Applications of numerical modeling and virtual reality visualization to industrial processes

Daniel John Ratko, Purdue University


Developments of numerical models and advances in computational capacity have created many opportunities for industrial companies. In order to take advantage of these opportunities without facilitating the research directly, partnerships are created with universities to collaboratively solve these issues. Since researchers who are experts in numerical modeling are not typically employed by industry, communication of the often complex results is sometimes difficult. After a long term partnership, it also is very difficult for even the researchers to conceptualize all the comprehensive details of the past research. Virtual reality is being used as a medium to explain the numerical models in a more intuitive visual format with varying levels of detail. Virtual reality is also being used to summarize many different numerical models into simple packages, making it easy to understand the relationship between them. A power company has observed exhaust flow restrictions in a coal fired power generation station preventing the plant from reaching its maximum output capacity. One possible problem area identified by operators is located in the duct sections that join multiple boilers exhaust systems. The physical location and inhospitable environment inside this duct make it nearly impossible to directly observe flow problems. The second chapter of this work presents the numerical modeling results and analysis of the flow pattern found inside the current exhaust joining sections. Different permutations of the base case have been investigated as possible solutions to the problem. The results for each case show pressure drops, mass flow rates, and a uniformity analysis. Visual analysis techniques are employed to aide in the universal understanding of the results. The blast furnace is one of the critical components used in the iron and steel making industry. The blast furnace uses structural components, chemical reactions, and mechanical processing to convert the raw material iron oxide into liquefied iron. The extreme temperatures and dangerous internal conditions make direct observation of phenomenon and mechanisms impossible. Many specific numerical models have been created to describe the different phenomenon in detail. The discontinuity of the individual numerical models combined with their inherent complexity make it difficult for non-experts to understand. The fourth chapter of this work describes a virtual reality blast furnace that is created using combinations of numeric and geometric modeling data. The virtual reality blast furnace is designed to bring complex research together promoting universal understanding. The virtual reality model is ultimately intended to be used as a training tool for people involved aspects of the steel making industry, while providing insight for future research.




Zhou, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server