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Oscillation Mark Formation in

Continuous Casting Processes

by

Jessica Elfsberg

Casting of Metals
Royal Institute of Technology
SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Akademisk avhandling som med tillstånd av Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
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Sören Kierkegaard
Oscillation Mark Formation in
Continuous Casting Processes

by
Jessica Elfsberg
Casting of Metals
Royal Institute of Technology
S-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract
Oscillation marks are ripples formed on the surface of continuously cast material.
They may cause cracking and decrease the yield of the process since some material
must be grinded away to avoid crack growth. A study of break-out shells, a full-
scale water model study and full-scale experiments in four different plants have
been performed to analyse the formation of oscillation marks. The hypothesis
initiating the studies was that there is an optimal oscillation frequency. Material
cast at the optimal frequency will have smaller oscillation marks and fewer cracks
and, maybe most important, all marks are of the same character and depth. The
optimal oscillation frequency is determined by its relation to casting velocity and
interfacial tension between metal and protective medium, e.g. slag:

v 2 ⋅ σ metal / surrounding
f= where a =
2 ⋅a g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surrounding )

The results from the experiments indicate that there is an optimal frequency at
which the surface quality gets better. A theoretical analysis has been worked out.
The suggestion is that the marks form as the surface tension balance controlling
the meniscus shape collapses. The collapses occur when the meniscus grows too
high and bulges out towards the mould wall.

Calculations were performed to analyse the influence of interfacial tension on the
oscillation marks. The results show that the higher the interfacial tension gets the
deeper and wider will the marks get. Instead of analysing the friction forces acting
in the meniscus region, it was assumed that the oscillation cause a variation of the
interfacial tension. In some of the calculations, the interfacial tension was changed
from one value to another at some point. The mark shape then becomes a
combination of the different cases.
Oscillationsmärkesbildning vid
kontinuerliga gjutprocesser

av
Jessica Elfsberg
Metallernas gjutning
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
100 44 Stockholm, Sverige

Sammanfattning
Oscillationsmärken är tvärgående ”räfflor” som bildas på ytan av kontinuerligt
gjutet material. Märkena kan orsaka sprickbildning samt minska utbytet av
processen eftersom man måste slipa ämnena för att undvika spricktillväxt. En
undersökning av genombrottsskal, en fullskalig vattenmodellstudie och fullskaliga
experiments vid fyra olika gjutningsanläggningar har genomförts för att analysera
bildningen av oscillationsmärken. Hypotesen som initierade arbetet var att det
finns en optimal oscillationsfrekvens. Material som gjuts vid den optimala
frekvensen får mindre oscillationsmärken och färre sprickor och, kanske viktigast,
alla märken kommer att vara av samma typ och vara lika djupa. Den optimala
oscillationsfrekvensen bestäms av dess relation till gjuthastighet och
gränsytspänningen mellan smälta och omgivande medium, till exempel slagg:

v 2 ⋅ σ metal / surrounding
f= där a =
2 ⋅a g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surrounding )

Resultaten från experimenten indikerar att det finns en optimal frekvens vid vilken
ytkvaliteten blir bättre. En teoretisk analys har utarbetats och föreslår att
oscillationsmärkena bildas när ytspänningsbalansen som bestämmer meniskens
form kollapsar. Kollapsen inträffar när menisken blir för hög och bular ut mot
kokillväggen.

Inverkan av gränsytspänningen på märkenas profil har analyserats med hjälp av
beräkningar. Resultaten visar att högre gränsytspänning ger djupare, och bredare
märken. Istället för att analysera de friktionskrafter som uppkommer mellan
smälta och slagg i meniskområdet, antogs det att oscillationen orsakar en variation
av gränsytspänningen. I några beräkningar ändrades gränsytspänningen från ett
värde till ett annat vid en viss tidpunkt. Märkets form förändrades till en
kombination av formerna för de olika gränsytspänningarna.
The thesis includes the following supplements:

Supplement 1
Thoughts about the Initial Solidification Process during Continuous Casting of
Steel
Fredriksson, H. and Elfsberg, J.
Scandinavian Journal of Metallurgy 2002, Vol. 31, pp. 292-297

I prepared samples and performed microscopy studies. I also took part in writing
the report.

Supplement 2
Experimental Study of the Formation of Oscillation Marks in Continuous Casting
of Steel Billets
Elfsberg, J., Widell, B., Fredriksson, H.
4th European Continuous Casting Conference, Oct 14-15 2002, Birmingham,
England.

I performed the experiments, most of the evaluations and report writing.

Supplement 3
Oscillation Mark Formation on Continuously Cast Copper
Elfsberg, J., Fredriksson, H.
ISRN:KTH:MG-INR-03:02 SE
TRITA-MG-2003:02

I performed the experiments, most of the evaluations and report writing.

Supplement 4
Oscillation Mark Formation on Continuously Cast Stainless Steel and Carbon
Steel Slabs
Elfsberg J., Fredriksson H.
ISRN:KTH:MG-INR-03:03 SE
TRITA-MG-2003:03

I performed the experiments, most of the evaluations and report writing.

Supplement 5
Theoretical Study of Oscillation Mark Formation in Continuous Casting Processes
Elfsberg J., Fredriksson H.
ISRN:KTH:MG-INR-03:04 SE
TRITA-MG-2003:04

I did the calculations and the report writing.
Contents

1.
Introduction…………………………………………………………………...... 1

2. History and Principles of Continuous Casting…………………………….. 1
History 1
The Principles of Conventional Continuous Casting 3
Casting Powder 4
Oscillation Parameters 5

3. Review on the Formation of Oscillation marks……………………………. 6

4. Experimental work………………………………………………………….. 10
Study of break-out shells 10
DDS- Steel Slabs 11
Fundia Special Bar AB – Steel Billets 11
Fundia Armeringsstål A/S – Steel Billets 11
Outokumpu Copper AB – Copper Strips 12
Outokumpu Copper AB – Water Model 12
Why modelling liquid metal flow using water 12
Avesta Polarit AB – Stainless Steel Slabs 13

5. Experimental Results……………………………………………………….. 14
Study of break-out shells 14
DDS- Steel Slabs 16
Fundia Special Bar AB – Steel Billets 17
Fundia Armeringsstål A/S – Steel Billets 19
Outokumpu Copper AB – Copper Strips 19
Outokumpu Copper AB – Water Model 20
Avesta Polarit AB – Stainless Steel Slabs 21

6. Theoretical background……………………………………………………... 24
6.1 Heat Transfer……………………………………………………………….. 24
Conduction 24
Radiation 25
Convection 25
Heat transport in Continuous Casting 25
Heat transport in the Model for Oscillation Mark Formation 26
The Heat Transfer from the Melt to the Shell 27
The Heat Transfer from the Shell to the Mould 28
Determination of Solid Shell Growth Rate and Shell Tip Radius 28
Solidification in the z-direction 29

6.2 Surface Tension Balance and Angles between Phases…………………… 30

6.3 Pressure balance and Meniscus Shape……………………………………. 32
Derivation of the Laplace Capillary Constant 33
Pressure Balance and Angles between the Phases 35

7. Theoretical analysis………………………………………………………….. 36

7.1 The Model for the Oscillation Mark Formation…………………………... 36
The First Approach 37
The Second Approach 37
Optimal Oscillation Frequency 38

7.2 Calculation of Oscillation Mark Profile…………………………………… 39
The First Approach 39
The Second Approach 40

8. Results of Calculations………………………………………………………. 40
The First Approach 40
The Second Approach 41

9. Discussion……………………………………………………………………. 44

10. Future Works………………………………………………………………... 46

11. Acknowledgements…………………………………………………………. 47

12. References…………………………………………………………………... 48

Supplements 1-5
1. Introduction

All metal manufacturing includes a solidification process. The metal is either
atomised to a powder, or it is cast. There is several casting methods used today.
Many of the methods use the mould only once, for example sand mould casting,
the lost-wax method and precision casting. For larger quantities of liquid metal,
there are basically two methods: ingot casting and continuous casting. Ingot
casting normally uses a permanent mould made by cast iron isolated by ceramic
material. There are limitations with the ingot casting methods. The structure in the
centre of the ingot will get coarse which decreases the strength of the metal and
when casting larger quantities of metal the handling of the ingots gets very
complex. To be able to increase the manufacturing capacity without decreasing
the quality, the development of a continuous casting process started in 1856. Since
then continuous casting has grown to be the major technique for casting steel.
Copper is today continuously cast using a similar design as for steel casting.

The heart of a continuous casting machine is the mould. The mould is an open-
ended tube in which the metal is poured. The liquid metal is protected by either a
gas, inert or reductive, or some melted compound. For steel the most common
protection media are casting powder, i.e. an oxide mixture, or rape-seed oil. In the
mould the liquid metal starts to solidify and during the solidification, surface
defects called oscillation marks are formed. The oscillation marks appears as
grooves perpendicular to the casting direction. They are typically 0.1-1 mm deep.
The oscillation marks may work as initiation point for cracks and beneath them
there is a zone with higher risk for inclusions, pores and segregation. There may
also be cracks on the cast surface formed in the mould. It is clear that the surface
quality of the cast material is mainly determined by the process in the mould.

The formation of oscillation marks has been extensively examined by many
authors and there are several models describing the formation of oscillation marks
in continuous casting. To be able to control the formation of marks, the
mechanism of the formation must be fully known. This work suggests that there is
an optimal oscillation frequency. At the optimal oscillation frequency, it is
suggested that no, or very small, oscillation marks form.

2. History and Principles of continuous casting

History

To be able to increase the casting capacity without decreasing the quality, the
development of a continuous casting process started in 1856. Henri Bessemer
suggested a model in which liquid metal was poured between to water-cooled rolls.

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Figure 1. The twin-roll caster suggested by Bessemer [1]

The process was by then hard to control and the cast material was of very poor
quality. In 1887 R M Daelen suggested a process using a vertical water-cooled
mould open in its top and bottom. In this process problems with sticking
occurred when casting steel and not until 1933, when Siegfried Junghans
introduced the concept of mould oscillation, a functional continuous casting
process for steel could be developed. In Junghans development the mould was
moved downward at a velocity equal to the casting speed for approximately three-
quarters of each cycle followed by a rapid return to the starting position. There
were therefore no relative motion between the mould and the strand shell during
the down-stroke. In 1954 there was a major break-through in continuous casting
steel processes. A new oscillation profile, suggested by Concast/Halliday,
produced a condition called negative strip. Negative strip is when the down-stroke
velocity in each cycle exceeds the casting speed. Sinusoidal oscillation was first
used on two Russian slab casters installed in 1959. Presently, sinusoidal is
essentially the standard mode of oscillation worldwide. It is relatively simple to
design and has the advantage of lower moments of inertia and smaller jerk (the
rate of change of acceleration with respect to time). If the jerk is too high,
problems related to vibration, noise and wear of moving parts and bearings can
occur. However, non-sinusoidal oscillation has received renewed attention and
with sophisticated hydraulic oscillators, a wide variety of profiles may come in use.
The benefits of continuous casting compared to ingot casting are:

● Higher yield
● Smaller number of necessary manufacturing steps
● More mechanised casting process
● More even composition
● Better surface finish.

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A lot of development of the continuous casting processes has taken place the last
decades. For example different electromagnetic devices have been introduced.
Electromagnetic fields can be used for braking and for stirring the liquid metal in
the mould. It is also possible to press the melt away from the mould walls with a
strong electromagnetic field.

Today conventional continuous casting, described in figure 2, is the dominant
casting process for steel. In the future, electromagnetic casting may get in
common use as well as the twin-roll caster suggested by Bessemer in 1856. Many
of the problems can today be handled, but the process is still very expensive [1].

The Principles of Conventional Continuous Casting

Figure 2 shows the principal design of a conventional continuous casting machine:

Figure 2. A continuous casting machine [1]. Melt flows from a ladle to a tundish
and further to a mould. Between the ladle and the tundish, and from tundish to
mould, ceramic tubes protect the melt. Beneath the mould there are a secondary
cooling zone and a straightening zone.

From a ladle, the liquid metal flows down into a tundish. The tundish acts as
distributor if there is more than one mould, it evens the temperature and the
composition of the melt and it makes it possible for inclusions to leave the melt.
From the tundish the melt flows to the mould/moulds. A mould for steel casting
is normally made by copper which is water-cooled; the surface towards the liquid
metal is often covered with a protective layer by for example chromium. To avoid
sticking in the mould it is oscillated. The casting process is started with the help of
a dummy bar on which the metal freezes, so when it is moved downwards a
strand can be drawn out from the mould. The velocity of the strand and the
cooling must be controlled so that the solid shell is strong enough when the

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strand leaves the mould. Beneath the mould there is a secondary cooling zone in
which water is sprayed on the surface of the strand. Further down in the machine,
the strand is bent so it gets horizontal and then straightened. When the strand is
solid throughout the whole cross section it can be cut to proper lengths, often
with an oxy-gas torch.

The casting can be protected or not protected. In protected casting, the melt is
not in contact with air at any time before it leaves the mould. In the ladle, a slag
layer on the top of the melt protects it. The melt flows through a ceramic tube
from the ladle to the tundish, the outlet of the ceramic tube is beneath the surface
in the tundish, i.e. the tube is submerged. The melt surface is covered with some
oxide mixture in the ladle and flows through one or more nozzles from the
tundish to the mould/moulds. These nozzles are submerged in the melt in the
mould. In the mould, casting powder, i.e. an oxide mixture, covers the melt
surface. The casting powder protects the metal from contact with the air and may
act as a lubricant in the meniscus region. In unprotected casting of steel rape-seed
oil is often used as protective media. The oil burns and cracks, forming a reducing
atmosphere in the mould.

In continuous casting of thin copper strips either a salt mixture or a controlled,
inert or reducing, atmosphere is used as protection from oxygen.

As the melt fills the mould, the following occurs: in the upper part of the mould, a
meniscus forms. The meniscus is the melt forming a convex upper surface just at
the mould wall. The meniscus is curved because there is an interfacial tension
between liquid metal and protective media [2]. Beneath this meniscus, a solid shell
forms as the metal gets close to the wall. The solidified shell is continuously pulled
downwards, at the same time new melt is poured down into the mould. The
moving shell grows and shrinks when it is strong enough to withstand the
metallostatic pressure. Then an air gap forms between the shell and the mould.

Casting Powder

The casting powder can either be a mechanical mixture of fine grain oxides or a
pre-melted and granuled mixture. Granuled powders are preferable since they do
not get packed and may thus be fed by automatic feeders. The properties
considered important are viscosity, basicity, melt temperature, melting rate and
degree of crystallisation. These properties can be connected to the composition of
the powder. Another important factor is the particle size distribution. Particles of
the same size will always have empty space in between. If there are particles of a
wide range of sizes, the particles will pack tighter and air passage gets more
difficult.

The main ingredients of casting powders are CaO, SiO2, Al2O3, MgO, Na2O and
CaF2. The acidic oxide SiO2 forms SiO42- which forms a silicate network. This
network will bind up and contain the other oxides. Al2O3, which is an amphoteric

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oxide, can replace the SiO42- in the network. The Al2O3 molecule can form two
negative ions, AlO4-, and will thus increase the viscosity strongly if there is excess
oxygen present. The following oxides are basic and decrease the viscosity since
they break the silicate network: CaO, MgO, BaO, SrO, Na2O, Li2O, K2O. Also
fluoride ions lower the viscosity [4], [5]. Graphite is also included (3-6 %) to
control the melt rate.

The casting powder has several functions [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12]:

● Protect the metal from oxidation
● Thermally isolate the upper surface to prevent meniscus solidification
● Absorb inclusions from the melt and dissolve them
● Lubricate the surface between mould and shell
● Create a homogeneous heat transport
● Determine the meniscus shape by determining the metal/slag interfacial
tension.

The composition of the casting powder may change throughout the casting due to
reactions between steel and slag. As the composition changes, the essential
properties of the slag will also change. Reactions between the metal and the slag
will result in major mass transport between them. Mass transport across the
interface will decrease the surface tension of the liquid metal.

Oscillation Parameters

The formation of the oscillation marks is regarded to be influenced by the mould
oscillation. There are a number of parameters describing the oscillation, for
example:

Instantaneous mould velocity

 t 
vm = 2π ⋅ s ⋅ f ⋅ cos  2 π ⋅ f ⋅  [m/min] Equation 1
 60 

where s is the stroke length [mm], f is the oscillation frequency [1/min] and t is
the cycle time [s].

Average mould velocity

v average = 2 ⋅ s ⋅ f [m/min] Equation 2

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Total cycle time

60
tc = [s] Equation 3
f

The negative strip time, tN, is the time during which the velocity of the down-
going mould is higher than the casting velocity. For the sinusoidal mode of
oscillation, tN is calculated by the equation [13]:

60 V 
tN = ⋅ arccos c  [s] Equation 4
πf  πsf 

where VC is the casting velocity [m/min].

The oscillation parameters should be chosen so that the negative strip time is large
enough for avoiding sticking. Typical values are 0.2-0.3 seconds [1].

The distance between oscillation marks has been assumed to follow the
expression:
VG
p= [mm] Equation 5
f
[3], [6], [13], [14].

3. Review on the Formation of Oscillation Marks

There is a lot of work done in the field of formation of oscillation marks. Some of
the suggestions on formation mechanisms are here reviewed.

Sato presented in 1979 [15] the idea of the formation on a “secondary” meniscus
formed due to pressure variations caused by the oscillation. He suggests that the
marks are formed in two steps, first the solid meniscus shell is lifted by the
upward moving mould. This lift causes the formation of two convex surfaces, ab
and bc in figure 3b. Then, as the mould turns, the two convex surfaces are forged
together and the mark is formed. Figure 3 shows the formation of a mark during
casting operation without the use of casting powder. Figure 4 shows the
conditions for casting with the use of casting powder. The mechanisms for the
two cases are the same, but the presence of the slag will cause a different pressure
term [15].

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Figure 3. The oscillation mark formation during continuous casting without the
use of slag. The mark forms during the upstroke. The solid meniscus us lifted by
the mould movement [15].

Figure 4. The formation of oscillation marks in continuous casting with the use of
casting powder [15].

In 1980 Saucedo et al. [16] performed work from which they deduce that the
oscillation marks, or ripples, form because the meniscus solidifies. They suggest

7
that no marks will form if the rate of heat extraction is lowered. In a paper from
1991 Saucedo [17] present the theory more detailed. The oscillation marks are
suggested to form when the oscillation forces the liquid metal to regain contact
with the mould wall. This can happen in two ways, either an overflow occurs, or
the shell is bent towards the mould by the metallostatic pressure. It is also possible
that the two processes combine [17]. Figure 5 shows the different ways the liquid
metal can get in contact with the mould wall above the frozen meniscus. The left
mark is usually termed folding mark, and the mark in the middle is called an
overflow mark.

Figure 5. The mark formation starts with solidification of the meniscus. Then the
metal can get in contact with the mould wall in different ways: i. the rising liquid
pushes the solid shell towards the wall, ii. the liquid overflows the shell or iii. The
first two combines.

In 1980 Tomono et al. [18] performed experiments with organic substances. They
could observe the formation and concluded that the two mark types, i.e. folding
marks and overflow marks, are formed of different reasons. They suggest that
oscillation marks form when the meniscus is submitted to compressive force by
particles sticking to the wall, and that folding marks form independently of the
oscillation. They used the Bikerman equation for calculating the meniscus shape
and connected the oscillation mark properties to the discrepancy between
observed meniscus shape and calculated [18].

In 1984 Takeuchi and Brimacombe [3] described how the pressure in the liquid
slag channel varies and draws the meniscus back towards the mould wall during
the negative strip. The difference between marks with and without hooks is
assumed to be caused by the difference in strength of the meniscus skin. If the
skin is strong, an overflow will occur, and a hook forms. If the skin is weaker, the

8
shell is purely pressed against the wall and no overflow is needed, and no hook
forms. They describe how the meniscus follows the oscillation [3], [19], [20].

Figure 7. The fluctuation of the meniscus with mould oscillation [3]

In 1986 Suzuki et al. [21] presented a theory for the oscillation mark formation.
Their model assume that an over-lap mechanism control the formation. The
meniscus in surface tension balance with the shell moves upwards as the solid
shell grows inwards, see figure 8.

Figure 8. Suzuki et al. suggested in 1986 that the meniscus moves inwards and
upwards according to a surface tension balance.

Delhalle et al. [22] described, in a work from 1989, three different formation
mechanisms for oscillation marks, see figure 9. The three mechanisms are based
upon meniscus solidification. The liquid metal may overflow the solid shell or first
the liquid metal overflow the shell and then the shell is remelted or the solid shell
may be bent back by metallostatic pressure. Solidification of the curved part
results in hook formation. The size and shape of the oscillation marks is said to
depend on the heat extraction, the oscillation and the interfacial properties [22].

9
Figure 9. A. Mould oscillation and product withdrawal cause liquid steel to
overflow the solid hook. The overflowing liquid freezes against the mould wall
and a new shell tip forms. B. as A, but here partial or total remelting of the solid
shell tip is assumed. C. the metallostatic pressure bends the solid shell back against
the mould [22].

Lainez and Busturia [23] performed work to determine exactly when the
oscillation marks form. They suggest that solidification do not start at the
meniscus, but further down in the mould, namely at the lower part of the solid
slag rim. They connect the oscillation mark formation to this region and say that
they form at the point where the mould downward speed is at maximum [23].

4. Experimental Work

Experiments have been performed in industrial scale at Danish Steel Works Ltd.
(DDS), Fundia Smedjebacken, Fundia Mo-i-Rana, Outokumpu Copper Västerås
and AvestaPolarit, Avesta. A surface profilometer was used to get information
about the surface topography of the steel slabs and the steel billets. We also
performed some metallographic analysis of the materials. In the copper casting
case, the flow pattern in the mould has been studied using a water model. We also
studied the surface appearance of the cast copper strips for different oscillation
frequencies and protective medium. In our first work we studied shell tips from
break-out-shells from continuous casting plants in Sweden. A break-out is when
the solidifying shell breaks and the liquid metal flows out from it, leaving an empty
shell in the mould.

Study of Break-Out Shells

A number of break-outs from steel casting machines have been analysed. The
shape of the marks, the shape of the tip and the microstructure were analysed.

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DDS – Steel Slabs

A steel with 0.119%C, 0.127%Mn, 0.036%Si, 0.013%P and 0.008%S were studied.
During this experiment the oscillation frequency was varied, the velocity was kept
constant, but the stroke length was varied to keep the negative strip time constant.
Later the velocity was varied together with the stroke length while the oscillation
frequency was constant. 11 different oscillation frequencies between 74 and 134
min-1 and 5 different velocities, in the range of 0.7-1.1 m/min, were tested.
Casting powder was used at the casting. The surface topography was measured
with the surface profilometer and the surfaces were photographed, using a digital
camera. Some samples were studied in a light optical microscope. The numbers of
transversal cracks on the 200 mm long specimens were counted.

Fundia Special Bar AB – Steel Billets

In Smedjebacken experiments on 5 different heats, A-E, were performed. The
alloys used in the four heats A-D contains about 0.16% C, 0.3% Si, 1.2% Mn. The
sulphur content were varied between 0,004 and 0,033% and as the sulphur
content varied, the Ca and Al contents also varied. The fifth heat, E, was studied
because the steel grade shows extremely shallow oscillation marks. The
composition of E is 0.55% C, 1.86% Si, 0.85% Mn and 0.017% S.

In these castings, casting powders were used. During the experiments 5 different
frequencies, in the range of 90-240 min-1, were tested. The stroke length was
constant ±3 mm and the casting velocity was 1.6 m/min.

The surface profile of one of the narrow sides of the cast strand was measured
using the surface profilometer and from heat A, B and E samples from the
regions of different oscillation frequency were cut out. In each region one could
find deep marks, and more shallow marks. Both types were cut out and
metallographically prepared and studied in a light optical microscope. Some of the
regions on the billets were photographed using a digital camera.

Fundia Armeringsstål A/S – Steel Billets

In Mo-i-Rana 3 different heats, M-O, were studied. Two of them were quite
similar in composition while the third had considerably lower carbon content. The
compositions of M and N were 0.18% C, 0.2% Si, 0.75% Mn. Sulphur contents
were 0.023 and 0.036 respectively. The third heat, O, was a steel grade with
considerably lower carbon content. The composition was 0.08% C, 0.18% Si,
0.65% Mn and 0.034% S.

In these trials rapeseed oil was used as lubricant. The velocity could not be varied,
only the oscillation frequency. The stroke length was ±5.2 mm. For the different
charges the oscillation 5 frequencies between 90 and 180 1/min were tested.

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The surface topography was measured with the surface profilometer and the
surfaces were photographed, using a digital camera.

Outokumpu Copper AB – Copper Strips

In the copper experiment two different protective media were used, the oscillation
frequency and the velocity, by varying the number of down-lets in the nozzle.
Normally the protective media is a carbon carrying gas, but we also used a salt
mixture, with the major ingredient Na2B4O7 (borax). The composition of the
copper alloy was Cu-0.03%Sn. On these samples we studied the shape of the
oscillation mark along the broad side of the strip. The waviness of the oscillation
marks was compared to the down-let arrangement. The heat transport to the
mould cooling water was registered.

Outokumpu Copper AB- Water Model

A full-scale water model was used to study how the free surface shape varied with
the nozzle arrangement. The nozzle design was not exactly equal to the one in the
casting machine, but they were similar enough to give sufficient information about
the upper surface. The number and the positions of closed nozzles were varied
and the flow pattern was photographed.

Why Modelling Liquid Metal Flow using Water?

It is common to use water modelling of continuous casting to get information
about flow patterns. To compare two systems the following demands are needed:

● Dynamic similarity
● Geometrical similarity
● Kinematic similarity
● Thermally similarity

When we use water as a model material, it is of course impossible to achieve
thermal similarity but for steel flow the thermal similarity is not so important since
there are small temperature differences and the natural convection can be
neglected. Geometrical similarity is reached if the model is proper scaled.
Kinematic similarity will be reached if geometrical and dynamic similarity can be
reached. For dynamic similarity the following dimensionless numbers must be
equal in the steel process and in the water model:

12
Froudes number
v2 Equation 6
Fr =
gL

Reynolds number.
vL Equation 7
Re =
ν

Webers number.
ρv 2 L Equation 8
W=
σ

v is the velocity of the fluid and L is a characteristic length for the process, ν is the
kinematic viscosity for the fluid, ρ is the density of the fluid and σ is the surface
tension for the fluid. The dimensionless numbers are tools used in fluid mechanics
to compare systems. According to fluid mechanics, two systems with identical
dimensionless numbers satisfy the Navier-Stokes equation. The systems are
therefore comparable. Data for the different fluids are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Data for water, steel and copper [24], [25].
Media Density [kg/m3] Viscosity [Pa·s] Surface tension [J/m2]
Water 1000 0.001 0.073
Liquid steel 7000 0.007 1.8
Liquid copper 8000 0.004 1.3

This means that the kinematic viscosity, ν, are in the cases of water and steel
about 1E-6 m2/s and for copper it is 2E-6 m2/s. Reynolds number are thus easy
to get equal. Froude’s number is controlled by the scaling. Both the length and the
velocity must be chosen correctly. The choice of water to simulate steel makes it
impossible to get all the three numbers equal for the two cases. In bulk flow in the
mould it is possible to neglect the surface tension and thereby the Weber number
[26]

Avesta Polarit AB – Stainless Steel Slabs

In this experiment the oscillation frequency was varied while the velocity and the
stroke length were kept constant. The steel studied was 316L with the
composition 11%Ni, 17%Cr, 4.5%Mo and 0.002%S. The sulphur is of interest
because it decreases the surface tension of the alloy. According to the literature,
the surface tension of this alloy is about 1.7 J/m2 for sulphur contents about 0.002
wt% [27]. The sulphur content of the studied charges is lower than that, so the
surface tension will be somewhat higher than 1.7 J/m2.

Casting powder was used. 4 different oscillation frequencies between 100 and 180
min-1 were tested. The surface topography was measured with the surface

13
profilometer and the surfaces were photographed, using a digital camera. The
purpose of this campaign was to study the appearance of hooks beneath the
surface. Samples with a length of 300 mm´s were cut out and on these the marks
were very carefully studied. The samples cast at 120 min-1 and at 160 min-1 were
studied in a light optical microscope. The dendrite arm spacing and the content of
Mo, Ni and Cr was measured in a microprobe around marks from these samples.

5. Experimental Results

Study of Break-Out Shells

Two different types of oscillation marks were observed on the break-out shells. In
the literature these marks are termed overflow marks and folding marks. It was
also observed that the top shell does not form a continuous even line around the
mould shell and that the shell growth occurs in steps, as shown in figure 10 a and
b. The white arrows indicate oscillation marks found just at the level where the
shell thickness starts to change.

Figure 10 a. The upper surface does not Figure 10 b. The same sample as in
behave as an even line during the figure 10 a seen from the perpendicular
casting. The white arrow points at an direction. The growth of the shell has
oscillation mark. occurred in steps.

We examined a number of break-out shells. The shapes of seven shell tips are shown
in figure 11.

14
Figure 11. Seven observed shell tips from break-outs.

One shell tip was studied more carefully. Figure 12 shows the microstructure of
that tip. We can identify two different regions, one fine grained on the top and a
coarser below.

Figure 12. The microstructure of a shell tip from a break-out. We can see two
different regions, a fine-grained to the left, and a coarser grained to the right.

15
DDS – Steel Slabs

From the experiment on steel slabs at DDS, data on the oscillation mark distances
for different frequencies were achieved. The fraction of oscillation marks with
cracks on the wide side of the slab could be determined, see figure 13. There is a
minimum for 83 min-1. The minimum at 134 min-1 is probably not reliable since
the evaluation was harder on that sample. As the surface profiles on both the
narrow sides were measured, it is possible to observe that the oscillation marks do
not form at the same level around the slab, see figure 14. Figure 14 also shows
periods of shallow marks followed by a deep mark; see especially on the higher
curve between 6400 and 6600 mm. Figure 15 shows the oscillation mark distance
for different frequencies. The curve has a maximum for f=83 min-1.

1
Fraction of oscillation marks with cracks

0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140
Oscillation frequency [1/min]
Figure 13. Diagram showing the fraction of oscillation marks with cracks as a
function of oscillation frequency.

25
Surface profile [mm]

20

15

10

5

0
68006400 70006600 7200
Distance from start [mm]
Figure 14. The oscillation marks on the both narrow sides of the slab, are not
identical. The solid line at about 6850 mm is caused by a signal disturbance.

16
Oscillation mark distance [mm]
13

12

11

10

9

8

7
70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140
Oscillation frequency [1/min]

Figure 15. Diagram showing the oscillation mark distance at different oscillation
frequencies.

Fundia Special Bar AB – Steel Billets

In these experiments it was clearly seen that the oscillation mark pattern changes
immediately as the oscillation frequency is changed, see figure 17. Further it was
observed that the oscillation mark distance decrease when the frequency increases.

f=100 min-1 f=240 min-1
Figure 17. The oscillation marks change appearance immediately when the
oscillation frequency is changed. The frequency is changed from 100 min-1 to
240 min-1.

The diagram in figure 18 shows the fraction of deeper marks as a function of
oscillation frequency for the two heats C and D. The sulphur content was lower
for C than for D. Thereby C had a higher interfacial tension. For C a minimum is

17
seen at 137 min-1 and for D a very clear minimum is present at f=150 min-1. When
the fraction of deeper marks is zero, all the marks have the same appearance.

0.35

Fraction of deeper marks 0.3

0.25

0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05 C
D
0
80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160
Oscillation frequency [1/min]
Figure 18. Diagram of the fraction of deep marks as a function of frequency for
steel cast with casting powder.

Figure 19 shows the distances between the oscillation marks for the two heats A
and B who are low in sulphur and high in sulphur respectively. The higher sulphur
content reduces the interfacial tension and decreases the distance.
20
18
low sulfur
16
high sulfur
14
Distance [mm]

12
10
8
6
4
2
0
100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240
Oscillation frequency [1/min]
Figure 19. The oscillation mark distances for two heats of the same steel with
different sulphur contents.

18
Fundia Armeringsstål A/S – Steel Billets

In this study, the oscillation marks formed during casting with rape-seed oil as
protection have been examined. It was deduced that oscillation marks are formed
in the same way as on materials cast with casting powder. Between the marks, a
ripple pattern can be seen, with the mark distance of about 1 mm. The ripples are
assumed to form due to vibrations in the machine and are not further analysed.
The diagram in figure 20 shows the fraction of deeper marks as a function of
frequency. There are maxima at approximately 125 min-1 and 150 min-1
respectively.

Fraction of deeper marks
0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2
Low sulphur
0.1 High sulphur

0
0 50 100 150 200
Oscillation frequency [1/min]

Figure 20. Diagram of the fraction of deeper oscillation marks as a function of
frequency for steel cast without casting powder, but with rape-seed oil.

Outokumpu Copper AB – Copper Strips

On the cast copper strips, there are patterns of different types of oscillation marks.
The marks on the narrow sides are deeper than the ones on the wide sides. This
fact may be due to the deformation of the strip caused by the rolls in the machine,
or due to the difference in heat extraction between the narrow and the wide sides.
Deeper marks are also found on the strips cast with the use of salt. The salt
addition caused a decrease by approximately 10% of the heat extraction from the
mould (measured as difference in temperature of mould cooling water), see figure
21.

The surface appearances of the copper strips were studied. Figure 22 shows a strip
cast with the use of salt, v=1.1m/min and f=150 min-1. A waviness of the

19
oscillation marks is clear. The waviness can be connected to the nozzle
arrangement in the down-let system. The ridges in the waves, corresponds to open
nozzles and the upwards convex bulge is formed beneath closed nozzles.

400 100
v=1,1 m/min
350 Front 90
80
300
Heat transport [kW]
70

Mould level [%]
250 Back 60
200 50
150 40
Salt addition
30
100
20
50 10
0 0
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Time [s]
Figure 21. The heat transported to the mould cooling water is shown as a function
of time for the two wide sides of the mould. The lowest curve shows the liquid
metal level in the mould, in % of some reference.

Figure 22. Photo of the surface of the copper strip cast at v=1.1 m/min and
f=150 min-1 and salt used as protection. The marks are wavy as given by the
down-let system.

Outokumpu Copper AB – Water Model

In the water model study it could be seen that the water forms a concave bulge
right beneath the closed nozzles. The streams from the nozzles on each side of
the closed one/ones will interrupt the bulging when they press the surface
downwards. When the profile of the water surface was compared with the
oscillation marks on the cast strips, it seemed clear that the same thing happens in
the mould. There is one exception, close to the narrow side of the strip there are a
recirculation bulge on the cast strip. This one is not so strong in the water model –
because there is no shell moving downwards in the water model.

20
Figure 23. Photo of half the water model. We can see how the water forms an
upwards convex bulge beneath the closed nozzles and is pressed downwards by
the streams from the open nozzles.

Avesta Polarit AB – Stainless Steel Slabs

On the sample cast with the frequency 120 min-1 marks both with and without
hooks were found. On the samples cast at the other frequencies, no hooks were
found. The marks with hooks often showed some cracks which the marks without
hook did not. The Mo, Ni and Cr content around the oscillation marks with
hooks were measured using a microprobe. Figure 24 shows the fraction of deeper
oscillation marks and the depth of the deep marks as a function of oscillation
frequency. There is a clear minima of the depth for f=160 min-1.

Figure 25 shows the microstructure of the material around the oscillation mark. A
“hook” which has been flown over by another liquid can clearly be seen. There
are some cracks in the bottom of the mark. The structure close to the surface is
very fine-grained while it gets coarser further from the surface.

21
0.7 0.35
Fraction deep marks
0.6 0.3
Depth of deep marks

Depth of deep marks [mm]
0.5 [mm] 0.25

Fraction deep marks
0.4 0.2

0.3 0.15
Measurements from 500 mm for each frequency
0.2 0.1

0.1 0.05

0 0
0 50 100 150 200
Frequency [1/min]

Figure 24. Diagram of the fraction of deeper marks and depth of deeper marks as
a function of oscillation frequency. We see that the fraction of deeper marks
decreases as the frequency increases and that the depth shows a minimum for
f=160 min-1.

During the casting process, the temperature of the mould cooling water was
logged. The temperature difference between inlet and outlet water can be used for
determining the heat extraction. The differences in mould water temperatures are
between 3.25 and 4.25 K and shown in figure 25. To determine the heat extraction,
we also need the volume of water flowing through the mould per time unit. These
numbers are: for both the narrow sides, 400 l and for the wide sides 5300 and
5400 l respectively.

4.4 difftemp ÖK
difftemp ytter
4.2 difftemp inner
difftemp VK
Water temperature [°C]

4

3.8

3.6

3.4

3.2
f=180 /min f=160 /min f=100/min
f=120/min
3
50 60 70 80 90 100
Cast length [m]

Figure 25. The mould cooling water temperature difference as a function of cast
length. The plus signs represent changed oscillation frequency.

22
Figure 6 shows an oscillation mark with a hook and some cracks in the overflow
material.

Figure 26. Photo of oscillation mark with a hook and cracks (indicated by white
arrows). The structure close to the surface is much more fine-grained than the
structure more far from the surface. The oscillation frequency was 120 min-1.

23
6. Theoretical background

Our model of oscillation mark formation is based on a heat balance, a surface
tension balance and a pressure balance. A heat balance gives us the growth rate,
the surface tension balance gives us the angles between the phases and a pressure
balance gives us the shape of the liquid metal meniscus during the process. Below
the physical principles needed are described.

6.1 Heat transfer

Heat can be transported by conduction, by radiation and by convection.

Conduction

Conduction is when energy is transported through the material by propagation of
vibrations of the atoms. Conductive heat transport is described by Fourier´s first
law:

dq dT
= −k Equation 9
dt dx

q is amount of heat per unit area, t is time, k is heat conductivity [W/mK], T is
temperature and x is thickness of layer heat travels through.

Heat transfer across an interface is described by the following relation:

dq
= −h ⋅ (T2 − T1 ) Equation 10
dt

If the heat must travel through several layers, we can treat the layers as connected
in series and L/kA as a resistance, the total resistance is:

x x1 x2 x3
= + + ... Equation 11
k ⋅ A k 1 ⋅ A1 k 2 ⋅ A 2 k 3 ⋅ A 3

and

dQ k⋅A
=− ⋅ (T2 − T1 ) Equation 12
dt L

can be used to calculate the heat flown through the system. Q is q times A.

A more general relation than the ones above is the general heat conduction
equation

24
DT D 2T
=α Equation 13
Dt Dx 2

α is the thermal diffusivity which can be determined as:

k
α= [m2/s] Equation 14
ρ ⋅ Cp

where k is the heat conduction coefficient of the material with the unit [J/m⋅s⋅K],
ρ is the density of the material in [kg/m2] and Cp is the heat capacity in [J/kg⋅K].

Radiation

The heat radiation can be determined by:

( )
dW = ε ⋅ σ ⋅ A ⋅ T 4 − T04 dt Equation 15

where W is energy [J], ε is emissivity, which is a dimensionless, material dependant
factor, σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant = 5,67 ⋅ 10−8 [W/m2⋅K4], A is the area,
T is the temperature of the body, T0 is the temperature of the surrounding and t is
the time.

Convection

Convection is energy transport caused by movement of the surrounding matter.
Natural convection is when media moves because of differences in heat content.
Forced convection is when material, e.g. water or air, is forced to pass a body. If
the body is warmer it will be cooled by the flowing fluid and vice versa.
Convection can be described by the following equation:

dQ
= h kon ⋅ A ⋅ (T0 − T∞ ) Equation 16
dt

hkon is the convective heat transfer coefficient, [J/m2⋅s⋅K].

Heat Transport in Continuous Casting

In the mould, zone 1, the dominant heat transport mechanism is conduction
through several layers. The layers are mushy zone, solid metal, air gap, liquid slag,
solid slag, chromium layer on mould wall, copper in mould wall and mould

25
cooling water. The conduction through several layers can be treated as heat
transfer across a boundary. The heat transported from the steel in the mould can
be calculated by using the temperature difference of the mould cooling water.

Vwater ⋅ ρ water ⋅ C water ⋅ ∆Twater
Q=
p
Equation 17
A

Here Vwater is the water flow, ρwater is the density of the water (assumed to be
constant and =1 kg/m3, C pwater is the heat capacity of water (=4.184 [kJ/kg⋅K]), ∆T
is monitored and A is the contact area between cast material and mould, [m2].

A = (2 ⋅ b + 2 ⋅ d ) ⋅ (length of contact in the mould) Equation 18

Beneath the mould, in zone 2, the metal is cooled mainly by forced convection
when water is sprayed on the surface. In this the radiation and conduction
through support rolls dominates the process. The 3rd zone can be said to start as
the strand is solid across the entire cross-section. Here in this zone, the heat
transfers through radiation, natural convection and through conduction to the
support rolls.

Heat Transport in the Model for Oscillation Mark Formation

In the analysis of the oscillation mark formation, we consider convective heat
transfer to be the controlling one in the mould. We further assume that there are
two convective steps, heat transfer from the superheated melt, across a laminar
boundary layer, to the surface of the solidifying strand and heat transfer across a
gap between strand and mould. A conductive component is also include in our
analysis but we do not consider radiation apart from the fact that the convective
heat transfer coefficient for heat flow across the gap between shell and mould wall,
may include radiative transfer.
Air gap

Mould
wall

Solid
shell
Laminar boundary layer
Figure 27. The main heat transfer mechanisms at the meniscus are convective heat
transfer from the bulk liquid to the shell and convective heat transfer from the
shell to the mould.

26
Convective heat transfer is generally described by Equation 16. The first
convective step transports the superheat from the melt to the solidified shell. The
temperature of the melt outside the boundary layer is the Tsol+∆T, and the
temperature of the shell in contact with the melt is Tsol. In this analysis we treat
the solidification front as planar.

The other convective step transports heat from the solid shell to the mould wall.
The temperature of the outside surface of the solid shell is lower than Tsol but in
the meniscus region still quite close why we chose to use Tsol in our calculations.
The temperature of the mould wall is assumed to be 100°C. This value was
chosen because the mould is water cooled. The water channels are of course not
at the surface why the temperature of the surface is somewhat higher. Some
authors report 350°C.

The equations describing the two convective processes in the continuous casting
mould:

dQ
= h lam ⋅ A ⋅ ∆T Equation 19
dt
dQ
= h air ⋅ A ⋅ (Tsol − Tmould ) Equation 20
dt

The heat transfer from the melt to the shell

The heat transfer coefficient, hlam, can be determined as:

k melt
h lam = Equation 21
δ lam

where kmelt is the heat conductivity of the melt and δlam is the thickness of the
laminar velocity boundary layer at the meniscus. Using an appropriate
approximation for the flow, calculation of the thickness of a boundary layer can
be done. The flow in our case can be described as flow passing a straight,
horizontal, long cylinder and the thickness of the boundary layer is [26]:

L L
δ lam = = Equation 22
C ⋅ Ra n  g ⋅ β ⋅ (TS − T∞ ) ⋅ L3 
n

C ⋅  

 ν⋅α 

The constants C and n depends on the size of the Rayleigh number and are listed
in Table 2 [26].

27
Table 2. The constants C and n for different Rayleigh numbers.
RaL C n
10-10-10-2 0.675 0.058
10-2-102 1.02 0.148
102-104 0.85 0.188
104-107 0.48 0.25
107-1012 0.125 0.333

The heat transfer from the shell to the mould

The heat transfer coefficient at the meniscus will determine the thickness of the
shell tip present before the oscillation mark starts to form. In this region, there is
only a very narrow air gap, and the heat transfer can be rather high. A slag film is
present and perhaps also a solid slag rim. The heat transfer depends on:

● Thickness of air gap
● Thickness of solid slag layer on mould wall
●Thickness of liquid slag layer
●Thermal conductivity of solid and liquid slag

One way to determine the heat transfer coefficient across the gap, filled with slag,
is to use Equation 21:

k gap
h=
δ gap

The heat conductivity of the liquid slag is approximately 1 W/mK [8], [28]. In
their values, both the actual conduction and the radiation are included. The
thickness of the vertical liquid flux layer has been evaluated from the consumption
of casting powder. Several authors report average values of 0.2 mm [28]. With
these values, we get a heat transfer coefficient of 5000 W/m2·K. In this
approximation we assume that there is no air gap or solid slag layer. The
maximum heat transfer coefficient has by other authors been reported to be up to
6000 W/m2·K.

Determination of Solid Shell Growth Rate and Shell Tip Radius

The radius of the initially formed solid shell tip, determines the oscillation mark
profile. This radius can be determined from a heat balance. The heat that must be
transported to the mould is the heat of solidification and the superheat of the melt
and, assuming that Nu<<1 (since the shell is very thin), the heat flux gets:

28
dQ dx dT
= A ⋅ ρ metal ⋅ − ∆H ⋅ + V ⋅ ρ metal ⋅ C P ⋅ Equation 23
dt dt dt

To make the superheat easier to treat, we treat it as heat transfer across a laminar
boundary layer as described above:

dQ dx
= A ⋅ ρ metal ⋅ − ∆H ⋅ + A ⋅ h lam ⋅ ∆T Equation 24
dt dt

The heat transported away is assumed to pass across the air gap between strand
and mould is given by Equation 20 and the heat transfer coefficient by Equation
21.

dQ
= A ⋅ h gap ⋅ (Tsol − Tmould )
dt

k gap
h gap =
δ gap

We put the transferred heat equal to the heat formed during cooling and
solidification and can get an expression for the shell growth rate:

dx h gap ⋅ (Tsol − Tmould ) − h lam ⋅ ∆T
= Equation 25
dt ρ ⋅ (− ∆H )

The radius of the shell tip can be calculated from this expression assuming that it
forms in one time-step.

h gap ⋅ (Tsol − Tmould ) − h lam ⋅ ∆T
R= ⋅ timestep Equation 26
ρ ⋅ (− ∆H )

Solidification in the z-direction

The solidified shell may conduct heat in the z-direction, causing the shell tip to
grow upwards. The shapes of the shell tips indicates that this happens, since the
tips often are parabolic instead of half circular or more flat. An accurate analysis
of this mechanism would include determining the surface temperature profile and
the variation of the shell thickness. Note that with the assumption Nu<<1, no
heat transport in the z-direction is possible.

29
6.2 Surface tension balance and angles between phases

Surface tension is the physical phenomena that make free drops spherical and
razor blades not to sink in water. The surface tension is due to surface atoms not
having their bindings occupied in one direction. There will be an excess energy in
the surface and as all systems try to minimize its energy, a drop will try to get
spherical shape, since a sphere has the smallest area to volume ratio. By definition,
surface tension acts between a liquid or solid surface and vapour. When treating
surfaces between liquids, or between a liquid and a solid, the property is named
interfacial tension. The unit of surface tension and interfacial tension is [J/m2] or
[N/m].

β
β

Figure 28. Sessile drops for high and for low surface tensions. β is the wetting
angle.

One common method for determining the surface tension is to measure the shape
of sessile drops, see figure 28, the higher surface tension, the more spherical drop.
The surface tension and the interfacial tension depend strongly on the content of
impurities. Some elements, so-called surface-active agents or surfactants, will
concentrate at the surface/interface and reduce the surface/interfacial tension.
One important example is the effect of sulphur on the surface tension of liquid
iron, see figure 29.

2
Surface/Interfacial tension [J/m^2]

1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
Content sulphur in Fe [wt%]
Figure 29. The surface tension of the Fe-S-system decreases as the S-content
increases.

Similar behaviours are seen for steel and copper. The adsorption process also
lowers the surface tension. Adsorption is when a solid or a liquid binds foreign

30
atoms to its surface. The binding may be physical or chemical. In physical
adsorption, the adsorbed atoms can easily be removed since the attraction forces
are very small. In chemical adsorption the attraction forces are large, and the
adsorbed elements are hard to remove. Adsorption can be active at continuous
casting of both steel and copper. There might be specimens in the protective
media that adsorbs at the surface and thereby reduces the surface tension.
Another possible process influencing the surface tension is when there are
reactions between metal and slag/salt/atmosphere. A mass transport across a
phase boundary will cause a decrease in surface/interfacial tension. The
surface/interfacial tension also depend on the temperature, an increasing
temperature decreases the surface tension [24], [25].

Three phases in contact will establish a multiphase equilibrium. The Dupré
equation describes the equilibrium:

γ 23 γ 13 γ
= = 12 Equation 27
sin Ω1 sin Ω 2 sin Ω 3

where γii are the surface/interfacial tensions and Ωi the angles between the phases
[29].

The present phases will establish a surface/interfacial tension balance, which
decides the angles between the phases. The equilibrium surface/interfacial tension
balance can be calculated for the principal geometry in Figure 30:

V or slag or salt

S L

σLV
γ
σSV
β
α
σSL
β+γ-180°

Figure 30. The present phases will establish an interfacial tension balance.

For this geometry, the following equations are valid:

31
α + β + γ = 360° Equation 28

 σ LV σ σ 
Equation 29
 = SV =  SL  Dupré equation
 sin α sin β  sin γ 
σ 2 = σ 2 + σ 2 − σ ⋅ σ ⋅ cos(β + γ − 180°) Cosine theorem Equation 30
 LV SV SL SV SL

This system can be solved:

σ 
β = arcsin SV ⋅ sin α  Equation 31
 σ LV 
σ  σ 
α + β + γ = α + arcsin SV ⋅ sin α  + γ = 360° → γ = 360° − α − arcsin SV ⋅ sin α 
 σ LV   σ LV 
σ 2LV = σ SV
2
+ σ SL
2
− σ SV ⋅ σ SL ⋅ cos(β + γ − 180°) =
 σ  σ  
= σ SV
2
+ σ SL
2
− σ SV ⋅ σ SL ⋅ cos arcsin SV ⋅ sin α  + 360° − α − arcsin SV ⋅ sin α  − 180°  =
  σ LV   σ LV  
= σ SV
2
+ σ SL
2
− σ SV ⋅ σ SL ⋅ cos(180° − α ) = σ SV
2
+ σ SL
2
+ σ SV ⋅ σ SL ⋅ cos α
 σ 2LV − σ SV
2
− σ SL
2

→ α = arccos 
 Equation 32
 σ SV ⋅ σ SL 

and
σ   σ 2 − σ SV
2
− σ SL
2
  
β = arcsin SV ⋅ sin  arccos LV 
 Equation 33
 σ LV  σ ⋅ σ
   SV SL 

6.3 Pressure balance and meniscus shape

At the upper surface of a liquid metal in any kind of tube, a meniscus is formed.
The shape of the meniscus has been described by Bikerman [2]:

a a 2 + 2a 2 − z 2
x − x 0 = − 2a 2 − z 2 + ln Equation 34
2 z

x is the direction perpendicular to the mould wall and z is parallel to the wall.

x0 = a −
a
2
( )
⋅ ln 2 + 1 ≈ 0.3768a Equation 35
2⋅σ
a2 = Equation 36
(ρ metal − ρ surr ) ⋅ g

32
The Laplace capillary constant, a2, is based on a pressure balance. The classical
formulation takes metallostatic pressure and surface tension into account but may
be completed with other pressure terms, such as pressure caused by movements in
the liquid metal or pressure caused by an electromagnetic field.

Derivation of Laplace capillary constant

The derivation of the Laplace capillary constant starts with putting metallostatic
pressure equal to the pressure caused by the interfacial tension:

σ dϕ
g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surr ) ⋅ z = = σ ⋅ sin ϕ ⋅ Equation 37
R dz

If this expression is integrated, we end up with:

g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surr ) ⋅ z 2 = 2σ ⋅ (1 − cos ϕ) Equation 38

The conditions at the wall are that the liquid surface is vertical or:

π
ϕ=
2

which means that

g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surr ) ⋅ z 2 = 2σ Equation 39

The maximum height of the meniscus is z, i.e. the Laplace capillary constant:


z= Equation 40
g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surr )

The density of the protective media of course changes if we change media. The
Bikerman profile may also be changed by changing the interfacial tension term or
the gravitational acceleration. Figure 31 shows the Bikerman profile for different
interfacial tensions and different densities of protective media.

33
0

Surface tension:
−0.01 Density of surrounding media: 0.7 J/m2 − red line

z [m]
2000 kg/m3 1.88 J/m2 − blue line
7 J/m2 − green line
−0.02

0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09 0.1
x [m]

Figure 31 a. The meniscus profile for different interfacial tensions between metal
and media. The higher interfacial tension, the higher profile.

0

−0.01 Surface tension: Density of surrounding media:
z [m]

1.88 J/m2 1 kg/m3 − red line
2000 kg/m3 − blue line
−0.02

0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09 0.1
x [m]

Figure 31 b. The meniscus profiles for iron with different protective media.
Different media have different densities. A higher density gives a higher meniscus,
the blue curve.

The oscillation will cause variation of the meniscus shape [3]. The effect of the
oscillation on the Laplace capillary constant can either be considered as a variation
of the friction force between steel and protective media of as a variation of the
gravitational acceleration. If we choose the friction force approach, we can let the
interfacial tension vary since the friction force and the surface tension will act in
the same way. As the mould moves upwards, the meniscus height will decrease
which corresponds to a low surface tension. The downward movement can in the
same way be treated as an increase of the surface tension. A proper analysis of the
friction force would include determination of the velocity gradient in the media
protecting the steel, e.g. slag. Apart from the velocity profile we need to know the
viscosity of the media. In a casting process the viscosity of a slag may change due
to reactions between slag and metal.

The variation of the gravitational acceleration may be treated in the following way:

The position of the mould moving according to a sine function is:

y = s ⋅ sin (2 ⋅ π ⋅ f ⋅ t ) Equation 41

The velocity of the oscillating mould is described by the derivative of the sine
function, i.e:

34
v = 2 ⋅ π ⋅ f ⋅ s ⋅ cos(2 ⋅ π ⋅ f ⋅ t ) Equation 42

The acceleration of the mould is the derivative of the velocity, i.e. a sine function:

acc = − (2 ⋅ π ⋅ f )2 ⋅ s ⋅ sin (2 ⋅ π ⋅ f ⋅ t ) Equation 43

The Laplace capillary constant can thus be written.
2⋅σ
a2 = Equation 44
(ρ L − ρ surr ) ⋅ (g + (− (2 ⋅ π ⋅ f )2 ⋅ s ⋅ sin (2 ⋅ π ⋅ f ⋅ t )))
The time, t, will vary between 0 and the maximum time, which is the period, T:

1
T= Equation 45
f

It is possible to reformulate the Bikerman equation for other cases. We can take
liquid metal movement or electromagnetic pressure into account.

If we include liquid metal movements in the balance, the final expression will be:

z=−
ρm ⋅ v2
+
(ρ ⋅ v2 )
m
2

+
2 ⋅ σ L / surr
Equation 46
2 ⋅ g(ρ m − ρ surr ) (2 ⋅ g(ρ m − ρ surr )) g ⋅ (ρ m − ρ surr )
2

A simplified approximation of the meniscus height, under the influence of an
electromagnetic field, was performed by Sundberg [30] and gives:

2
µ ⋅H
h≈ 0 Equation 47
2gρ

ρ is the density of the melt and for steel with the density 7000 kg/m3 at the field
strength H =2 *105 A/m we get the meniscus height [30]:

h≈
(
4π ⋅ 10 −7 ⋅ 2 ⋅ 10 5 ) 2

= 0.366 m
2 ⋅ 9.81 ⋅ 7000

Pressure Balance and Angles between the Phases

The angle between the liquid phase and the solid tip can be determined by
derivation of the Bikerman equation:

35
 a a 2 + 2a 2 − z 2 
d  − 2a 2 − z 2 + ln + x0 
dx  2 z 
=   Equation 48
dt dt

dx z a  −z 1  dz
− ⋅
dt
=
2a 2 − z 2
+
2  ( 2a 2
)(
− z 2 ⋅ a 2 + 2a 2 − z 2 ) z  dt
Equation 49

The chain rule for derivatives gives

dx dx dz
= ⋅ Equation 50
dt dz dt

and thus

dx
dx dt z a  −z 1
− 
=
dz dz
=
2a − z
2 2
+
2  ( 2a 2
)(
− z ⋅ a 2 + 2a − z
2 2 2
) z 
Equation 51
dt

The angle β is

 dx 
β = arc cot  −  Equation 52
 dz 

7. Theoretical analysis

7.1 The model for the oscillation mark formation

When the liquid metal level is the proper one, the withdrawal of the product starts.
To keep the level constant, new melt is constantly poured down into the mould.
This simultaneous filling and withdrawal, makes the meniscus height increase until
the interfacial tension balance, between the three phases solid, liquid and
protective media, collapses and an overflow occur. The overflowing melt will get
quite close to the mould wall and a solid shell will immediately form and the
process starts over again, see Figure 32. We see that the shell growth occur in
steps – this behaviour was also seen on the break-out shell, see figure 10.

36
Figure 32. The height of the meniscus increases until it collapses as the surface
tension balance gets unstable. The melt will flow over the shell tip and a mark is
formed

The first approach

First we chose to do the calculations according to a model in which we start with a
planar surface and let the liquid meniscus move as determined by the solidification
inwards and the withdrawal downwards. We then assumed that a microscopic
interfacial tension balance was established between the liquid metal, one dendrite
tip and the protective media. The model is described by the figure 33. The shape
of the mark calculated according to this model gets concave in its lower part.

Liquid Liquid Liquid
Liquid
Liquid
Liquid
Liquid

a. b. c. d. e. f. g.

Solid
Solid
Solid
Solid Solid
Figure 33. Our first attempt of calculating the oscillation mark profile was based
on the idea of a flat upper surface and a liquid meniscus moving inwards and
“upwards”.

The second approach

In the second approach we chose to start with a shell with a half-circular tip. The
radius of the tip was determined by a heat balance using the maximum heat

37
transfer coefficient. This shell with its radius was assumed to move inwards as
described by figure 34. The withdrawal of the strand and the constant level in the
mould made the shell tip with the constant radius virtually move upwards. The
macroscopic interfacial tension balance determines where along the half circular
tip the liquid meniscus would be situated after each time step. The meniscus
grows higher for each time step and its shape will follow the Bikerman equation
why it above its critical height will move towards the mould wall. The distance
between the marks will be about the total height of the meniscus taking the
oscillation into consideration. In this assumption, a solid shell tip of the same
radius is growing upwards and inwards. The shell withdrawal continues which
makes the liquid meniscus height to increase until it “bulges” back. The bulge gets
in contact with the mould wall and immediately solidifies. A new cycle is started.

Liquid Liquid Liquid Liquid Liquid

Solid
Solid
Solid
Solid

Solid

Figure 34. The model that we based most of our calculations on, assume a half-
circular shell tip.

Optimal oscillation frequency

The main hypothesis in the work is that there is an optimal oscillation frequency
for which the mark formation gets very stable. At this frequency, all the marks
have the same depth and there is no pattern of different marks. The oscillation
causes a variation of the meniscus height and it may be possible to avoid the mark
formation. If the oscillation frequency is chosen so that the maximum meniscus
height is never reached, the overflows will not occur. In other words, if the mould
is turning to upward movement just as the maximum meniscus height is reached,
the overflow will be suppressed. The optimal oscillation frequency is suggested to
be:
v
f= Equation 53
2 ⋅a

and Equation 36 gives:

38
2 ⋅ σ metal / surrounding
a=
g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surrounding )

Although it may be hard to totally suppress the marks, it is suggested that the
surface quality gets considerably improved if an oscillation frequency close to the
ideal one is chosen. It may also be advantageously to choose an oscillation
frequency that is twice the ideal one. Then every second mark will be “ideal” and
the others are deeper and more likely to cause defects.

7.2 Calculation of oscillation mark profile

The first approach

According to the Bikerman profile, the original height of the meniscus is that
where the distance between the meniscus and the wall is as small as possible. A
heat balance between the heat transported across the air gap and the heat of
solidification gives the growth rate of the shell.

The heat transported across the air gap is described by Equation 20:

dQ
= h ⋅ A ⋅ (Tshell − Tmould )
dt

and the heat of solidification can, according to Equation 23, be written as:

dQ dx
= A ⋅ ρ ⋅ (− ∆H ) ⋅
dt dt

Assuming that all heat is transported across the gap between the metal and the
mould, the two equations must be equal and the following expression for the
growth rate of the shell results.

dx h ⋅ (Tshell − Tmould )
= Equation 54
dt ρ L ⋅ (− ∆H )

dz
The pulling rate, , of the strand is known and the assumptions above give z as
dt
a function of time in Bikerman equation. Putting z into the Bikerman equation
and derivate it, gives the angle β. Comparing the angle from the surface tension
∆air gap
balance with from the Bikerman profile makes it possible to determine
∆height
the height of the meniscus and the air gap for each step.

39
When the calculations are begun, it is assumed that the upper surface is almost flat.
The shell grows inwards and a surface tension balance is established between the
solid and the liquid. The heat flow will be perpendicular to the mould surface. The
depth of an oscillation mark was calculated by derivate the Bikerman equation and
by solving the other equations numerically for a number of time steps.

The second approach

The calculation of the marks shape start by assuming that a shell with a half-
circular tip solidifies in one time step. The thickness of this shell is determined by
the maximum heat transfer coefficient and the time step length. The radius of the
tip is assumed to be half the shell thickness. On top of the shell tip, there will be a
liquid meniscus. The shape of the meniscus depends on the interfacial tension
between liquid metal and protective media. We treat the frictional forces caused
by the oscillation as a variation of the interfacial tension. As soon as the mould
changes direction, the interfacial tension changes and so does the shape of the
meniscus. The position of the meniscus along the solidified shell tip is determined
by the interfacial tension balance. This angle is put into the derivative of the
Bikerman equation to get the position along the meniscus. In the next time step,
the solid tip has moved inwards and “upwards”. A new surface tension balance is
established and since the liquid metal level in the mould is kept constant and the
growth “upwards” is slower than the withdrawal, the height of the meniscus will
increase until it “bulges” over and gets in contact with the mould wall. A new first
shell tip is solidified and the next mark starts to form.

8. Results of calculations

The first approach

The oscillation mark profile was calculated for two cases: i, No superheat and ii, A
superheat of 30°C. The first approach gives concave marks as shown in Figure 35.

40
Figure 35. The oscillation mark profile calculated in our first attempt. The mark
gets concave.

The second approach

The calculations of the oscillation mark profiles shows that the oscillation mark
width and depth increases as the interfacial tension increase, see Figures 36, 37
and 39. 1.88 J/m2, is the equilibrium interfacial tension between melt and metal
vapour. The lower value, 0.7 J/m2, corresponds to upward mould movement and
the higher interfacial tension, 7 J/m2, corresponds to downward mould movement.
Marks formed as the mould moves upwards should according to our model get
smaller in both width and depth, while marks formed during down strokes get
wider and deeper. The calculations show that if the mould changes direction
during the formation of the mark, the mark profile will be influenced.

41
width, hlam=600 W/m2K
7

OSM depth and width [mm]
6 width, hlam=22000 W/m2K

5

4

3

2
depth, hlam=600 W/m2K
1 depth, hlam=22000 W/m2K

0
0 2 4 6 8
Interfacial tension between melt and surrounding [J/m^2]
Figure 36. The calculations show that the width and the depth of the oscillation
marks increase with increasing interfacial tension between liquid and vapour. A
lower laminar heat transfer coefficient gives wider and deeper marks.

Figures 37 and 38 are for hlam=600 W/m2K which is a guessed value. A first
analysis gave hlam=22000 W/m2K and Figures 39 and 40 are for this value. A
higher hlam gives smaller width and depth of the marks. In Figures 37-40, the red
curves are for no solidification in the z-direction. The green curves are for
solidification in the z-direction of half the one in the x-direction. The blue curves
are for solidification in the z-direction of the same magnitude as the one in the x-
direction.

42
−3 −3
x 10 x 10
3.5 6
S.T. 0.7 S.T.1.88 S.T. 7 S.T. 0.7; 7 S.T. 1.88; 7
0.01 0.01 0.01
3
5 0.009 0.009 0.009

2.5 0.008 0.008 0.008
4
height [m] 0.007 0.007 0.007

height [m]

height [m]

height [m]

height [m]
2
0.006 0.006 0.006
3
0.005 0.005 0.005
1.5
0.004 0.004 0.004
2
1 0.003 0.003 0.003

1 0.002
0.002 0.002
0.5
0.001
0.001 0.001

0 0 0
0 5 0 0.5 1 0 1 2 0 0
depth [m] −4 depth [m] −3 depth [m] −3 0 1 2 0 1 2
x 10 x 10 x 10 depth [m] −3 depth [m] −3
x 10 x 10

Figure 37. The OSM-profiles for three Figure 38. OSM-profiles for
different interfacial tensions: 0.7, 1.88 increasing interfacial tensions and
and 7 J/m2 and hlam=600 W/m2K. hlam=600 W/m2K. σLV is suddenly
changed from lower to higher at one
point.
−3 −3 −3 −3
x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10
3 5 0.01 5 5
S.T. 0.7 S.T 1.88 S.T. 7 S.T. 7, 1.88 S.T 7, 0.7

4.5 0.009 4.5 4.5
2.5
4 0.008 4 4

3.5 0.007 3.5 3.5
2

3 0.006 3 3
height [m]
height

height
height
height

1.5 2.5 0.005 2.5 2.5

2 0.004 2 2
1
1.5 0.003 1.5 1.5

1 0.002 1 1
0.5
0.5 0.001 0.5 0.5

0 0 0 0 0
0
depth [m]−45 0 0.5 1 0 1 2 0 0.5 1 0 0.5 1
depth [m] −3 depth [m] −3 depth [m] −3 depth [m] −3
x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10

Figure 39. The OSM-profiles for three Figure 40. OSM-profiles for
different interfacial tensions: 0.7, 1.88 and 7 decreasing σLV and hlam=22000
J/m2 and hlam=22000 W/m2K. W/m2K. σLV is suddenly changed
from higher to lower at one point.

43
9. Discussion

There are two types of oscillation marks: overflow marks and folding marks. We
suggest that they both are caused by overflows. The difference in their appearance
depends on that they form at different places in the oscillation cycle. The overflow
marks are formed during the down strokes, and the folding marks during the
upstrokes, see Figure 41.

Figure 41. The sinus curve indicates the mould movement and the vertical lines
are the overflows. The first two overflows will produce overflow marks, the next
two folding marks and the fifth, an overflow mark.

The experiments shows that the oscillation marks may form patterns, see Figure
14. One deeper mark is followed by some shallow marks. Then there comes a
deep one and so on. It is believed that the deeper marks form when the interfacial
tension and the oscillation co-operates as shown in Figure 41. We further suggest
that it is possible to avoid the oscillation mark formation by avoiding the
overflows. This is because the oscillation causes a variation of the meniscus profile,
as described for example by Takeuchi et al. [3]. If the oscillation frequency is
chosen so that the maximum meniscus height is never reached, the overflows will
not occur. In other words, if the mould is turning to upward movement just as the
maximum meniscus height is reached, the overflow will be suppressed. The
optimal oscillation frequency is suggested to be:

v
f= Equation 51
2 ⋅a

and Equation 36 gives:

2 ⋅ σ metal / surrounding
a=
g ⋅ (ρ metal − ρ surrounding )

This term may be modified taking liquid movement, electromagnetic fields and
even mould oscillation into account as described in Chapter 6.3.

44
Figure 42 shows the relation between casting velocity and oscillation frequency for
different interfacial tensions. The triangles represent the performed experiments at
the billet casting plant at Fundia Special Bar AB in Smedjebacken.

Interfacial tension 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.0
2

1,5

1

0,5

0
0 50 100 150 200 250
Frequency [1/min]

Figure 42. A diagram showing the ideal relation between oscillation frequency and
casting speed can be constructed. The solid lines represent the relation for
different interfacial tensions. This curve is for the billet casting at Fundia Special
Bar AB in Smedjebacken. The solid triangles represent the experiments performed.

The hooks present in some oscillation marks is assumed to be the shell present
when the mark forms. The break-out shell study indicates that the shell thickness
is a couple of millimetres when the marks form. Close to the ideal oscillation
frequency, the fraction of marks with cracks has a minimum (Figure 13), the
oscillation mark distance has a maximum (Figure 15), the fraction of deeper marks
has a minimum (Figure 18) and the depth of deep marks has a minimum (Figure
24). The surface quality in all gets better and more stable. It is also interesting to
see how the heat transfer increases for the optimal oscillation frequency (Figure
26). Together these factors form a strong incentive for trying to optimise the
oscillation parameters in industrial continuous casting processes.

The calculations performed in the theoretical work shows that the mark shapes
changes when the interfacial tension changes. If the oscillation is assumed to cause
changes in the interfacial tension, this means that marks formed at different times
of the oscillation cycle will have different properties. The calculations is thus also
supporting the idea of an optimal oscillation frequency – i.e. by choosing an
oscillation frequency that admits the marks to form at the same time in the
oscillation cycle, the marks will get more even and less harmful.

45
10. Future works

The formation of oscillation marks in continuous casting has been thoroughly
examined by us and by many other authors. More work may be needed in
electromagnetic casting methods and on the function of casting powder. One
suggestion is to study the oscillation marks on material cast under influence of an
electromagnetic field and use a modified version of the Laplace capillary constant
to optimise the oscillation frequency. Another suggestion is a work aiming to
connect optimal oscillation frequency to casting powder composition for very
crack sensitive steel grades. Casting powder selection is though still a dark field
that need some efforts. The shell growth in the mould is interesting, not only for
the oscillation mark formation, but for basically all problems concerning
continuous casting. An interesting experiment would be to, for different
oscillation frequencies, determine the actual shell growth in the mould by adding
some element that will deposit at the solidification front and be detectable at a
segregation analysis. A bigger study of break-out shells may also give valuable
information about the phenomena occurring in the continuous casting mould.

46
11. Acknowledgements

First I wish to thank my supervisor Professor Hasse Fredriksson for the
cooperation, and the administrative staff at the department: Ms Lena
Magnusson, for the support throughout my rough times and Mrs Elisabeth
Lampén, for keeping everything together at the department.

Thanks also the Swedish Iron Masters Association and the Faxén Laboratory
for financing and to the companies who let me perform experiments:

The former Danish Steel Works Ltd. (DDS), Frederiksvaerk, Denmark –
especially Mr Bernt Lodin.
Fundia Special Bar AB, Smedjebacken, Sweden – especially Mr Gunnar Hällén.
Fundia Armeringsstål A/S, Mo-i-Rana, Norway – especially Mr Arne-Eirik
Eide.
Outokumpu Copper Partner AB, Västerås, Sweden – especially Dr Karin
Hansson, Mr Rolf Grödén, Dr Jafar Mahmoudi and Mr Stieg Andersson
AvestaPolarit AB, Avesta, Sweden – especially Mr Tommy Acimovic, Mr
Niklas Nilsson and Mr Anders Appell.

The Swedish Institute for Metals Research let me use the surface profilometer
and taught me how to use it. Thank You – especially to Mr Hans Bruce and Mr
Mårten Persson.

I would also express my gratitude to:
Mr Thomas Bergström for experimental assistance.
Mr Björn Widell, who helped me get started with the experiments.
Mr José Tinoco and Mr Futsum Hailom Yosef, my roommates, who have to
see my messy desk and gladly share their knowledge about their home countries.
Members of Casting of Metals, former and present, especially Ms Jenny Kron
and Mr Anders Lagerstedt for all our discussions about everything.

Further I want to thank all my friends for the good times, particularly Annika
Brännström, Patrik Persson and Peter Mattesson for the invaluable friendship.

I also wish to thank my mom and dad: Elisabeth and Mats for raising me to an
independent person and my brother Mattias and my sister Jenny for always
helping me keep courage.

Finally I thank my love in life Bernt-Åke for his tolerance, patience and never-
ending support and our son Hugo for filling my life with extraordinary joy. I love
you both!

47
12. References

1. Irving, W.R. ”Continuous casting of steel”, The Institute of Materials, London
1993

2. Bikerman J.J. ”Physical surfaces”, Academic press, New York & London 1970

3. Takeuchi E., Brimacombe J.K., Metallurgical Transactions B, Vol. 15 B,
September 1984, pp. 493-509

4. Lanyi M. D., Rosa C. J., Metallurgical Transactions B, Vol. 12B, June 1981, pp.
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5. Pinheiro C. A., Samarasekara I.V., Brimacombe J.K., Iron and Steelmaker,
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6. Riboud P. V., Larrecq M., Steelmaking Conference Proceedings, Vol. 74,
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48
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23. Lainez E., Busturia J. C., 1st European Conference on Continuous Casting,
Florence, Italy 1991, pp. 1.621-1.631

24. Encyclopedia Britannica

25. Iida T., Guthrie R. I. L. ”The Physical Properties of Liquid Metals”, Clarendon
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26. Incropera F. P., DeWitt D. P. “Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, 4th
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28. Yamauchi A., Sorimachi K., Sakuraya T., Fujii T., ISIJ International, Vol. 33
(1993), No. 1, pp. 140-147

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1978

49