US20130126121A1 - Method of continuous casting thin steel strip - Google Patents

Method of continuous casting thin steel strip Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130126121A1
US20130126121A1 US13/680,743 US201213680743A US2013126121A1 US 20130126121 A1 US20130126121 A1 US 20130126121A1 US 201213680743 A US201213680743 A US 201213680743A US 2013126121 A1 US2013126121 A1 US 2013126121A1
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Prior art keywords
casting
gas mixture
strip
carbon dioxide
pool
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Abandoned
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US13/680,743
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Gary MCQUILLILS
Dhiren Panda
Neil Ross
Leigh Wooley
Robert Nooning
Alan J. Deno
Mark Schlichting
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Nucor Corp
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Nucor Corp
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Priority to US201261652292P priority
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Priority to US13/680,743 priority patent/US20130126121A1/en
Assigned to NUCOR CORPORATION reassignment NUCOR CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: DENO, ALAN J., NOONING, ROBERT, SCHLICHTING, MARK, PANDA, DHIREN, MCQUILLIS, GARY, ROSS, NEIL, WOOLEY, Leigh
Publication of US20130126121A1 publication Critical patent/US20130126121A1/en
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22DCASTING OF METALS; CASTING OF OTHER SUBSTANCES BY THE SAME PROCESSES OR DEVICES
    • B22D11/00Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths
    • B22D11/16Controlling or regulating processes or operations
    • B22D11/18Controlling or regulating processes or operations for pouring
    • B22D11/181Controlling or regulating processes or operations for pouring responsive to molten metal level or slag level
    • B22D11/182Controlling or regulating processes or operations for pouring responsive to molten metal level or slag level by measuring temperature
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22DCASTING OF METALS; CASTING OF OTHER SUBSTANCES BY THE SAME PROCESSES OR DEVICES
    • B22D11/00Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths
    • B22D11/06Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths into moulds with travelling walls, e.g. with rolls, plates, belts, caterpillars
    • B22D11/0622Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths into moulds with travelling walls, e.g. with rolls, plates, belts, caterpillars formed by two casting wheels
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22DCASTING OF METALS; CASTING OF OTHER SUBSTANCES BY THE SAME PROCESSES OR DEVICES
    • B22D11/00Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths
    • B22D11/06Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths into moulds with travelling walls, e.g. with rolls, plates, belts, caterpillars
    • B22D11/0637Accessories therefor
    • B22D11/068Accessories therefor for cooling the cast product during its passage through the mould surfaces
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22DCASTING OF METALS; CASTING OF OTHER SUBSTANCES BY THE SAME PROCESSES OR DEVICES
    • B22D11/00Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths
    • B22D11/16Controlling or regulating processes or operations
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22DCASTING OF METALS; CASTING OF OTHER SUBSTANCES BY THE SAME PROCESSES OR DEVICES
    • B22D11/00Continuous casting of metals, i.e. casting in indefinite lengths
    • B22D11/16Controlling or regulating processes or operations
    • B22D11/18Controlling or regulating processes or operations for pouring
    • B22D11/188Controlling or regulating processes or operations for pouring responsive to thickness of solidified shell

Abstract

In a twin roll continuous caster, the formation of skulls in the triple point region, the heat flux between the molten metal in the casting pool and the surfaces of the casting rolls, and consequently the casting speed and strip thickness, are controlled by controlling the level of carbon dioxide to at least 20% present in the casting area atmosphere above the casting pool supported on the casting surfaces of counter-rotating casting rolls. The carbon dioxide level in casting area may be more than 40%, 50%, 60%, 75% or 90%. The gas mixture in the casting area above the casting pool may be more than 0.05% free oxygen.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/560,959 filed Nov. 17, 2011, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/652,292 filed May 28, 2012, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY
  • This invention refers to continuous casting of thin steel strip in a twin roll caster.
  • In a twin roll caster, molten metal is introduced between a pair of counter-rotated horizontal casting rolls which are internally cooled so that metal shells solidify on the moving roll surfaces and are brought together at the nip between them to produce a thin strip product, delivered downwardly from the nip between the casting rolls. The term “nip” is used herein to refer to the general region at which the casting rolls are closest together. The molten metal may be received from a ladle through a metal delivery system comprised of a tundish and a core nozzle located above the nip, to form a casting pool of molten metal supported on the casting surfaces of the rolls above the nip and extending along the length of the nip. This casting pool is usually confined between refractory side dams held in sliding engagement with the end surfaces of the casting rolls so as to restrict the two ends of the casting pool against outflow. In the past, the atmosphere in the casting area, or chamber, above the molten metal in the casting pool was controlled by delivering an inert gas such as argon or nitrogen to the area above the casting pool.
  • When casting steel strip in a twin roll caster, the thin cast strip leaves the nip at temperatures in the order of 1400° C. or above. An enclosure is provided beneath the casting rolls to receive the hot cast strip, through which the strip passes away from the strip caster in an atmosphere that inhibits oxidation of the strip. The oxidation inhibiting atmosphere may be created by delivering a non-oxidizing gas, for example, an inert gas such as argon or nitrogen, in the enclosure beneath the casting rolls. Alternatively, or additionally, the enclosure may be substantially sealed against ingress of an ambient oxygen-containing atmosphere during operation of the strip caster, and the oxygen content of the atmosphere within the enclosure may be reduced by oxidation of the strip to remove oxygen from the enclosure as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,762,126 and 5,960,855.
  • During operation, parameters including the metal flow rate and molten metal temperature are controlled which reduce the formation of solidified steel skulls in the casting pool in the area where the side dams, casting rolls and meniscus of the casting pool intersect, i.e. the “triple point” region. These unwanted solidified steel skulls, also known as “snake eggs” in casting, may form from time to time near the side dam and adjacent the end of the delivery nozzle, and can drop into the cast strip through the casting roll nip. When these skulls drop between the roll nip, they may cause the two solidifying shells at the casting roll nip to “swallow” additional liquid metal between the shells, and may cause the strip to reheat and break disrupting the continuous production of coiled strip. Dropped skulls, or snake eggs, may also be detected as visible bright bands across the width of the cast strip, as well as by spikes in the lateral force exerted on the casting rolls as they pass through the roll nip. Such resistive forces are exerted against the side dams in addition to the forces generated by the ferrostatic head in the casting pool. Additionally, skulls resulting in snake eggs in the cast strip passing through the nip between the casting rolls can cause lateral movement of the casting rolls and the side dams. To resist the increased forces generated, bias forces have been applied to the side dams, increasing the force the side dams exert on the ends of the casting rolls, and in turn increasing side dam wear. There remains, therefore, a need to control the formation of unwanted solidified skulls in the casting pool and formation of snake eggs in the thin metal strip.
  • In addition, a high heat flux is necessary to achieve high cooling rates to form shells over the casting surfaces of the casting rolls. The higher the heat flux between the molten metal in the casting pool and the surface of the casting rolls, the larger the degree of cooling of the molten steel on the surface of the casting rolls. In turn, such control of the heat flux between the molten metal in the casting pool and the casting surfaces of the casting rolls provides for the control of the cast thickness. Such degree of control of heat flux on solidification of the metal shells on the casting surfaces is desired to control the formation of the steel strip.
  • We have found that the heat flux from the molten steel in the casting pool to the casting surfaces of the casting rolls, the cast thickness, and the formation of unwanted skulls in the casting pool may be controlled by providing controlled carbon dioxide levels in the casting area above the casting pool of molten metal. In addition, carbon dioxide may be introduced through a gas header onto the casting roll surfaces between roll cleaning brushes and the 12 ‘o’ clock position above the casting rolls as part of the texture gases as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,299,857.
  • Presently disclosed is a method of casting thin strip comprising the steps of: assembling a pair of counter-rotating casting rolls laterally forming a nip between circumferential casting surfaces of the rolls through which the metal strip may be cast; assembling a metal delivery system above the casting rolls delivering molten metal forming a casting pool supported on the casting surfaces of the casting rolls above the nip; providing above the casting pool an enclosure forming a casting area above the casting rolls; delivering a gas mixture comprising at least 20% carbon dioxide to the casting area restricting ingress of air into the enclosure; and counter-rotating the casting rolls such that the casting surfaces of the casting rolls each travel inwardly toward the nip to produce a cast strip downwardly from the nip. In one alternative, gas mixture in the casting area above the casting pool comprises more than 0.05% free oxygen.
  • The gas mixture in the enclosure above the casting pool may comprise more than 40% carbon dioxide. Alternatively, the gas mixture may comprise more than 50% carbon dioxide, more than 60% carbon dioxide, or more than 75% carbon dioxide. In another alternative, the gas mixture may comprise greater than 90% carbon dioxide. In any case, the gas mixture may further comprise one or more gases selected from the group consisting of nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, helium, water vapor, dry air, and carbon monoxide.
  • In some alternatives, assembling the casting rolls further comprises assembling a carbon seal laterally above each casting roll restricting ingress of air into the enclosure. The flow rate of the delivered gas mixture may be configured to provide a positive pressure in the enclosure to restrict the ingress of ambient air.
  • The gas mixture may be delivered from above the casting pool. The method may further comprise varying the gas mixture flow rate to achieve desired properties of the gas layer over the casting pool during casting. In any case, the delivery of the gas mixture may not substantially disturb the surface of the casting pool. Additionally, or alternatively, the method may further comprise the step of varying the composition of the gas mixture to achieve desired properties of the layer over the casting pool. Nitrogen gas in the enclosure may be limited to control the nitrogen content in the cast strip to a desired amount.
  • The gas mixture may form a gas layer over the casting pool between the casting surfaces of the casting rolls. In one alternative, the gas mixture may be delivered from above the casting pool. In another alternative, the gas is delivered to each meniscus near the end portions of each casting roll. In some embodiments, the gas mixture may be delivered to the casting area over the casting pool via core nozzle support plates, delivering the gas mixture to the enclosure above the casting pool along the enclosure, and/or from outlets positioned above the casting pool. Alternatively, or additionally, the gas mixture may be delivered from substantially near the edges of the casting pool.
  • Also disclosed is an apparatus for continuously casting metal strip comprising a pair of counter-rotatable casting rolls having casting surfaces laterally positioned forming a nip therebetween through which thin cast strip can be cast, and on which a casting pool of molten metal can be formed supported on the casting surfaces above the nip; a metal delivery system above the casting rolls to deliver molten metal forming the casting pool supported on the casting surfaces of the casting rolls above the nip; an enclosure forming a casting area above the casting rolls; a gas delivery system to deliver a gas mixture comprising at least 20% carbon dioxide to the casting area restricting ingress of air into the enclosure.
  • In the alternative, the gas mixture delivered to the casting area in the chamber may comprise more than 40% carbon dioxide. Alternatively, the gas mixture may comprise more than 50% carbon dioxide, more than 60% carbon dioxide, or more than 75% carbon dioxide. In another alternative, the gas mixture may comprise greater than 90% carbon dioxide. In any case, the gas mixture in the casting area above the casting pool may comprise more than 0.05% free oxygen. In an alternative, the gas is delivered to each meniscus near the end portions of each casting roll. The gas mixture may further comprise of one or more gases selected from a group consisting of nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, helium, water vapor, dry air, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The gas delivery system may comprise at least one gas delivery outlet positioned above the casting pool. Additionally, or alternatively, the gas delivery system may comprise at least one gas delivery outlet positioned substantially near the edge of the casting pool, adjacent where the surface of the casting pool meets the surface of the casting rolls (generally referred to as the meniscus). The nitrogen in the enclosure may be limited to control the nitrogen content in the cast strip to a desired amount.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawings will be provided by the Patent and Trademark Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.
  • FIG. 1 is a side elevation view illustrating a continuous twin roll caster system,
  • FIG. 2 is a partial side elevation view of a portion of the continuous twin roll caster system shown in FIG. 1,
  • FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view through casting rolls shown in FIG. 1,
  • FIG. 4 is a graph showing the relationship between the carbon dioxide level in the casting area and the hydrogen level in the casting area and the free oxygen level in the casting area,
  • FIG. 5 is a graph showing the relationship between the carbon dioxide level in the casting area and drive-side roll force and work-side roll force during casting, and
  • FIG. 6 is a graph showing the relationship between the carbon dioxide level in the casting area and the concurrently measured data of heat flux, casting speed, and cast thickness taken over time.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 3, a twin roll caster denoted generally as 11 comprises a pair of laterally positioned casting rolls 22 forming a nip 15 between circumferential casting surfaces of the rolls, for which molten metal is delivered from a ladle 23 through a metal delivery system 24 to the caster. The metal delivery system 24 comprises a tundish 25, a movable tundish 26 and one or more core nozzles 27, shown in FIG. 3, positioned between the casting rolls 22 above the nip 15. The molten metal delivered to the casting rolls is supported in a casting pool 16 on the casting surfaces of the casting rolls 22 above the nip 15. The casting pool 16 of molten steel supported on the casting rolls 22 is confined at the ends of the casting rolls 22 by a pair of side dams 35.
  • The tundish 25 is fitted with a lid 28. Molten steel is introduced into the tundish 25 from ladle 23 via an outlet shroud 29. The tundish 25 is fitted with a slide gate 34 to selectively open and close the outlet 31 and effectively control the flow of metal from the tundish to the removable tundish 26. The molten metal flows from tundish 25 through outlet 31, and inlet 32 of a distributor 26 (also called the removable tundish or transition piece), through passageways 5, and then to delivery nozzle or core nozzles 27. The core nozzles 27 are supported in the casting position by a core nozzle support plate 84. The core nozzle support plate 84 is positioned beneath the distributor 26 and has a central opening 88 to receive the core nozzle 27. The core nozzle 27 may be provided in two or more segments, and at least a portion of each core nozzle segment may be supported by the core nozzle plate 84.
  • In operation, molten metal is received from the distributor, or removable tundish 26, through the passageway 5 into the delivery nozzle 27. Several passageways 5 may be provided along the length of the delivery nozzle 27 to provide for a more even flow of molten metal into the delivery nozzle 27. The molten metal may flow through the delivery nozzle 27 to the outlets 20, through passages 18. The outlets 20 direct flow of molten metal to discharge the molten metal into a casting pool 16 supported on the surface of the casting rolls 22 above the nip 15. The upper surface 16 a of casting pool 16 (generally referred to as the “meniscus”) will generally rise above the lower end of the delivery nozzle 27 so that the lower end of the delivery nozzle 27 is submerged within the casting pool 16.
  • At the start of a casting operation a short length of imperfect strip is typically produced as the casting conditions stabilize. After casting is started, the casting rolls 22 are moved apart slightly and then brought together again to cause the leading end of the strip to break away so as to form a clean head end of the following cast strip to start the casting campaign. The imperfect strip material is dropped into a scrap box receptacle 40 located beneath caster 11 forming part of the enclosure 10 as shown in FIG. 1.
  • The casting rolls 22 may typically be about 500 millimeters in diameter, and may be up to 1200 millimeters or more in diameter. The length of the casting rolls 22 may be up to about 2000 millimeters, or longer, in order to enable production of strip product of about 2000 millimeters in width, or wider, as desired in order to produce strip product approximately the width of the rolls. Formed in each casting roll 22 is a series of cooling water passages to supply water cooling the casting rolls 22 so that the shells solidify on the casting surfaces 60 as the casting surfaces move in contact with the casting pool 16. The casting surfaces may be textured, for example, with a random distribution of discrete projections as described and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,073,365.
  • As the casting rolls 22 are counter-rotated, shells are formed on the casting surfaces of the casting rolls 22 and are brought together at the nip 15 to produce a solidified thin cast product 12 cast downwardly from the nip 15. With reference to FIG. 1, the thin cast strip 12 is passed into a sealed enclosure 10 and onto a guide table 13, which guides the strip to a pinch roll stand 14 through which it exits the sealed enclosure 10. The enclosure 10 may not be completely sealed, but appropriately sealed to allow control of the atmosphere within the enclosure so as to restrict ingress of oxygen within the enclosure 10. After exiting the sealed enclosure 10, the strip may pass through additional sealed enclosures and pinch rolls to provide tension on the strip during in-line hot rolling and cooling treatment before coiling.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, a pair of roll brush apparatus 62 are disposed adjacent the pair of casting rolls 22 such that they may be brought into contact with the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22 at opposite sides of nip 15 prior to the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22 coming into contact with the molten metal in casting pool 16 at the meniscus 16 a. Each brush apparatus 62 may comprise a brush frame 64 which carries a main cleaning brush 66, for cleaning the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22 during the casting campaign as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,299,857. Optionally in addition, separate sweeper brushes (not shown) for cleaning the casting surfaces of the casting rolls at the beginning and end of the campaign may also be provided as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 7,938,164.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, an enclosure 65 forming a casting area above the casting pool 16 is bounded by the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22 above the nip 15, and the side dams 35. The enclosure 65 may include a pair of carbon seals 80, one positioned between the core nozzle support plate 84 and each casting roll 22 restricting ingress of ambient air into the casting area. A gas mixture may be delivered into the enclosure 65 forming a protective gas layer over the casting pool 16 between the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22. The gas mixture may be delivered along passageways within the core nozzle support plate 84 to the enclosure 65, to one or both sides of the casting nozzle 27. The enclosure 65 may be sealed or semi-sealed, restricting outside atmosphere gases from entering the enclosure 65. The gas mixture may be introduced to the enclosure 65 over the casting pool 16 via core nozzle plates 84. As described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,938,164, the side dams 35 may be positioned on a core nozzle support plate 84 mounted on a roll cassette so as to extend horizontally above, and adjacent the ends of, the casting rolls 22. The core-nozzle plate 84 has a central opening 88 to support the metal delivery nozzle 27. The core-nozzle plates 84 may comprise gas delivery ports 86 located on each side of the casting apparatus 11 such as to deliver a gas mixture into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16. The gas may be delivered by gas delivery ports 86, positioned at intervals along the length of the core-nozzle plates 84 to provide a more even distribution of the gas mixture along the length of the enclosure 65. The gas mixture may be delivered upwardly into the enclosure 65 such as to avoid disturbing the surface 16 a of the casting pool 16, which may cause surface defects in the form of meniscus marks on the surface of the formed thin strip 12. In the alternative, the gas mixture may be delivered from substantially near the edges of the casting pool 16 where surface 16 a of the casting pool 16 meets the casting surface 60 of casting rolls 22, or directed downwardly toward the surface 60 of the casting rolls 22. In addition, the gas mixture may be delivered from a gas header 45. The gas header 45 may be positioned to deliver gas to the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22, at any position between the main cleaning brushes 66 and the 12 ‘o’ clock position above the casting rolls 22 as part of the texture gases, such as at the position indicated by gas header 46.
  • The gas mixture delivered to the enclosure 65 may comprise at least 20% carbon dioxide forming a layer over the casting pool 16. The casting rolls 22 are counter-rotated such that the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22 each rotate inwardly toward the nip 15 and produce a thin strip cast downwardly from the nip 15. In one embodiment, the gas mixture delivered to the enclosure 65 may comprise more than 20% carbon dioxide. In other embodiments, the gas mixture delivered to the chamber 65 may comprise greater than 40%, 50%, 60%, 75%, or 90% carbon dioxide. In each embodiment, the gas mixture may further comprise one or more of nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, helium, water vapor, dry air, and carbon monoxide. Alternatively, in each embodiment, the gas mixture may further comprise one or more of nitrogen, hydrogen, or air. The desired gas mixture composition may be varied to achieve desired properties of the layer over the casting pool 16 during casting. The gas mixture flow rate may be varied to achieve desired properties of the layer over the casting pool 16 during casting and desired properties and desired parameters in casting thin strip. The flow rate of the delivered gas mixture may be generally provided to provide a positive pressure within the enclosure 65 of 0.14 inches water gauge to restrict the ingress of ambient air into the enclosure 65. The amount of gas required to achieve a positive pressure in the enclosure 65 varies with the length of the casting rolls. A positive pressure may be provided by a flow rate between 100 and 200 cubic meters per hour, such as 150 cubic meters per hour in some embodiments.
  • It has been found that skulls (portions of solid metal) form in the casting pool 16 adjacent to the casting roll 22 ends and apply resistive forces against side dams 35 adjacent to the ends of the casting rolls 22. Skulls may form in the casting pool 16, along the side dam/casting roll interface in a region known as the triple point, due to the higher rate of heat loss attributed to the triple point region. To resist the increased forces generated by the skulls, higher forces are needed to be maintained on the side dams 35 against the casting rolls 22. These additional forces may cause additional wear to the side dams 35, and if severe can cause strip break.
  • In addition, providing the gas mixture to the enclosure 65 with carbon-dioxide as a substantial or sole component may reduce the nitrogen pick-up by the molten metal in the casting pool 16 and in turn the cast steel strip. Limiting the amounts of nitrogen content by the present process has the added benefit of providing cast strip with reduced nitrogen content. This is done by limiting the amount of nitrogen in the gas mixture provided in the enclosure 65 during casting, allowing the continuous caster 11 to produce a cast strip 12 with reduced levels of nitrogen between 25 and 75 ppm or lower.
  • FIG. 4 sets forth graphs showing the correlation between the carbon dioxide level and the level of hydrogen 87 and oxygen 89 in the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16. During testing, the levels of carbon dioxide 90, hydrogen 87 and oxygen 89 are measured at discrete instances, creating the stepped graphs shown in FIG. 4. Through testing, a gas mixture comprising approximately 50% carbon dioxide gas was introduced into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16 on either side of the core nozzle 27, as illustrated between markers 102 and 103, the level of hydrogen 87 was reduced from approximately 0.075% to 0.100% to approximately 0.040 to 0.015%. Furthermore, we also found that the level of free oxygen 89, in the enclosure 65, was above 0.05% to between about 0.055% and 0.075%, as shown, when the gas mixture delivered to the enclosure 65 comprised of approximately 50% carbon dioxide. When the introduction of carbon dioxide into the enclosure 65 ceased, represented at marker 103, the levels of hydrogen 87 and free oxygen 89 returned to their previous levels. During the test illustrated by FIG. 4, carbon dioxide gas was reintroduced into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16, the time of introduction illustrated by marker 104. At approximately the same time the casting nozzle 27 started to break up causing debris to fall through the nip 15 between the casting rolls 22, providing inconsistent data. However, as can be seen in the graphs of FIG. 4, hydrogen levels 87 fell as previously, to approximately 0.040% to 0.015%. Additionally, the level of free oxygen 89 also increased, as seen previously, to at least 0.05% to 0.07% to 0.08% as shown.
  • Through testing, we have found that the addition of carbon dioxide in the chamber 65 above the casting pool 16 decreases the formation of skulls, and, in turn, snake eggs in the cast strip 12. The presence of skulls is detected by the lateral forces they exert on the casting rolls 22 as they pass between them at the nip 15. Skulls also cause visible bright bands, i.e., snake eggs, to be formed across the width of the strip, which are defects in the surface of the cast strip. During testing, the presence of snake egg forming skulls was monitored by measuring the drive-side (DS) casting roll force 92 (Newtons) and the work-side (WS) casting roll force 94 (Newtons).
  • FIG. 5 sets forth graphs showing correlation between the level of carbon dioxide 90 in the gas mixture, the drive-side casting roll force 92, and the work-side casting roll force 94 measured over time. During the test illustrated in FIG. 5, carbon dioxide gas 90 was introduced into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16, on both sides of the casting nozzle 27, lasting for approximately thirty minutes. The period in which carbon dioxide gas 90 was introduced into the enclosure 65 above the casting rolls 22 is represented by the area of the graph between markers 102 and 103. When no carbon dioxide is delivered to the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16, both the drive-side casting roll force 92 and the work-side casting roll force 94 show peaks 93 in excess of 9000N. Each peak 93 represents one or more skulls dropping and travelling through the nip 15 of the casting rolls 22, causing snake eggs, and exerting a lateral pressure on the casting rolls 22, measured by a force detector. Once the amount of carbon dioxide 90 introduced to the chamber 65 above the casting rolls 16 was increased, represented at marker 102, the incidence and the size of the peaks 93 in both the drive-side casting roll force 92 and the work-side casting roll force 94, substantially decreased, indicating that snake egg forming skulls were inhibited in the triple point region and therefore were not falling between the casting rolls 22. Conversely, once the carbon dioxide level 90 in the gas mixture, delivered to the chamber 65, was decreased back to original levels, represented at marker 103, both the drive-side casting roll force 92 and the work-side casting roll force 94 showed increased incidence of peaks, with the peaks again reaching in excess of 9000N (indicating that the formation of skulls had once again commenced). A force of more than 9000N on the drive-side casting roll, or work-side casting roll, may be expected to cause strip breakage.
  • FIG. 5 also illustrates, at marker 104, when the level of carbon dioxide 90 in the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16 was again increased by introducing a gas mixture of carbon dioxide gas for example 40% to 50% through ports 86 in the casting nozzle support plates 84. This portion of the graphs illustrate that the incident rate of peaks 93, in the drive-side casting roll force 92 and the work-side casting roll force 94, reaching in excess of 9000N, is greatly reduced compared with the areas of the graph which represent no introduction of carbon dioxide gas. The peaks 93 in the area of the graph beyond marker 104 reaching in excess of 9000N are as a result of the casting nozzle 27 breaking up and debris from the casting nozzle 27 falling through the nip 15 between the casting rolls 22 causing spikes in both drive-side casting roll force 92 and work-side casting force 94.
  • The results of testing, illustrated in FIG. 5, demonstrate that the addition of gas mixture comprising carbon dioxide gas above 20%, for example 40% to 50%, into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16 significantly decreased the incident rate of spikes in the force exerted on both the casting rolls 22, thus revealing the reduction of snake egg forming skulls travelling through the nip 15 of the casting roll 22. The addition of a gas mixture containing carbon dioxide above 20% as indicated greatly reduced the formation of skulls in the casting pool 16 in the triple point region adjacent the side dams 35. Thus it has been found that controlling the level of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere above the casting pool 16 substantially improved the quality of the strip cast from the continuous casting apparatus 11.
  • As previously explained, when casting steel strip in a twin roll caster, the molten metal in the casting pool will generally be at a temperature of the order of 1500° C. and above. A high heat flux between the molten metal and the casting surface 60 of the casting rolls 22 is necessary to achieve the high cooling rates required to solidify the molten metal into shells on the casting surface 60 and form cast strip at the nip 15. Testing has revealed a correlation between the indicated level of carbon dioxide in the chamber 65 above the casting pool 16 and the amount of heat flux from the molten metal in the casting pool 16 to the casting rolls 22.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 6, when carbon dioxide gas was delivered to the casting area 65 above the casting pool 16, as illustrated between markers 102 and 103, the heat flux 96 from the molten steel in the casting pool 16 to the casting rolls 22 substantially increased. FIG. 6 sets forth graphs showing test results for a gas mixture containing approximately 50% carbon dioxide. With a carbon dioxide level 90 of 50% in the casting area 65 above the casting pool 16, the heat flux 96 between the molten steel in the casting pool 16 and the surface 16 a of the casting rolls 16 increased by 10 to 20%. The correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide in a gas mixture delivered to the chamber 65 above the casting pool 16 illustrates that the presently disclosed method of casting steel strip provides a sensitive direct control of the heat flux 96 between the molten metal in the casting pool 16 and the casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22.
  • Moreover, when the carbon dioxide level 90 in the casting area 65 above the casting pool 16 is increased and heat flux 96 from the molten metal in the casting pool 16 to casting surfaces 60 of the casting rolls 22 correspondingly increases, the casting speed may be increased or strip thickness may be increased, or both. A higher heat flux 96 between the molten metal in the melt pool 16 and the surface 60 of the casting rolls 22 increases the rate at which the molten metal solidifies into shells on the casting roll surface 60. Maintaining a constant casting speed would result in forming a thicker cast strip, while increasing the casting speed will maintain the thickness of the product. The casting speed 95 is a variable which can be controlled by the operator of the continuous casting apparatus 24.
  • As demonstrated in FIG. 6, when the level of carbon dioxide introduced into the casting area 65 above the casting pool 16 increased to approximately 50%, the operator had to increase the casting speed 95 to maintain a constant cast strip thickness 98. As shown between markers 102 and 103, representing the introduction of carbon dioxide gas above 20% as indicated into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16, the operator increased the casting speed 96 from approximately 60 meters per minute (m/min) to between 65 m/min and 70 m/min in order to maintain a cast strip thickness 98 of approximately 1.9 mm. Subsequently, after the introduction of carbon dioxide gas into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16 was stopped, the operator had to decrease the casting speed 95 in order to maintain the cast strip thickness 98 of approximately 1.9 mm. The graphs set forth in FIG. 6 illustrate that when carbon dioxide gas above 20% as indicated was reintroduced into the enclosure 65 above the casting pool 16, at marker 104, the operator again had to increase the casting speed 95 to maintain a cast strip thickness 98 of about 1.9 mm. However, shortly thereafter, as discussed above, the casting nozzle 27 began to break up causing debris to fall through the nip 15 between the casting rolls 22 creating forces between the casting rolls 22 in excess of 9000N, causing strip break and preventing a constant cast strip thickness 98 from being maintained, and the ensuring data shown in FIG. 6.
  • As a result, through testing we have found that modifying the heat flux 96 between the molten metal in the casting pool 16 and the casting roll surface 60 in turn enables increases in the casting speed 95 and/or the strip thickness 98. Consequently, the strip thickness, the casting speed, and the quality of the cast strip product may be controlled by controlling the level of carbon dioxide introduced into the casting area 65 above the casting pool 16.
  • The presently disclosed method of casting steel strip and apparatus for continuously casting metal strip provide for the control of snake eggs formation, heat flux, casting speed, and cast thickness by controlling the level of carbon dioxide in the casting area above the casting pool.
  • While the invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments and alternatives it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (30)

What is claimed is:
1. A method of casting thin strip comprising the steps of:
assembling a pair of counter-rotating casting rolls laterally forming a nip between circumferential casting surfaces of the rolls through which the metal strip may be cast;
assembling a metal delivery system above the casting rolls delivering molten metal forming a casting pool supported on the casting surfaces of the casting rolls above the nip;
providing above the casting pool an enclosure forming a casting area above the casting rolls;
delivering a gas mixture comprising at least 20% carbon dioxide to the casting area restricting ingress of air into the enclosure; and
counter-rotating the casting rolls such that the casting surfaces of the casting rolls each travel inwardly toward the nip to produce a cast strip downwardly from the nip.
2. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture in the casting area above the casting pool comprises more than 0.05% free oxygen.
3. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 40% carbon dioxide.
4. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 50% carbon dioxide.
5. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 60% carbon dioxide.
6. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 75% carbon dioxide.
7. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture comprises greater than 90% carbon dioxide.
8. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture further comprises one or more gases selected from a group consisting of nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, helium, water vapor, dry air, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide
9. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the step of assembling the casting rolls further comprises:
assembling a carbon seal laterally above each casting roll restricting ingress of air into the enclosure.
10. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture is delivered from above the casting pool.
11. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas mixture is delivered from substantially near the edges of the casting pool.
12. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 further comprising the step of
varying the gas mixture flow rate to achieve desired properties of the gas layer over the casting pool during casting.
13. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in 1 further comprising the step of
varying the composition of the gas mixture to achieve desired properties of the layer over the casting pool.
14. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the delivery of the gas mixture substantially does not disturb the surface of the casting pool.
15. The method of casting thin strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein the flow rate of the delivered gas mixture is configured to provide a positive pressure in the enclosure to restrict the ingress of ambient air.
16. The method of continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 1 where nitrogen gas in the enclosure is limited to control the nitrogen content in the cast strip to a desired amount.
17. A method of continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 1 where the gas is delivered to each meniscus near the end portions of each casting roll.
18. An apparatus for continuously casting metal strip comprising:
a pair of counter-rotatable casting rolls having casting surfaces laterally positioned forming a nip therebetween through which thin cast strip can be cast, and on which a casting pool of molten metal can be formed supported on the casting surfaces above the nip;
a metal delivery system above the casting rolls to deliver molten metal forming a casting pool supported on the casting surfaces of the casting rolls above the nip;
an enclosure forming a casting area above the casting rolls; and
a gas delivery system to deliver a gas mixture comprising at least 20% carbon dioxide to the casting area restricting ingress of air into the enclosure.
19. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture in the casting area above the casting pool is comprises more than 0.05% free oxygen.
20. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 40% carbon dioxide.
21. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 50% carbon dioxide.
22. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 60% carbon dioxide.
23. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture comprises more than 75% carbon dioxide.
24. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture comprises greater than 90% carbon dioxide.
25. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas mixture further comprises one or more gases selected from a group consisting of nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, helium, water vapor, dry air, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
26. The apparatus of claim 18 further comprising:
a carbon seal laterally positioned above each casting roll to restrict oxygen from entering the chamber.
27. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas delivery system further comprises at least one gas delivery outlet positioned above the casting pool.
28. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 wherein the gas delivery system further comprises at least one gas delivery outlet positioned substantially near the edge of the casting pool.
29. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 where nitrogen gas in the enclosure is limited to control the nitrogen content in the cast strip to a desired amount.
30. The apparatus for continuously casting metal strip as claimed in claim 18 where the gas is delivered to each meniscus near the end portions of each casting roll.
US13/680,743 2011-11-17 2012-11-19 Method of continuous casting thin steel strip Abandoned US20130126121A1 (en)

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MX2014005967A (en) 2015-02-12
US20130126120A1 (en) 2013-05-23
SK50222014A3 (en) 2014-09-04
MX350453B (en) 2017-09-07
WO2013075096A1 (en) 2013-05-23
WO2013075092A1 (en) 2013-05-23
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US8893768B2 (en) 2014-11-25
GB2510310A (en) 2014-07-30

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