Nozzle clogging in continuous casting of steel originates by the adherence of alumina particles and other oxides, precipitated during the liquid steel deoxidation, on the refractory material’s surface. Hence, these particles’ nucleation and growth rates in supersaturated melts are analyzed considering, specifically, the role of the interfacial tensions between alumina, silica, and other oxides and the liquid metal. Weak steel deoxidizers like silicon do not need high supersaturations favoring high nucleation rates, giving particles’ narrow size distributions thanks to fast diffusion and Ostwald-ripening coagulation. Strong deoxidizers, like aluminum, need high supersaturation levels leading to broad size distributions. Besides, the morphology of these particles depends on the nucleation and growth mechanisms. The adhesion forces among the deoxidation particles, forming clusters, depending on the morphology and the oxide’s chemistry. The stability of the nozzle’s clog, adhered to the nozzle’s wall, depends on the interface tensions between the melt and the nozzle’s refractory surface and between the melt and the inclusion. The results obtained here help set up basic recommendations in steel refining and materials specifications of casting nozzles.
Part of the book: Casting Processes and Modelling of Metallic Materials