NUMERICAL MODELING OF THE METAL MELTING UTILIZING A DC ELECTRIC ARC PLASMA FOR ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE
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The electric arc furnace (EAF) is one of the most widely-used steelmaking process recycling the scrap as the raw material. Electric arc furnace steelmaking is a material-dependent and energy-consuming process. The electricity is utilized as the main heat source to melt the scrap by the electric arc discharging from the graphite electrodes. Since the plasma arc weld has the very similar heat transfer mechanism and melting phenomenon comparing with the scrap melting in EAF process, the model development for the free-burning arc, the arc-metal heat transfer, and the metal melting will refer to the research of plasma arc weld field and start with a relatively small scale. In this study, a comprehensive computational dynamics (CFD) model was developed to predict the heat transfer from the electric arc to the metal anode, which is composed of the DC electric arc model, solidification and melting model, and the arc-metal heat transfer model. The validation of the CFD models has been conducted utilizing the experimental data and simulation results in other literature. The commercial software, ANSYS FLUENT®, was employed with the User-Defined Function scripts and the User-Defined Scalar to model the magnetic field, comprehensive flow field, and high temperature field. Furthermore, the parametric studies for the process of the anode melted by the plasma arc were performed to investigate the effects of the arc current and the initial anode temperature on the anode melting. The results reveal that the value of the arc current has a positive correlation with the arc temperature and velocity but has negative correlation with the penetration time of the anode. Meanwhile, with the increase of anode initial temperature, the metal penetrate time will decrease.