Computational Materials Processing
The main R&D-areas are:
- Electrolysis, casting and downstream processing of aluminium and steel
- Production of solar cell grade silicon, crystallization and cell operation
- Welding simulations on offshore steel and automotive aluminium
Models for the casting and rolling of aluminium and steel
The dominating product category includes models for the casting and rolling of aluminium and steel. The models for direct chill casting of aluminium extrusion ingots and sheet ingots include complex boundary conditions, heat conduction, fluid flow, phase change, and thermal strain and stresses, as well as the constitutive modelling of elasto-viscoplastic material properties which depend on temperature, strain rate and strain. This project is supported by Hydro Aluminium and Elkem Aluminium.
Models for welding processes
There has been a longerm co-operation with Hydro Automotive on development of mathematical models for various welding processes. These models calculate the temperature dynamics and the metal microstructure for Gas-Metal Arc Welding. To make recommendations for the production of automotive parts in aluminium, models are also used to calculate deformations during the welding process.
The steel industries
Models for the steel industries cover casting, stripping, reheating, and rolling. The model of a heating oven includes the energy balance for the burners and the interaction between the hot flowing gas and the metal surface. We work together with the research plant MEFOS in Luleå, Sweden, for all the Nordic steel plants. Initially made for design studies, the model is now also being used in the control system for the ovens.
Process models for the metallurgical industry
The department is also engaged in developing process models for the metallurgical industry. In co-operation with Hydro Aluminium we have developed a system of interacting models which are used for design and retrofitting of aluminium cells. We are also engaged by Hydro Aluminium in developing models for the magneto-hydrodynamical instabilities that may occur in aluminum reduction cells. Such instabilities arise from the interactions between the liquid metal pool, the magnetic fields and the electric current. For Elkem we have developed models for the electro reduction furnace, the Søderberg electrodes and the calcination furnace.