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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigation of panel crack formation in steel ingots using mathematical and physical models Thomas, Brian Gordon


An investigation of panel crack formation in steel ingots was undertaken to improve understanding of the mechanisms by which they develop and to evaluate possible solutions to the problem. The investigation revealed that two distinct types of panel cracks, both of which are partly caused by intermediate-temperature embrittlement of steel involving aluminum nitride precipitation, operate under different mechanisms. Isothermal, physical modelling experiments were conducted to determine the flow patterns, velocity profiles and flame geometry in a bottom-fired soaking pit and the resultant effects on heat transfer. An investigation involving comparison with analytical solutions determined the optimum numerical method to employ for the mathematical modelling of complex, two-dimensional, transient, heat-conduction problems. This method was formulated to calculate the temperature distribution in a steel ingot during the various processing stages from initial casting up to rolling and was verified with industrial measurements. A transient, elasto-visco-plastic, thermal-stress model employing the finite-element method was formulated, developed and verified using analytical solutions. Based on the temperatures calculated by the finite-element, heat-transfer model as input data, the transient, internal stress state of the ingot was calculated, taking into account the effects of phase-transformation volume changes and kinetics, creep, and temperature-dependent mechanical property behavior. The simulated stress histories were found to be directly linked to the progress of the phase-transformation front and were used to clarify the role of stress generation in panel crack formation. Finally, the results of a metallurgical investigation of steel ingot samples containing off-corner panel cracks were synthesized with the results of the physical and mathematical models to determine mechanisms and to suggest solutions for the formation of both mid-face and off-corner panel cracks. Mid-face panel cracks are apparently formed during air cooling when the mid-face surface is between the Ar₁ and 500 °C. Off-corner panel cracks appear to initiate internally during the early stages of reheating, but do not propagate to the surface until air cooling after removal from the soaking pit.

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