The behaviour of mould fluxes used in continuous casting of two Ti-stabilised stainless steels was investigated in terms of the level of titanium pick-up by the flux and the effect of this absorption of titanium on the viscosity of the fluxes. The two fluxes considered are respectively used for the casting of a ferritic steel (type 409) and an austenitic steel (type 321). Concerning the titanium pick-up (expressed as Ti02), the Ti02 content of the flux stabilised at about 3-4% for the mould flux of the ferritic steel and at about 6% for the mould flux of the austenitic steel after 20 minutes of casting. At the same time due to the reduction of Si02 in the molten flux by TiN and Ti in the steel the basicity of the mould flux of the ferritic steel increased from 0.8 to 0.9 while it increased from 0.95 to 1.2 for the mould flux of the austenitic steel. The SEM/EDS analysis of the sampled flux during casting showed only some spherical metallic droplets in the case of the mould flux of the ferritic steel but for the mould flux of the austenitic steel apart from the metallic droplets, some precipitates rich in Ca, Ti and O were identified in the glassy phases. Rotational viscometry carried out on the two fluxes showed that there is a decrease in the viscosity of the fluxes with the absorption of Ti02, Ti2O3 and Ti3O5 in the range of 2 to 10 wt%, for temperatures from 1400°C to 1200°C. The effect of Ti02 and Ti2O3 has been tested with the mould flux of the austenitic steel at a basicity of 1.2 to match the basicity which arises during casting. For temperatures of 12500C and below, the apparent viscosity of the flux increased markedly with the absorption of 10 % of Ti02 or Ti2O3. In both cases precipitation of perovskite (Ca2 Ti2O6 or Ca2 Ti2O5) was found to be responsible for the increase of the apparent viscosity of the flux of the austenitic steel.
Dissertation (M Eng (Metallurgical Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2006.