Three recent Purdue University Calumet engineering students collaborated with the university’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) and the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST) in developing an innovative tool that enables greater worldwide understanding of the steelmaking process.
For their senior design and graduate research project, the now graduated students worked with AIST staff members and CIVS faculty and staff to create an online, interactive resource. Called the Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel Wheel, it includes three-dimensional imagery and videos plus descriptive text on each part of the Wheel: http://apps.aist.org/SteelWheel/index.html.
By starting in the middle of the wheel, viewers are introduced interactively to the fundamental ingredients used in the ironmaking process to produce elemental iron. Those ingredients are iron, carbon and calcium in the form of iron ore, coke and lime, respectively. By clicking onto other aspects of the wheel, users can track additional steps in the steelmaking process.
Seeing is believing
According to a recent AIST news release, AIST General Manager-Technology Services Brian Bliss said, “The Wheel shows the most common processes in concentric circles so the viewer can visualize the different production routes. The online steel Wheel has added descriptive text and three-dimensional imagery to each of the processes on the Wheel, giving the viewer a richer experience in understanding how steel is made.”
By applying engineering principles and lessons in helping develop the Wheel, the students satisfied their degree requirement. The Colorado School of Mines’ Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center joined AIST as a project collaborator.
Purdue Calumet Professor of Mechanical Engineering and CIVS Director Chenn Zhou referred to the project as another demonstration of how Purdue Calumet students, faculty and staff are using CIVS to assist and benefit business and industry.
Students’ collaboration produces experience
“Education is one of the major missions of CIVS,” Zhou said. “We have been able to collaborate with more than 80 faculty and staff, as well as provide real world project experiences to 800+ Purdue Calumet students since 2009.”
As an interdisciplinary applied research center, the campus-based CIVS combines advanced simulation techniques with 3D visualization technologies to provide innovative solutions in response to industrial and other problems and challenges.
Through close partnerships with more than 90 external organizations, CIVS has enabled projects that have produced substantial educational and economic impact—in fact, more than $38 million in savings by the external partners.
Steel manufacturing competitiveness
Recently, CIVS has worked with the steel industry to establish the Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium to improve the competitiveness of steel manufacturing across its value chain.
AIST officials refer to the Wheel as a one-of-a-kind experience that allows individuals to click onto each phase of steelmaking to gain a deeper understanding of the process through videos, photos and detailed explanation of functions, equipment and materials used.
AIST identifies its organization as a non-profit technical association of 17,500 members from more than 70 countries, with a mission to advance the technical development, production, processing and application of iron and steel.