Functional properties of biological surfaces have gained increasing interest in the last two decades, especially with regard to wetting and self-cleaning. Here, biological surfaces of arthropods (Collembola) and plants (sacred Lotus) served as models for the principle design of high temperature resistant surfaces used in blast furnaces to prevent tuyeres from melting. Tuyeres are double-walled, watercooled pipes supplying the blast furnace with hot air to keep the reduction and melting process running. Tuyere failure is mainly caused by melting of the wall after direct contact with liquid iron, resulting in the partial shut down of the blast furnace and huge energy losses. As a new approach to avoid tuyere failure we developed a new type of tuyere surface with (i) defined cone shaped indentations and (ii) a heat resistant zirconium/corundum coating with “ferrophobic” properties i.e. it forms with liquid iron of 1500 °C a contact angle exceeding 130°. Theoretical considerations indicate that liquid iron infiltrates these indentations only partially if this contact angle and the aperture angle of the cone satisfy an inequality condition. Since heat conductivity of the remaining gas trapped inside the cones is by five orders of magnitude lower than in copper, the overall heat flow into the tuyere is substantially reduced and the outer walls are much less prone to melting.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Barthlott W, Neinhuis C. Purity of the sacred lotus, or escape from contamination in biological surfaces. Planta, 1997, 202, 1–8.
Ragesh P, Ganesh V A, Nair S V, Nair A S. A review on ‘self-cleaning and multifunctional materials’. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2014, 2, 14773–14797.
Yan Y Y, Gao N, Barthlott W. Mimicking natural superhydrophobic surfaces and grasping the wetting process: A review on recent progress in preparing superhydrophobic surfaces. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 2011, 169, 80–105.
Bhushan B, Jung Y C. Natural and biomimetic artificial surfaces for superhydrophobicity, self-cleaning, low adhesion, and drag reduction. Progress in Materials Science, 2011, 56, 1–108.
Helbig R, Nickerl J, Neinhuis C, Werner C. Smart skin patterns protect springtails. PLOS ONE, 2011, 6, e25105.
Hensel R, Neinhuis C, Werner C. The springtail cuticle as a blueprint for omniphobic surfaces. Chemical Society Reviews, 2016, 45, 323–341.
Rakitov R, Gorb S N. Brochosomes protect leafhoppers (Insecta, Hemiptera, Cicadellidae) from sticky exudates. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2013, 10, 20130445.
Wagner T, Neinhuis C, Barthlott W. Wettability and contaminability of insect wings as a function of their surface sculptures. Acta Zoologica, 1996, 77, 213–225.
Quéré D. Wetting and roughness. Annual Review of Materials Research, 2008, 38, 71–99.
Tuteja A, Choi W, Ma M, Mabry J M, Mazzella S A, Rutledge G C, McKinley G H, Cohen R E. Designing superoleophobic surfaces. Science, 2007, 318, 1618–1622.
Wong T S, Kang S H, Tang S K, Smythe E J, Hatton B D, Grinthal A, Aizenberg J. Bioinspired self-repairing slippery surfaces with pressure-stable omniphobicity. Nature, 2011, 477, 443–447.
Men X H, Zhang Z Z, Yang J, Wang K, Jiang W. Superhydrophobic/superhydrophilic surfaces from a carbon nanotube based composite coating. Applied Physics A, 2010, 98, 275–280.
Koch K, Barthlott W. Superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic plant surfaces: An inspiration for biomimetic materials. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2009, 367, 1487–1509.
Zhang S, Huang J, Cheng Y, Yang H, Chen Z, Lai Y. Bioinspired surfaces with superwettability for anti-icing and ice-phobic application: Concept, mechanism, and design. Small, 2017, 13, UNSP 1701867.
Cramb A W, Jimbo I. Calculation of the interfacial properties of liquid steelslag systems. Steel Research, 1989, 60, 157–165.
Chung Y, Yoon T H, Lee K. Initial wetting and spreading phenomena of slags on refractory ceramics. In: Reddy R G, Chaubal P, Pistorius P C, Pal U, eds., Advances in Molten Slags, Fluxes, and Salts: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Molten Slags, Fluxes and Salts, Springer, Seattle, USA, 2016, 573–580.
Adam J, Kordel T, Johnen A, Kannappel M, Thaler C, Kerschbaum M, Rittenschober C, Moger R, Titz I. Investigations of measures for extension of BF tuyere life time (EXTUL). Technical Report, European Commission — Research Fund for Coal and Steel, 2015.
Preiss T. Chemisch-physikalische Untersuchungen zum Schadensmechanismus an Hochofenblasformen. Papierflieger, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, 2008. (in German)
Portnov L V, Nikitin L D, Bugaev S F, Shchipitsyn V G. Improving the durability of blast-furnace tuyeres. Metallurgist, 2014, 58, 488–491.
Farkas O, Móger R. Metallographic aspects of blast furnace tuyere erosion processes. Steel Research International, 2013, 84, 1171–1178.
Vuckovic N, Preiß T, Beusse R, Masimov M, Stišovic T, Pethke J, Adam A, Spitzer K H. Energieeinsparung durch Verbesserung der Zuverlässigkeit und Standzeit von Hochofenblasformen: Schlussbericht zum gleichnamigen Forschungsvorhaben; Berichtszeitraum 1.11.2004–31.10.2007. Technical Report, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Berlin, Germany, 2008. (in German)
Yang D Z, Yong G, Zhang Y, Jing L, Hu J G, Li W Z. Application of ceramic coat synthesized by in-situ combustion synthesis to BF Tuyere. Journal of Iron and Steel Research International, 2007, 14, 70–72.
Radyuk A, Titlyanov A, Yakoev A. Strengthening blastfurnace tuyeres by gas-thermal spraying. Steel in Translation, 2002, 32, 13–15.
Dalley A M. Protective coatings for copper blast furnace tuyeres. Proceedings of the 60th Ironmaking Conference, Baltimore, USA, 2001, 253–259.
Zainullin L A, Epishin A Y, Spirin N A. Extending the life of blast-furnace air tuyeres. Metallurgist, 2018, 62, 322–325.
Radyuk A G, Titlyanov A E, Skripalenko M M, Stoishich S S. Modeling of the temperature field of air tuyeres in the blast furnaces with thermal insulation of the nose portion. Metallurgist, 2018, 62, 310–313.
Wang H, Zhang J, Liu Z, Wang G, Jiao K, Liu D, Yan X, Yang T. Damage mechanism of blast furnace tuyere by zinc. Ironmaking & Steelmaking, 2018, 45, 560–565.
Radyuk A G, Titlyanov A E, Sidorova T Y. Thermal state of air tuyeres in blast furnaces. Steel in Translation, 2016, 46, 624–628.
Tiwari M, Kundu S, Padmapal, Mukhopadhyay K, Kumar N, Dube S. Tuyere burning in blast furnaces, phenomena understanding and measures to control. Proceedings of AISTech 2018, Iron and Steel Technology Conference and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, USA, 2018, 589–594.
Ward N, Klaas M, D’Alessio J, Badgley P. Blast furnace process monitoring and control through the use of tuyere camera technology. Proceedings of AISTech 2017, Iron and Steel Technology Conference and Exhibition, Nashville, USA, 2017, 779–785.
Young T. III. An essay on the cohesion of fluids. Philosophical Transactions of the rRoyal Society of London, 1805, 95, 65–87.
Shen F Y, Liu W J, G R F, Huo H. A careful physical analysis of gas bubble dynamics in xylem. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2003, 225, 229–233.
Konrad W, Roth-Nebelsick A. The significance of pit shape for hydraulic isolation of embolized conduits of vascular plants during novel refilling. Journal of Biological Physics, 2005, 31, 57–71.
Adamson A W, Gast A P. Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, Wiley-Interscience, Hoboken, USA, 1997.
The authors acknowledge funding of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Grant No. 03ET11449 A/B/C).
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Konrad, W., Adam, J., Konietzko, S. et al. When Lotus Leaves Prevent Metal from Melting — Biomimetic Surfaces for High Temperature Applications. J Bionic Eng 16, 281–290 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42235-019-0023-6
- blast furnace
- liquid iron
- heat flow