One of the requirements of stainless steel production is the ability to lower the carbon content without compromising on the Cr yield. This can be achieved by refining the steel under a vacuum via the vacuum oxygen decarburization (VOD) process. This process involves the three stages schematically outlined below:
A schematic showing the three stages of the vacuum oxygen decarburization process – oxygen blowing, reduction, and degassing. This process can be simulated using the Process Metallurgy Module in Thermo-Calc, as discussed in this application example.
In this example we look at how the Process Metallurgy Module can be used to simulate the VOD process. The example is configured to reproduce the VOD process described in the publication by Ding et al. [R. Ding, B. Blanpain, P.T. Jones, P. Wollants, Met. Mater. Trans 31B (2000) 197-206].
The kinetic simulation excellently reproduces the temperature, the steel chemistry, and the slag chemistry as a function of time. The example can easily be modified and adapted for different chemistries and process parameters.