PhD Studentship Development of a novel lab-scale characterization technique for carbonaceous material injection and combustion into the blast furnace

The project will be carried out in collaboration with TATA Steel Europe and be co-supervised between Professor Seetharaman, Royal Academy of Engineering / Tata Steel Research Chair in Low Carbon Materials Technologies and personnel from TATA Steel Europe R&D.


Sustainable iron manufacturing requires flexibility with regards to raw materials and fuel to meet global changes in supply and regulations. This project will investigate the fundamental gasification/combustion characteristics of injectant materials (metallurgical and steam coals, novel carbons and biomass), including the mechanisms of release of volatiles from the injectants.

This will involve developing experimental method(s) to characterize the evolution of the materials in terms of chemistry, morphology and phases under conditions realistic to the blast furnace which includes peak temperature, heat transfer mechanisms, heating rate, operational pressure, gas composition and residence time. This will constitute a first step to selection for further evaluation in the tuyere rig or for exploitation in the full scale blast furnace.

Existing techniques have drawbacks in terms of:

achievement of sufficiently high peak temperatureparticle heating rateparticle interactionsrealistic operating pressureachieving short (10-20 ms) residence timecombustion gas compositioncapture and analysis of products (gas/solids) of combustionparticle size range

We propose an evaluation of the existing methods that are/have been used worldwide to simulate blast furnace conditions of combustion at the lab-scale, leading to the development of a novel tool/technique that would do this quickly at low cost, and allow for fundamental characterization of the combustion process, products and potential of the injectant materials.

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The project work plan will entail:

survey of available experimental methods and their benefits and limitations, and development of a hypothesis as to the suitability of current methods to capture the evolution in real processesdevelopment of an apparatus and measurements in selected materialsexplaining the fundamental reactions and thermodynamicsvalidation of experimental results suitable for the full scale application

Entry requirements:

Applicants should possess a first degree of at least a second class honours standard or equivalent.

A background in physical chemistry or chemical engineering with an interest in developing novel solutions to the high temperature characterization and processing of carbon source materials of diverse origin is required.

Knowledge of the blast furnace iron-making or combustion process would be an advantage.

Awards available: 1 award available

Funding Details: Fees and maintenance at RCUK Level

Length of Award: 3 years (PhD)

Eligibility: Due to funding restrictions this is available to Home (UK & EU) students

Application Details:

Any enquiries relating to the application process should be directed to Jennifer Kirkwood at

For further information, please visit:

Deadline: 30 June 2013

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