The use of water cooling during the continuous casting of steel and aluminum alloys

J. Sengupta, B. G. Thomas, M. A. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In both continuous casting of steel slabs and direct chill (DC) casting of aluminum alloy ingots, water is used to cool the mold in the initial stages of solidification, and then below the mold, where it is in direct contact with the newly solidified surface of the metal. Water cooling affects the product quality by (1) controlling the heat removal rate that creates and cools the solid shell and (2) generating thermal stresses and strains inside the solidified metal. This work reviews the current state-of-the-art in water cooling for both processes, and draws insights by comparing and contrasting the different practices used in each process. The heat extraction coefficient during secondary cooling depends greatly on the surface temperature of the ingot, as represented by boiling water-cooling curves. Thus, the heat extraction rate varies dramatically with time, as the slab/ingot surface temperature changes. Sudden fluctuations in the temperature gradients within the solidifying metal cause thermal stresses, which often lead to cracks, especially near the solidification front, where even small tensile stresses can form hot tears. Hence, a tight control of spray cooling for steel, and practices such as CO2 injection/pulse water cooling for aluminum, are now used to avoid sudden changes in the strand surface temperature. The goal in each process is to match the rate of heat removal at the surface with the internal supply of latent and sensible heat, in order to lower the metal surface temperature monotonically, until cooling is complete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Volume36 A
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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