Funded EngD Scholarship: Surviving 1600°C – Characterisation and Improvement of Steel Ladle Materials

Swansea University - Engineering

Start date: October 2018

Sponsoring Company: British Steel

Academic Supervisors: Dr Mark Evans, Dr Cameron Pleydell-Pearce

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?


Candidates should hold an Engineering or Physical Sciences degree with a minimum classification level of 2:1 or equivalent relevant experience. This project is suitable for someone with a Materials or Physical Science Background, or an applied mathematics/statistic background.

Please visit our website for more information.

Funding Details

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

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