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Fully Funded M2A EngD Scholarship: Steel Surface Emissivity Evolution During Slab Reheating

Project Description

Start date: October 2019

Supervisor: Dr C Pleydell-Pearce and Mr C Llovo-Vidal

Sponsoring company: Tata Steel

The reheating furnace is a key component of the hot mill in a steel manufacturing plant. Its function is to heat slabs up to their rolling temperature and to minimize thermal gradients through slab thickness. At Tata Steel Europe sites, the reheating furnaces are controlled using output of a computational model, developed in-house to predict slab temperature in real time. Maximizing the accuracy of predictions brings a direct and positive impact through reduced energy consumption for processing and enhanced quality of the product.
Complications can arise through unscheduled mill delays, when the production line stops for an undetermined time, and the slab remains in the furnace at high temperature, promoting abnormal and excessive scale growth and changes to chemical composition and properties of the slab surface. To understand and incorporate knowledge gained into the current model, will improve model predictions and hence temperature control during delay events and relieve subsequent problems in downstream operations.

The computational model is based on first-principles, so the physical heat transfer phenomena are modelled and accounted for. This gives potential to account for transient situations. The model can always be reviewed and improved, and accuracy can be improved by concentrating on the quality of input data.

Thermal conductivity, specific heat and thermophysical properties govern heat conduction towards the core of the slab, and emissivity governs the absorption of heat on the surface of the slab.

Emissivity is known to be affected by many variables, including chemical composition, temperature, surface condition and wavelength. Extensive research has been done on developing scale growth models, but little is known about steel surface evolution with time under heating conditions.

The Research Engineer will:
• Investigate surface appearance and composition evolution of selected steels under equivalent reheating conditions;
• Explore the effect of feedstock initial surface condition on oxidation and surface evolution during reheating;
• Design and develop a rig capable of measuring emissivity of steels along a temperature range equivalent to that of the reheating furnace, and that allows exploration of possible spectral dependence;
• Measure experimentally the emissivity of each generated surface, thus providing a time-emissivity curve relevant to the reheating operation.

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level, to join the M2A community of research engineers.

Please visit our website for more information on eligibility.

Funding Notes

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a. for a period of four years.

Related Subjects

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