Modeling Isothermal Reduction of Iron Ore Pellet Using Finite Element Analysis Method: Experiments & Validation

Amogh Meshram, Joe Govro, Ronald J. OMalley, Seetharaman Sridhar, Yuri Korobeinikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Iron ore pellet reduction experiments were performed with pure hydrogen (H2) and mixtures with carbon monoxide (CO) at different ratios. For direct reduction processes that switch dynamically between reformed natural gas and hydrogen as the reductant, it is important to understand the effects of the transition on the oxide reduction kinetics to optimize the residence time of iron ore pellets in a shaft reactor. Hence, the reduction rates were studied by varying experimental parameters such as the temperature (800, 850 & 900 °C), reactant gas flow rate (100, 150 & 200 cm3/min), pellet size and composition of the reactant gas mixture. The rate of reduction was observed to increase with an increase in temperature and reactant gas flow rate, but it decreased with an increase in pellet size. SEM greyscale analysis was performed to analyze the porosity and phase composition of partially reduced pellets. The porosity of the pellets was observed to increase from 0.3 for unreacted pellet to 0.42 for a completely reduced pellet. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDAX) analysis was performed to identify the phases observed in the SEM images. The fraction of iron phase was observed to increase from the shell region of the pellet to the core region with an increase in the degree of reduction. A 2D-axisymmetric numerical model was developed on COMSOL Multiphysics, and it was validated using the conversion (X) vs. time curves obtained from each experiment. The model was able to accurately predict the total time needed for the complete conversion of a single iron ore pellet for multiple experiments. Effects of changes in the porosity and tortuosity of the pellet on the model were also studied and the rate of reduction was observed to be sensitive to changes in both porosity and tortuosity. The SEM analysis and the model results show that tortuosity is higher for pellets reduced with H2 than for pellets reduced with H2-CO gas mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2026
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • hydrogen
  • iron ore pellets
  • porosity
  • reduction data
  • tortuosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Metals and Alloys


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