Through collaboration with more than 110 external organizations, CIVS faculty, staff, and students have utilized simulation and visualization technologies to benefit more than 350 projects investigating such diverse topics as:
- Development of safety training simulators for steel industry and utility company workers
- Blast furnace fuel injection optimization
- Cooling tower water circulating systems
- Numerical optimization of a diesel engine intake manifold
- Predictive maintenance for industrial furnace fans
- Interactive GIS-based technology for regional planning and economic development
How could simulation and visualization technologies help your company?
Design: Product designs, and industrial processes, can be numerically modeled before they are physically created to show flow patterns, chemical reactions, heat transfer, fatigue/stress, and to predict mechanical failure or expected lifetime.
Optimization: Designs and processes can be updated to increase productivity, lower environmental impact, reduce energy usage, and improve quality.
Trouble-shooting: Issues can be identified and corrected before or after implementation to reduce failures, mitigate flow or wear problems, and avoid unnecessary downtime.
Virtual Reality (VR) Benefits:
Training: VR can be used, in an easy-to-understand system, for virtual training in environments that might normally be physically inaccessible or impractical to recreate. Interactive simulators provide lifelike, engaging environments where workers can be guided through work tasks and virtually experience the consequences of both safe and unsafe workplace actions.
Visualization: VR systems allow complicated simulation data to be represented in an easily interpreted visual 3D environment to get better and faster solutions.
Example: Development of a Comprehensive Blast Furnace Package
Ironmaking and steelmaking involve many capital- and energy-intensive processes, and prime among these processes is blast furnace reduction of iron ore. Due to the complexity of physical phenomena/reactions and difficulties in taking measurements, researchers at CIVS utilized numerical simulation and virtual reality (VR) visualization to obtain the knowledge needed for optimization of blast furnace operation.
In collaboration with industry professionals, CIVS students and researchers created a comprehensive blast furnace package combining numerical simulations of various complex processes with a virtual reality blast furnace system. The comprehensive package included typical operations such as charging process, burden descending and gas distribution, coke and coal combustion, bottom hearth inner profile, etc. Development of the blast furnace package allowed researchers, plant engineers, operators, and other personnel to bring their experiences directly into the design and optimization process, to:
- Extend furnace operational life and increase productivity
- Improve energy efficiency
- Reduce pollutant emissions and avoid downtime
Significant impacts on blast furnace operation and further research and development have included:
- Savings of over $20 million in cost avoidances
- Guidance for design, monitoring, and optimization
- A virtual blast furnace for training
- Copyrighted software packages
Testimonials from Industry Collaborators