CFD modelling of global mixing parameters in a Peirce-Smith converter with comparison to physical modelling
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The flow pattern and mixing in an industrial Peirce-Smith converter (PSC) has been experimentally and numerically studied using cold model simulations. The effects of air volumetric flow rate and presence of overlaying slag phase on matte on the flow structure and mixing were investigated. The 2-D and 3-D simulations of the three phase system were carried out using volume of fluid (VOF) and realizable k - ɛ turbulence model to account for the multiphase and turbulence nature of the flow respectively. These models were implemented using commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) numerical code FLUENT. The cold model for physical simulations was a 1:5 horizontal cylindrical container made of Perspex with seven tuyeres on one side of the cylinder typifying a Peirce-Smith converter. Compressed air was blown into the cylinder through the tuyeres, simulating air or oxygen enriched air injection into the PSC. The matte and slag phases were simulated with water and kerosene respectively in this study. The influence of varying blowing conditions and simulated slag quantities on the bulk mixing was studied with five different air volumetric flow rates and five levels of simulated slag thickness. Mixing time results were evaluated in terms of total specific mixing power and two mixing time correlations were proposed for estimating mixing times in the model of PSC for low slag and high slag volumes. Both numerical and experimental simulations were in good agreement to predict the variation characteristics of the system in relation to global flow field variables set up in the converter through mathematical calculation of relevant integrated quantities of turbulence, Volume Fraction (VF) and velocity magnitudes. The findings revealed that both air volumetric flow rate and presence of the overlaying slag layer have profound effects on the mixing efficiency of the converter.
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