Surviving 1600°C – Characterisation and Improvement of Steel Ladle Materials

Key Information

During the steelmaking process, liquid steel at ~1600°C is cast from a ladle into a tundish on a continuous casting machine. 

During the casting process liquid steel is teemed through a ladle nozzle, within this nozzle is a ladle well-filler which acts to prevent steel penetration into the bore of the nozzle.  The well-filer is typically made from materials such as SiO2, Al2O3 and Cr2O3

When the nozzle is opened the well-filler must dissipate as to not inhibit the flow of the molten steel out of the ladle. This ladle free opening is critical for the successful casting of steel in terms of maintaining quality, output and operator safety.

Project Aims

 The project is intended to answer a number of fundamental questions regarding ladle well-filler:

  • What constitutes a good well-filler?
  • How do certain properties affect performance
    • Size
    • Moisture
    • Mineralogy
    • Chemistry
    • Flowability
    • Density
  • How do certain processes affect performance
    • Compaction in nozzle bore
    • Steel contact time
    • Steel temperature
    • Amount of material used
    • Well-filling method
    • Deskulling quality
    • Tap alloy addition sequence
    • Addition of Pb
  • What meaningful tests can be developed for well-filler to allow us to predict performance prior to use?

Suitable candidate 

Someone with a Materials or Physical Science Background.  Someone with an applied mathematics/statistic background may also be suitable

Academic Supervisors:

Dr Mark Evans, Dr Cameron Pleydell-Pearce

Sponsoring Company British Steel

Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience.

Our funders require applicants to also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a UK or EU citizen (i.e. eligible for ‘home’ tuition fees at the University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of your studies.
  • You must be resident in West Wales and the Valleys at the point of enrolment and throughout the duration of your studies.
  • You must not be financially able to participate without the award of grant funding.

Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at: http://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a.

Closing Date 3 August 2018

Start Date September 2018

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk