Numerical model building based on XFEM/level set method to simulate ledge freezing/melting in Hall-Héroult cell

Authors: Li, Min
Advisor: Fafard, MarioRobert, Jean-Loup
Abstract: During the Hall-Héroult process for smelting aluminium, the ledge formed by freezing the molten bath plays a significant role in maintaining the internal working condition of the cell at stable state. The present work aims at building a vertically two-dimensional numerical model to predict the ledge profile in the bath-ledge two-phase system through solving three interactive physical problems including the phase change problem (Stefan problem), the variation of bath composition and the bath motion. For the sake of simplicity, the molten bath is regarded as a binary system in chemical composition. Solving the three involved problems characterized by the free moving internal boundary and the presence of discontinuities at the free boundary is always a challenge to the conventional continuum-based methods. Therefore, as an alternative method, the extended finite element method (XFEM) is used to handle the local discontinuities in each solution space while the interface between phases is captured implicitly by the level set method. In the course of model building, the following subjects: 1) one-phase density driven flow 2) Stefan problem without convection mechanism in the binary system 3) Stefan problem with ensuing melt flow in pure material, are investigated by coupling each two of the problems mentioned above. The accuracy of the corresponding sub-models is verified by the analytical solutions or those obtained by the conventional methods. Finally, the model by coupling three physics is applied to simulate the freezing/melting of the bath-ledge system under certain scenarios. In the final application, the bath flow is described by Stokes equations and induced either by the density jump between different phases or by the buoyancy forces produced by the temperature or/and compositional gradients. The present model is characterized by the coupling of multiple physics, especially the liquid density and the melting point are dependent on the species concentration. XFEM also exhibits its accuracy and flexibility in dealing with different types of discontinuity based on a fixed mesh.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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