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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The spout of air jets upwardly injected into a water bath Sahajwalla, Veena


The spout formed at the free surface of a gas-stirred liquid has received little attention even though it has both theoretical and practical significance. In steelmaking ladles, for example, the spout is the site of strong metal-slag-air mixing which affects: the kinetics of reactions at the slag-metal interface, the absorption of oxygen by the bath and the temperature drop of the bath. Notwithstanding its importance, the spout is usually neglected in flow models of gas-stirred baths because it has not been characterized quantitatively; assumption of a flat top surface, however, reduces the accuracy of the velocity and kinetic energy predictions, particularly close to the spout region. Thus in this study, the spout of upwardly injected gas jets in water was characterized experimentally in terms of gas fraction, bubble frequency and axial velocity distributions. The measurements were made with a two-element electroresistivity probe coupled to a microcomputer. Special hardware and software were developed to analyze the signals generated by contact of the bubbles with the sensor, in real time, for the turbulent flow conditions prevailing in the jet plume and spout. Correlations of the gas fraction with axial and radial position for different gas flow rates have been established from the measurements. The dimensions of the spout were obtained from time-exposure photographs; when compared with the gas fraction measurements, the spout boundary always corresponded to values ranging from 0.82 to 0.86. The radial profiles of bubble frequency at different levels in the spout have a bell shape; the bubble frequency decreases with increasing height. The velocity of the bubbles in the spout drops linearly with increasing axial position. Measurements of bath velocity near the walls of the vessel were also conducted with a laser doppler velocimeter for comparison to model predictions. The gas fraction data obtained for the spout then were incorporated into a mathematical model of turbulent recirculatory flow with which predictions of velocity, kinetic energy and effective viscosity in the bath were made. Predictions of the model were compared with the experimental measurements as well as with predictions assuming a flat bath surface (no spout); and the importance of incorporating the spout thus was demonstrated. The variation of the total kinetic energy in the spout with gas flow rate was determined. The energy increased with flow rate, as expected, but at a critical value, the rate of increase abruptly rose. Based on photographs taken of the gas/liquid dispersion, the increased spout kinetic energy appears to be related to the location of bubble break-up and possibly to gas channeling. At lower flow rates below the critical value, the bubble break-up occurs relatively close to the nozzle, whereas at higher flow rates bubble disintegration is nearer to the surface. At the lower flow rates the gas/liquid interaction was maximum which promoted the gas/liquid momentum transfer. Moreover, at the higher flow rates the gas dispersion was observed intermittently to be a continuous chain of large envelopes which could permit a fraction of the gas to channel through the bath for a considerable distance. The channeling phenomenon could lead to an inefficient gas/liquid energy transfer resulting in a reduced efficiency of bath mixing and enhanced energy release at the surface. These results can explain the observations of previous investigators who found that beyond a critical gas injection rate, the rate of decrease of mixing time with flow rate decreased. The metallurgical consequences of the spout and its influence on the flow field, especially in the near-surface region, have been highlighted, thus unveiling the practical bearing of the spout on the gas injection process.

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