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Glencore Chair in Pyrometallurgical Modelling

Overview

 

The Glencore Chair in Pyrometallurgical modelling was established in 2012 and started operating in February 2013. The first students started their projects in 2014. It is led by Dr Johan Zietsman, and other staff members include Dr Robert Cromarty. There are currently 12 students (2 undergraduate, 7 master's, and 3 Ph.D.) working in on a variaty of research projects. The research group has five areas of focus

  • Material property modelling
  • Computational thermochemical analysis
  • Process modelling
  • Multiphysics modelling of pyrometallurgical systems
  • Techno-economic modelling

The approach of the research group is to enroll students from different backgrounds (metallurgical, chemical, mechanical, etc). Finding ways to collaborate with other institutions is also an important goal of the group. Another key approach of the research group is to use open source software where possible. This allows for a lot of freedom in research settings, and students also learn more when using open source software compared to commercial software.

 

Mission

 

The mission of the research group is to make a valuable contribution to the metallurgical industry in South Africa by developing highly skilled engineers through conducting research focused on the modelling of pyrometallurgical processes.

 

Contact Details:

Dr Johan Zietsman

Tel: +27 12 420 5919

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Five Areas of Research

 

Material property modelling

Many of the materials relevant to pyrometallurgical processes are well described in terms of thermochemical and other physicochemical properties. There are however some materials for which experimental measurements and/or property models are lacking. This limits the extent to which these materials and the processes in which they are present can be studied using mathematical modelling. The development of these property models based on published experimental results or based on experimental work is the subject of this focus area of the group. The research targets materials of industrial relevance.

 

Current Projects

  • Thermochemical characterisation and modelling of the Al 2 O 3 -CaO-VO x system.
  • Thermochemical characterisation and modelling of the FeO x -TiO x -VO x system.
  • Establishing non-contact property measurement facility using electromagnetic levitation

 

Computational Thermochemical Analysis

Because of the important influence of thermochemistry on the behaviour of high temperature systems, it makes sense to base mathematical models of high temperature processes very strongly on thermochemistry. The models are used for process characterisation, feed material evaluation, recipe calculation and design of process units and plants. The processes being targeted by the research include, for example, ferroalloy production (FeCr, FeMn, SiMn, etc.), ilmenite reduction and smelting, ironmaking, steelmaking and platinum smelting and converting.

 

Current Projects

  • Behaviour of vanadium during solid state reduction and smelting of calcine waste from vanadium salt roasting. (Also experimental.)
  • Development of a smelting process for pre-reduced calcine waste from vanadium salt roasting.

 

Process Modelling

The models developed in this focus area range from simple mass and energy balances, to more sophisticated mechanistic models and dynamic models that can be used as the basis for developing advanced process control systems. The models are used for process characterisation, feed material evaluation, recipe calculation and design of process units and plants. These models can also become components of techno-economic models. The processes being targeted by the research include, for example, ferroalloy production (FeCr, FeMn, SiMn, etc.), ilmenite reduction and smelting, ironmaking, steelmaking and platinum smelting and converting.

 

Current Projects

  • Development of an open source process modelling framework in Python

 

Multiphysics Modelling of Pyrometallurgical Systems

This focus area uses a combination of modelling techniques and physical phenomena to develop mathematical models that describe processes more and more comprehensively with the aim of ultimately arriving at an effectively complete description of the process. Modelling techniques include computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element modelling (FEM) and discrete element modelling (DEM). The physical phenomena that are described include single and multi-phase fluid flow (momentum transfer), heat transfer, mass transfer, thermal radiation, electrical current flow, solidification and melting and deformation. The research targets a wide range of pyrometallurgical processes.

 

Current Projects

  • Slag bath temperature fluctuations in a circular AC platinum smelting furnace
  • Process-equipment interactions in a chromite steel belt sintering process
  • Deformation and stresses in DC smelting furnace refractory linings under transient conditions

 

Techno-economic Modelling

The ultimate aim of any metallurgical process or operation is to provide the owners or shareholders with an economic benefit. To optimise the performance of a metallurgical process, it is therefore important to understand the technical functioning of the process, the economic functioning of the process and the interaction between the process and its economic environment through costs (e.g. equipment, raw materials, energy, products), alternative technologies, alternative products, supply and demand. The modelling techniques developed in this research are applied to, for example, determine the value in use of products produced and to assess the value and feasibility of new projects and expansions.

 

Current Projects

  • Development of an effective techno-economic modelling framework
  • Competitiveness of South African ferrochrome smelting compared with the rest of 

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Last edited by Wynand RouxEdit