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Introducing high-temperature hyperspectral electronics to the foundation industries 

This research will explore a new form of spectroscopic imaging: “Mid-Wave IR Hyperspectral Thermal Metrology” which could be a key digitisation enabler across the foundation industries by giving digital systems contemporaneous knowledge of object size, chemistry and temperature. Steel mills conduct awe inspiring chemistry, > 1000 °C, in bus size ladles, in a continuous effort to maintain optimum chemistry and temperature across numerous processes. The successfulness dictates whether the final product be used for the latest lightweight, high-strength automotive parts, cans for preserving food or simply returned to the process as scrap too impure to be sold. This research will invistigate if applying innovative techniques would improve product quality and reducing energy waste. Steelmaking consumes over 7% of the world’s energy production. 

The blast furnaces in Port Talbot produce 1000 tonnes of CO2 per hour. c.f. per capita carbon footprint of 13 tonnes/year. There are almost 900 similar furnaces around the world and making them more efficient could dramatically impact climate change. For glass manufacture, higher levels of iron can degrade glass, yet its presence helps absorption and efficiency of transfer of heat into the glass. Paradoxically, “better” feedstocks lead to less energy efficient production where heat that should go into the glass penetrates through and into the refractory, causing damage. Using the infrared spectrum to make contemporaneous measurements of thermal and chemical processes, that hyperspectral thermal metrology will enable, could be revolutionary to industries such as steel, glass and cement. The major impurity of concern in liquid iron is silicon. The major impurity of concern in liquid glass (i.e. silicon) is iron. Therefore, whilst Hyperspectral Thermal Metrology could be used for countless applications, we shall focus our studies on iron and silicon within this research.

Dr Jon Willmott

University of Sheffield

Published: September 23rd, 2022
Posted in projects

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