Research and facilities – Faculty of Engineering

Research & facilities


The centre’s activities fall into three main areas.

There are four areas of Specialization:

  • Oxygen Steelmaking:

Current research directions are aimed at developing a first principles mathematical model of the entire BOF heat production operation, from scrap to tap.  An extensive series of laboratory experiments has guided the modeling of C and P refining from iron droplets in contact with a range of slag compositions with contact times determined by buoyancy effects resulting from internal gas generation that forms “bloated” droplets.

  • Electric Furnace Steelmaking:

A major project has been carried out to understand and model carbon injection and slag foaming in the EAF.  A model has been validated against industrial measurements that relates the rate of carbon injection, carbon source composition, slag composition and temperature to the foamed slag depth.  Other work in this area has examined NOx formation, scrap heating efficiencies from sidewall burners, and phase-field modeling of scrap melting in contact with the liquid bath.

  • Secondary Steelmaking:

We have been continuously evolving a model of secondary steelmaking since 2004, from the first version that predicted the evolution of slag and steel composition during LMF treatment to recent incorporation of spinel formation and calcium modification kinetics.  Techniques have been developed to perform Ca treatment experiments in ultra-low oxygen environments and confocal microscopy is extensively used to study inclusion-slag reactions. This work is currently being extended to Si killed compositions for application to long products production.

  • Continuous Casting:

This area of research has been recently added to the Centre’s activities and combines strong modeling capabilities with new laboratory facilities.  Current work is examining hot tearing susceptibility in advanced high strength steel compositions and solidification microstructures in higher Mn and Si steels, including the development of short-range variation in Mn and Si concentration that can affect micron-scale microstructural uniformity of final products.

Current Process Metallurgy Projects:

  • BOF Steelmaking Model
  • Inclusion Modification by Ca Treatment
  • Multi-Physics Modeling of Semi-Solid Deformation & Hot Tearing in AHSS Casting
  • Microsegregation of Mn & Si
  • Inclusion Treatment & Nozzle Clogging
  • Steel Inclusion Prediction in Ladle Treatment

McMaster’s Chemical Engineering Department is a leader in the field of advanced process control, and operates the highly successful McMaster Advanced Control Consortium (MACC).  Developments in model based multivariate process control and optimization have been very successful in the chemical process industries and the same techniques have great potential for application to steel production.  Coupled with ‘Big Data’ the resulting models can inform monitoring and control, plant scheduling, troubleshooting, or product development.  Projects funded by the SRC in this area have developed optimization models for EAF and BOF heat processing that can guide the tradeoffs between operating inputs to achieve a cost or quality objective.

McMaster’s strengths in mechanical metallurgy, phase transformations and electron microscopy are being clearly focused on steel product development in finishing operations.  A first-principals model of thermomechanical processing of microalloyed steels is providing useful insights into the design of hot rolling processes.  Our expertise and facilities in corrosion studies are being applied to generate fundamental insights into environmentally assisted cracking in linepipe steels.  The Centre is also the focus of a major effort devoted to developing zinc-coated third generation advanced high strength steels for automotive applications.  This research is interdisciplinary, involving alloy design, hot-dip coating process variables and formability/fabrication technologies.

Current Steel Development Projects:

  • Hot Rolling of Microalloyed Steels
  • Development of HIC Resistant X70
  • Rolled-in Scale Control
  • Reactive Wetting of AHSS by Al-Mg-Zn Baths
  • Reactive Wetting of DP Steels by Zn-Al-Mg Baths
  • Effect of Surface Active Elements on 6 & 10 Mn-Si Steel Coatings
  • Inhibition Layer Formation on Mn Containing Steels
  • Solidification Control of Thin Slab Cast Microalloyed Steels


The centre’s research uses a wide range of facilities located at McMaster. Some of these are dedicated to Steel Research while other generic analytical equipment is accessed through the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the Brockhose Institute for Materials Research.

  • Vacuum/Atmosphere Induction Furnace (75 KW – 50 kg. Heat)
    • Wire feeding
    • Powder injection
  • Air Melt Induction furnace (75 KW – 100 kg. Heat)
    • Wire feeding
    • Powder injection
  • X-ray cinematography for imaging metal-slag reactions.
  • Yonekura Confocal scanning laser microscope combined with an infrared image furnace (1700C) and hot deformation stage.
  • 3 Resistance heated vertical furnaces (500gr, 1600C)
  • Resisted heated slag melting furnace (1500C)
  • 2 Bridgman solidification furnaces (one capable of 1000˚C, the other capable of 1600˚C)
  • High-temperature (1600˚C) differential scanning calorimetry
  • hercast software for thermal-fluid-stress modelling of the continuous casting process
  • SOLID software for thermal-solutal modelling of the continuous casting process
  • Isotope exchange apparatus for studies of reaction kinetics
  • Atmosphere/vacuum thermogravimetric analysis systems
  • Galvanizing wiping rig model (Oil on 12in wide endless steel belt)
  • Surtec AIII Hot-Dip Coat/Anneal Simulator
  • RHESCA Molten Metal Wetting Force Testing System
  • Salt bath furnaces (to 1300°C)
  • Stanat rolling mill (2 high: 4 in Ø x 6 in rolls)
  • Leco CS 744 Carbon – Sulfur analyser
  • Leco ON 736 Oxygen – Nitrogen analyser
  • Varian Vista PRO  Inductively Coupled Plasma/ Optical Emission Spectrometer
  • Micromass IsoPrime mass spectrometer (for isotope exchange studies)
  • Perkin Elmer Autosystem XL gas chromatograph
  • Glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy: JY profiler HR. (Fe, C, Mn, S, Si, P, Ni, Cr, Nb, Ti, B, Mo, Al, Zn Mg, Sn, Ca, Co, V, W, H, O, N).

Projects in the Centre make extensive use of the advanced microscopy equipment in McMaster’s CCEM

  • Struers Pedemax 2 automatic polishing
  • Struers Roto-System 300 automatic polishing (arrives Dec)
  • Leitz Metalloplan metallograph with digital imaging
  • Leco M-400-H2 microhardness tester
  • Charpy impact toughness tester

Instron Mechanical Test Machines (Hydraulic)
Two Test Frames:

  1. 100 kN
  2. 250 kN
  • Vee Jaw faces 6.1 – 26.2 mm diameter for gripping round specimens.
  • Vee Jaw faces 50 mm wide (100 kN) for gripping specimens 0 – 7.8 mm thick (For flat specimens)
  • Vee Jaw faces 100 mm wide (250 kN) for gripping specimens 0 – 6.4 mm thick (For flat specimens)

Lloyd’s Screw driven test Machine
Load Cell:

  1. 1000 N
  2. 30 kN
  • Machine can perform simple tensile, compression, and bending tests.
  • Fully computerized data acquisition.
  • Jaw faces for both round and flat specimens