multiple regression correlation coefficient

for Eq. [4] was about 0.70 and the corresponding variance (b)

was 0.009. The adequacy of Eq. [5] with respect to the exper-

imental data derived from the three different water model Fig. 7—Experimentally measured mixing times in the dual-plug-stirred

ladles is illustrated in Figure 6. Included in the same figure ladle (D 0.60 m) as a function of (a) gas flow rates and (b) liquid depths.

are also the upper/lower bound of uncertainty of the corre-

lation (or the fitted line) vis á vis the experimental data Or, alternatively,

points. These indicate that Eqs. [4] and [5] simulate mixing

times within 21 pct and 32 pct. tmix,95 pct C0Q0.35L0.56R1.93 [7]

To investigate the extent of data scatter in Figure 6, a 0.35

detailed analysis was carried out and the derivation of the To determine the pre-exponent C0, the parameter, Q

correlation examined from a different standpoint embody- L0.56 R1.93, appearing on the right-hand side of Eq. [7] has

ing experimental data derived from only one single vessel been plotted in Figure 8 as a function of 95 pct mixing time,

(i.e., D 0.60 m). Thus, a large number of experiments mix, and a straight line passing through the origin fitted

(over and above those considered in Figure, 6) were car- through the experimental data points. Evidently, C0 mix, 95 pct,

ried out in the larger vessel for various gas flow rates and when Q0.34 L0.56 R1.93 1.0. The C0 was thereby found

liquid depths, and the results thus obtained are shown in to be 12.5 (m0.34 s0.66). The explicit form of Eq. [7] accord-

Figures 7(a) and (b). These appear to suggest that mixing ingly becomes.

times in ladles fitted with dual plug/nozzle follow the rela- tmix,95 pct 12.5 Q0.34 L0.56 R1.93 [8]

tionships mix,95 pct Q0.35 and mix,95 pct L0.56, respec-

tively. On the basis of such, one may represent Eq. [3] as It is at once apparent that Eq. [8] has a form practically iden-

tical to that of Eq. [5] and simulates experimental observa-

tmix 2 g L 1.12 Q2 0.35

C0 a b a 5b [6] tions within 7 pct. In addition to these, a limited number

R R gR of experiments were also carried out in the three vessels

through regression, a correlation coefficient close to unity

is unlikely to result (viz. Figure 6).

(2) On the other hand, experimental data derived from a single

vessel and subjected to regression is likely to lead to a

significantly higher correlation coefficient (viz. Figure 8).

(3) In essence, however, the predictive capabilities of the

correlation derived from either a single or a set of vessels

are not likely to be markedly different, as mixing models

derived from these two approaches are shown to have

similar functional forms. Indeed, sample calculations

suggest that if estimates of mixing times are to be derived

via Eqs. [5] and [8] over a range of experimental con-

ditions (e.g., vessel aspect ratio and specific gas flow

rates similar to those considered in this work) embodying

a 220-kg water model through to a 220 T industrial

size ladle, these would tend to differ by a maximum of

about 38 pct or so.

Fig. 8—The variation of 95 pct bulk mixing times with the parameter Q0.34

With reference to the experimental data and regression

L0.56 R1.93 for dual-plug gas bubbling (D 0.60 m). results presented so far, it should be noted that flow phe-

nomena in the gas-stirred ladle systems are inherently tran-

sient.[9,10] Thus, long-term and short-term wandering of the

bubble plume, continuous fluctuation of spout, etc. tend to

make the associated flow field transient and, accordingly,

to influence any measurements. The situation is aggravated

further when two gas bubblers, instead of one, are applied.

Of equal importance is the trajectory of the added tracer

(these influence mixing), which was found to be vastly dis-

similar in different size vessels. For example, in the bigger

vessel, the tracer (saturated solution of NaCl) added imme-

diately over the cenline penetrated to about one-quarter of

the bath depth to be entrained by the rising plumes. In con-

trast, in the smallest ladle (D 0.30 m), the tracer was

found to penetrate right up to the bottom of the vessel from

where it dispersed within the system. Furthermore, tracer

trajectories were not reproducible enough and were influ-

enced significantly due to the wandering of the bubble

plumes. These, as one would normally anticipate, are likely

to introduce some error in measurements and uncertainty

in the final conclusions. Given such, the extent of deviation

of the fitted line from the experimental data points can be

attributed to the inherent characteristics of gas-stirred ladle

systems and the experimental procedure. It is instructive to

note here that previous attempts[11] to unify experimental

Fig. 9—Regression equation and its adequacy to experimental mixing times data from a different group of investigators and different

derived from three different water models fitted with dual porous plugs vessel sizes via a single correlation was also shown to be

located diametrically opposite at R/3 positions.

associated with pronounced data scatter, comparable to those

with tuyeres/nozzles located at the R/3 locations. The resul- shown in Figure 6. In contrast, regression of experimental

tant regression equation (correlation coefficient 0.60 and data derived from a single vessel would typically produce

variance 0.01) and its adequacy to experimental data is less scatter, having an uncertainty of the order of 20 pct

illustrated in Figure 9. There, it is readily seen that the or less.[11]

correlation for R/3 location of the plugs also has a form Although mixing time correlations similar to Eq. [5] are

analogous to those of Eqs. [5] and [8], respectively. On the available for axisymmetrical bubble-stirred ladle systems, no

basis of the evidence presented so far, it is therefore reason- such correlation has yet been reported for ladles fitted with

able to conclude that despite moderate scatter of experimental dual plug/nozzle. Therefore, some comparison can at best be

data with respect to the fitted line (viz. Figure 6), the values made between reported correlation on the axisymmetrical gas-

of the pre-exponent, C0, as well as the exponents a and b, stirred system and the present one. To this end, it is interest-

as suggested via Eq. [4], are plausible and physically realistic. ing to note some similarity between the present correlation

Given such, it is reasonable to assume that and the one (viz. mix,95 pct 25.4Q0.33 L1.0 R2.33) developed

earlier by Mazumdar and Guthrie[7] for the axisymmetrical

(1) If experimental data on mixing times from different size gas-stirred ladle system (e.g., ladles fitted with a central

vessels are applied to derive an empirical equation tuyere/nozzle). It is readily apparent that the values of the

pre-exponent (25.4 vs 15) and the exponent on gas flow rate in the dual-plug-stirred system at low operating gas flow, a

(0.33 vs 0.38) in the previous and present correlation are significant portion of the added tracer (added through the

vary similar. Furthermore, a near 1/3 exponent on Q in surface over the line of symmetry) tends to get caught

Eq. [5] appears to confirm that the operating flow regimes in between the two rising plumes. Furthermore, the transport

the dual-plug-stirred systems is dominated by the inertial of the tracer to the probe tip gets delayed, owing to a rela-

and gravitational forces. In contrast, the exponent on the depth tively small angular velocity prevalent in the system at such

of liquid, L, in Eq. [5] is seen to be substantially smaller (by flows. In contrast to this, at equivalent gas flows, the tracer

about a factor of 2 or so). Clearly, the advantage afforded by added over the eye of the plume in an axisymmetrical gas-

taller vessels during dual-plug bubbling seems to be some- stirred bath is transported to the probe tip relatively easily

what limited, in comparison to an equivalent axisymmetrical first via the strong radial surface flows and, subsequently,

system, as is exemplified by a relatively smaller exponent via the downwardly moving fluid adjacent to the vertical

on the depth of liquid, L, in Eq. [5]. This is to be expected side walls. As a consequence of such, the registered bulk

since plume-plume and plume-wall interactions become more mixing times in the axisymmetrical system particularly at

intense with increasing liquid depth (note that the average low gas flows can be expected to be relatively smaller. How-

diameter of plume increases with increasing liquid depth in ever, as the gas flow rate is increased, a strong three-dimen-

the vessel). sional flow pattern (which is characteristically absent in

axisymmetrical gas-stirred systems) sets in the dual-plug-

stirred system, facilitating ready transport of the tracer to

E. A Comparison of the Present Work with the

the probe tip from all regions within the vessel. This latter

Axisymmetrical Gas-Stirred Ladle System

phenomenon appears to be responsible for the observed

A series of experiments were also carried out under con- shorter mixing times in the dual-plug-stirred system at

ditions identical to those in Figure 5 by injecting gas into the relatively high gas flow rates.

system through a centrally fitted nozzle. In Figure 10, a com- The correlation proposed in the present study, the experi-

parison between 95 pct bulk mixing times for axisymmetrical mental data presented so far, together with many previous

and dual-plug gas bubbling is shown for a wide range of gas studies reported in the literature[1] clearly indicate that dimen-

flow rates. There, mixing times in the axi-symmetrical system sions of the ladle (viz. L and R) together with the operating

are somewhat shorter for small gas flow rates than those of gas flow rates exert considerable influence on mixing in

the dual-plug gas injection configuration. However, as the gas ladles. However, such explicit influence of the vessels’

flow is increased, such differences tend to fade away, and dimensions on mixing has not been accounted for in the

eventually mixing time in the dual-plug-stirred system becomes empirical equation of Zhu et al.[3] mentioned earlier. Simi-

shorter. It is instructive to note from Figure 10 that the gas larly, while the present correlation indicates the beneficial

flow rate beyond which dual-plug bubbling ensures superior effects of the dual plug on mixing, particularly in the inertial-

bath mixing is nearly equivalent to the critical flow rate sug- force-dominated flow regime, the correlation of Zhu et al.

gested in Figure 5 (e.g., 12 L/min). As a consequence, it is (viz. Eq. [1]) indicates quite the opposite. It is reiterated that

therefore reasonable to assume that the beneficial effects (to Eq. [1], in contrast to the results presented so far, suggests

the tune of 20 to 25 pct) of dual-plug gas bubbling on mixing that increasing the number of plugs for the same net gas

are limited to the inertial and gravitational force dominated flow rate is not beneficial for exacerbating mixing in the

flow regime alone (m 0.007 W/kg) gas-stirred ladle system.

To rationalize such observations, dye tracer (KMnO4) dis-

persion tests were carried out for the two different nozzle F. An Assessment of the Present Correlation and Its

configurations at various gas flow rates. It was observed that Applicability to Tapered, Cylindrical Vessels

In addition to the arguments and analysis presented so far

in favor of the correlation developed in this study, it is also

important to demonstrate the internal consistency and ade-

quacy (Eq. [5]) from a purely theoretical standpoint. Thus,

applying Eq. [5] between the model and full scale system,

the ratio between the corresponding 95 pct bulk mixing times

can be expressed as

Qmod 0.38 Lmod 0.5 Rmod 2.0

a b a b a b

tmix,mod

[9]

tmix, f s Q f s L f s R f s

L mod Rmod

Incorporating l together with the scaling

L f s Rf s

equation Qmod 2.5 Qf s in Eq. [9], it can be readily shown

that the ratio between 95 pct bulk mixing times in the model

ladle and the full scale system can be correlated explicitly

via the geometrical scale factor, , according to

tmix,mod

Fig. 10—Variation of mixing times with gas flow rate for two different l0.5 [10]

gas injection configurations (i.e., axisymmetrical vs dual). tmix, f # s

This latter equation, as one would note here, can be readily cessing units tend to make direct experimental observations

derived from the first principles considering geometrical and difficult, if not impossible. Naturally therefore comprehensive

dynamical similarities between the model and the full scale experimental investigations encompassing high-temperature

systems.[12] industrial data have been few and far between. Nonetheless,

Finally, mixing times in a 140 T industrial ladle fitted with limited evidence available in the literature[1,13] does appear

dual plugs were also investigated experimentally via a 0.2 to suggest that results derived from appropriately scaled down

scale water model ladle. The operating parameters of the water model studies provide useful quantitative information

model vis á vis those of the full-scale systems are summarized of the actual steelmaking operations. A detailed discussion

in Table II. There, the operating gas flow rates in the model on the subject has been recently published in a review by

ladle were estimated in accordance with the scaling rela- Mazumdar and Evans.[13] It is however sufficient to note that

tionship:[12] Qm 2.5 Qf s. Moreover, the industrial as well water modeling in conjunction with computational fluid

as the model vessels, as reflected from Table II, are slightly dynamics (CFD) is now routinely applied in industrial R&D

tapered, since tapered rather than perfectly cylindrical shapes and academia alike to investigate, optimize, and design steel-

are more typical of industrial practice. Parallel to the exper- making processes. To this end, it should be emphasized here

imental measurements, equivalent estimates were also derived that the correlation developed in this study (and in fact, prac-

in a straightforward fashion via Eq. [5] embodying a mean tically all the mixing time correlation reported in the literature)

vessel radius, Reff. Results thus obtained are shown in Table III. is truly applicable to an idealized, slag-free situation. This

There close agreement between experimental measurements seriously impairs the applicability of such correlations to

and prediction is readily evident. This further suggests that industrial ladles, since slag rather than no slag is more typ-

Eq. [5] is equally effective in tapered, cylindrical-shaped ical of industrial practice and the presence of slag is known

ladles. With reference to the experimental results presented to considerably influence mixing in ladles. It is therefore

in Table III, it is important to mention here that the minimum apparent that in order to increase the generality of the pre-

experimental mixing corresponding to Q 2.8

104 m3/s sent mixing time correlation and many others reported in the

and L 0.7 m appears to be the result of experimental error literature, the influence of the upper slag phase on mixing

or uncertainty, as mixing time has been shown to decrease must be realistically accounted for in such correlation. To

with increasing gas flow rates. date, such a correlation has not been possible. Efforts are

As a concluding point, visual opacity, relatively large size, currently ongoing in our laboratory to develop correlations

and high operating temperatures prevalent in liquid steel pro- for fluid mixing in ladle covered with an upper slag phase.

Model (0.2 Scale) Ladle Systems IV. CONCLUSIONS

0.20 Scale Full Scale An experimental investigation on mixing phenomena in

Parameters Model System a ladles fitted with dual plugs has been carried out. From

Base diameter, m 0.52 2.68 the present study, the following conclusions can be drawn.

Top diameter, m 0.58 2.99

Tapering angle, deg 2.34 2.34 1. Mixing time depends on the gas flow rate and vessel size.

Liquid depth, m 0.62 3.20 For a given vessel geometry, mixing time depends on gas

Dimensionless porous plug 0.58* 0.50 flow rate according to mix Q0.58 for low operating flow

location from the axis rates. However, beyond a critical gas flow rate (m

of the vessel 0.007 W/kg), the relationship changes to mix Q0.35.

Gas flow rates, m3/s 1.3

104 8.05

103 2. Beyond the critical gas flow rate, an invariant flow pattern

(corrected to mean height to to in the system is established. The critical flow rate

and temperature of the liquid) 4.2

104 25.14

103 corresponds to the onset of the inertial-and gravitational

*The porous plugs located at the midbath radius position of a perfectly force-dominated flow regime.

cylindrical-shaped ladle corresponded to 0.58R position for the present mar- 3. In the inertial- and gravitational force-dominated flow

ginally tapered vessel. The effect of such small distortion was ignored.

regime, 95 pct bulk mixing times in ladles fitted with

Table III. Experimentally Measured 95 Percent Bulk Mixing Times for the Tapered Model Ladle (Table II)

and Their Comparison with Those Predicted from the Present Correlation (mix 15Q0.38L0.5Reff2.0)

Rate (m3/s) Liquid Depth (m) Effective Radius (m) Mixing Time (s) Predicted Mixing Time (s)

Q L Reff mix [15Q0.38L0.5Reff2.0]

2.00

104 0.60 0.273 34.3 36.7

2.33

104 0.60 0.273 32.3 34.6

2.66

104 0.60 0.273 30.6 33

3.33

104 0.60 0.273 28.0 30

1.887

104 0.707 0.275 33.5 29.5

2.839

104 0.707 0.275 24.1 25

3.006

104 0.707 0.275 25.7 24.7

3.334

104 0.707 0.275 28.2 24

dual plug/nozzle (placed diametrically opposite at midbath m specific potential energy input rate, W/kg

radius positions) can be reasonably described in terms of mixing time, s

the three key parameters, L, R, and Q (referenced to mean

height and temperature of the liquid), via mix,95 pct Subscripts

15Q0.38L0.5R2.0 mod model

4. Mixing times in axisymmetrical gas-stirred systems at f s full scale

relatively high gas flows (m 0.007 W/kg or so) are mix mixing

somewhat longer than those in dual-plug-stirred systems.

The trend is, however, opposite for smaller operating flow REFERENCES

rates.

5. It is shown that mix, 95 pct 15Q0.38L0.5R2.0 can describe 1. D. Mazumdar and R.I.L. Guthrie: Iron Steel Inst. Jpn. Int., 1995, vol. 35,

pp. 1-20.

mixing times in tapered, cylindrical-shaped ladles with 2. S. Joo and R.I.L. Guthrie: Metall. Trans. B, 1992, vol. 21B, pp. 765-78.

equal effectiveness. 3. M. Zhu, T. Inomoto, I. Sawada, and T.C. Hsiao: Iron Steel Inst. Jpn.,

6. The proposed correlation is theoretically consistent and 1995, vol. 35, pp. 472-79.

suggests that for physical and mathematical modeling 4. K. Nakanishi, T. Saito, T. Nozaki, Y. Kato, and K. Suzuki: Proc. Steel-

making Conf., AIME, Warrendale, PA, 1982, pp. 101-08.

of dual-plug-stirred systems Qmod 2.5 Qf s can be used 5. D. Mazumdar and R.I.L. Guthrie: Metall. Trans. B, 1986, vol. 17B,

to scale up/down gas flow rates. pp. 725-33.

6. S. Asai, T. Okamoto, J. He, and I. Muchi: Trans. Iron Steel Inst.

Jpn., 1983, vol. 23, pp. 43-50.

LIST OF SYMBOLS 7. D. Mazumdar and R.I.L. Guthrie: ISS Trans., 1999, vol. 9, pp. 89-96.

8. Polymath software:http://www.polymath-software.com.

C0 dimensionless constant defined by Eq. [3] 9. M. Iguchi, K. Nakamura, and R. Tsujino: Metall. Mater. Trans. B,

1998, vol. 29B, pp. 569-75.

D vessel radius, m 10. D. Mazumdar, C. Seybert, D. Steinfardt, and J.W. Evans: Iron Steel

g acceleration due to gravity, m/s2 Inst. Jpn., 2003, vol. 43, pp. 132-34.

L depth of liquid in the vessel 11. M. Iguchi, T. Kondoh, and K. Nakajima: Metall. Mater. Trans. B,

N number of tuyere or nozzle 1997, vol. 28B, pp. 605-12.

12. D. Mazumdar, H.B. Kim, and R.I.L. Guthrie: Ironmaking and Steel-

Q net gas flow rate, m3/s (referenced to mean height making, 2000, vol. 27, pp. 302-09.

and temperature of the liquid) 13. D. Mazumdar and J.W. Evans: Iron Steel Inst. Jpn. Int., 2004, vol. 44,

geometrical scale factor (Lmod/Lf s) pp. 447-61.

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