Experimental and numerical investigations of arc plasma expansion in an industrial vacuum arc remelting (VAR) process
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review
External Organisational units
- Christian Doppler-Labor für Verfahrenstechnik bei hohen Temperaturen
- Brno University of Technology
- Inteco Melting and Casting Technologies GmbH
In the present study, we investigate arc plasma expansion in an industrial vacuum arc remelting (VAR) process using experimental and numerical tools. Stainless steel is the alloy of interest for the electrode (cathode) and ingot (anode). During the operation of the VAR process, behaviors of cathode spots and plasma arc were captured using the high-speed camera (Phantom v2512). We found that spots prefer to onset and remain within the partially melted surface at the center of the electrode tip. Existing spots outside the melting zone accelerate toward the edge of the electrode to extinguish. We observed a fairly symmetrical and centric plasma column during the operation. For further investigation of the observed arc column in our experiment, we used the two-fluid magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) model of plasma proposed by Braginskii. Thus, we modeled the arc column as a mixture of two continuous interpenetrating compressible fluids involving ions and electrons. Through numerical simulations, we calculated plasma parameters such as number density of ions/electrons, electric current density, flow of ions/electrons, temperature of ions/electrons, and light intensity for the observed arc column in our experiment. The calculated light intensity of plasma was compared with images captured by the camera to verify the model. The distribution of electric current density along the surface of the anode, namely ingot, is a decisive parameter that impacts the quality of the final product (ingot) in VAR process. Herein, we confirm that the traditionally used Gaussian distribution of electric current density along the surface of the ingot is viable.