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Electromagnetic levitation techniques are used in a microgravity environment to allow materials research under containerless conditions while limiting the influence of gravity. The induced advective flow inside a levitated molten alloy droplet is a key factor affecting solidification phenomena while potentially influencing the measurement of thermophysical properties of metallic alloy. It is thus important to predict the flow velocity under various operation conditions during melt processing. In this work, a magnetohydrodynamic model is applied over the range of conditions under which electromagnetically levitated droplets are processed to represent the maximum flow velocity and shear rate as a polynomial function of heating voltage, density, viscosity, and electrical conductivity of molten materials. An example is given for the ternary steel alloy Fe-19Cr-21Ni (at%) to demonstrate how internal advection under different heater settings becomes a strong function of alloy temperature and is a determining factor in the transition from laminar to turbulent flow conditions. The results are directly applicable to a range of other materials with properties in the range considered, including Ni-based superalloys, Ti-6Al-4V, and many other commercially-important alloys.
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Xiao, Xiao; Lee, Jonghyun; Hyers, Robert W.; and Matson, Douglas M., "Numerical representations for flow velocity and shear rate inside electromagnetically levitated droplets in microgravity" (2019). npj Microgravity. 1189.