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Thermo-mechanical phenomena in high speed continuous casting processes Park, Joong Kil


Thermo-mechanical phenomena during continuous thin slab casting have been studied with the objectives of understanding the mechanism of mold crack formation, and the effect of mold design upon the mechanical behavior of the stand. To achieve these goals, several finite element models have been developed in conjunction with a series of industrial plant trials. First, an investigation of mold crack formation in thin slab casting was undertaken to elucidate the mechanism by which cracks develop and to evaluate possible solutions to the problem. Three-dimensional finite-element thermal-stress models were developed to predict temperature, distortion, and residual stress in thin-slab casting molds, comparing funnel-shaped to parallel molds. Mold wall temperatures were obtained from POSCO in Korea and analyzed to determine the corresponding heat-flux profiles in thin-slab molds. This data was utilized in an elastic-visco-plastic analysis to investigate the deformation of the molds in service for the two different mold shapes. The results of a metallurgical investigation of mold samples containing cracks were used together with the results of the mathematical models, to determine mechanisms and to suggest solutions for the formation of mold cracks. Large cyclic inelastic strains were found in the funnel transition region just below the meniscus, due to the slightly higher temperature at that location. The cracks appear to have propagated by thermal fatigue caused by major level fluctuations. Next, two-dimensional thermo-elastic-visco-plastic analysis was performed for a horizontal slice of the solidifying strand, which moves vertically down the mold during casting. The model calculates the temperature distributions, the stresses and the strains in the solidifying shell, and the air gap between the casting mold and the solidifying strand. Model predictions were verified with an analytical solution and plant trials that were carried out during billet casting at POSCO. The validated model from the billet study was next applied to thin slab casting, using mold temperature and distortion data from the mold cracking study. An investigation of the effect of mold taper on the shrinkage of the solidifying shell, its gap formation, and stress evolution was carried out for different thin slab mold geometries. The model predicts that the shell in funnel molds develops a tensile stress at the slab surface in the funnel transition region due to funnel retraction. This model also suggests that as the funnel depth increases, the possibility of surface cracks at the funnel outside bed position increases.

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