Numerical modelling of heat transfer in a tube furnace for steel wire annealing

Reaz Hasan, Noel Perera, S. Baddage, Martin Persson

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In order to relieve stresses from cold drawing and to regain ductility, steel wires are annealed in furnaces under prolonged exposure to an appropriate temperature termed as ‘soaking’. This ensures the attainment of the required product quality. Literature suggests that the annealing processes are still determined by trial and error approach due to a lack of standards and also due to the proprietary nature of furnace designs. This paper investigates the heat transfer mechanism in a 12-metre long tube furnace filled with an inert gas and through which a cold-rolled steel wire travels at a specified speed. The length of the furnace is divided into three regions i.e. heating zone, soaking zone and cooling zone of which the heating and the cooling zones are given special attention. The methodology involves the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics by coupling both solid (steel wire) and gaseous zones (Hydrogen or Nitrogen). Radiation has been incorporated via a suitable model and convection taken care of by considering laminar flow of gases. The results suggest that the time needed in the heating zone is influenced by the choices of the surrounding atmosphere, speeds of gas and of the wire. These factors have an impact on the wire drawing speed and eventually on the overall productivity. It is also implied that the proposed numerical method may be used to shorten the ‘soaking’ time and hence to reduce energy consumption. The work demonstrates the usefulness of CFD in understanding and optimisation of the transfer process as well as highlights the challenges associated with numerical results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Event29th International Manufacturing Conference (IMC29) - University of Ulster, Northern Ireland
Duration: 1 Aug 2012 → …


Conference29th International Manufacturing Conference (IMC29)
Period1/08/12 → …


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