Modelling and simulation are a key research focus of the K1-MET Area 4 and of the K1-MET programme as a whole. The modelling work from the previous KnetMET and K1-MET (ARGE) programmes is an international success, both industrially as well as academically.

  • High quality simulation tools from small scale to plant scale
  • Continuous, discrete and coupled codes
  • Open source technology: flexible and free

The main goals of the Simulation Platform are:

  • to consolidate successful model developments and to apply these models to industrial practise,
  • to harness the current momentum of the international community-driven development of the K1-MET simulation tools,
  • to explore and develop new methodologies for online prediction of core phenomena for complex multiphase flow in continuous casting equipment, and
  • to provide an infrastructure to ensure consistent development, quality, and version control of our simulation tools.

The K1-MET Simulation Platform is the evolutionary and necessary next step in the use and further development of the simulation tools of our industrial and academic partners.

The heterogeneous collaboration model that the Simulation Platform delivers requires consistent protocols on how development is performed in practise, version control, and software quality management. Development protocols are to be developed during the first year of the current project and may be adapted to new developments and structural changes, such as an increase in external partners or large data transfer between existing K1-MET partners. For version control and implicitly quality control a sound version control mechanism must be adopted. Git is a proven software that is particularly suitable for large and complex development projects.

In a first step a common software access point is established, where approved K1-MET members can retrieve the latest version of K1-MET simulation tools. The online code repository and collaboration website GitHub  provides the necessary online infrastructure for collaborative software development. Dedicated development projects are created, with corresponding development lines ("git branches"). Available branches are stable, testing, development, and various feature branches, following a GitFlow adaptation named Continuous Devlivery. In our Continuous Delivery workflow we adapt test engines integrated with Jenkins CI for automated testing and release. In addition, a web based access point will collect feedback reports, enable online discussions on specific simulation cases and allow for the organisation of dedicated tutorials, workshops or summer schools.

Existing simulation tools of K1-MET partners will be incorporated into the K1-MET Simulation Platform by providing well-documented ready-to-use industrial tutorials. This can be regarded as standardization and consolidation of existing knowledge for the purpose of sustainable applicability and efficient dissemination between the members of the K1-MET consortium. 

After release these simulation tools will be applied to metallurgical processes by industrial partners and members of the K1-MET Simulation Platform. Subsequently, eventual failures, weak points or suggestions for improvements will be reported back via the web based feedback point and the GitHub online repository. This clearly defined testing and feed-back cycle guarantees a continuously improving applicability of the developed simulation tools.

Results and application

The main aim of this project is to provide a central hub to store, maintain, and exchange numerical model developments. The three key elements to this end are version control, flow of information, and automated testing.

Any larger and successful software project needs a version control system in place. The version control system provides K1-MET partners with a consistent code base to work with, while development cycle time is reduced. Version control provides a mechanism for tracking changes, managing distributed and heterogeneous teams and projects, and, importantly, provides a tool for due diligence of intellectual property rights.

The consistent code base can be used more effectively when good documentation is in place, workflows are transparent and available to all partners, and information on the models and their use is dissemminated properly. Therefore, the Simulation Platform is also an information hub. The collaboration partners, K1-MET or external, are distributed geographically, in experience, and their interests in development and use. The Simulation Platform provides a central link to assist and streamline this distributed collaboration. Changes to the various codes are not only tracked and documented, as enforced by the work flow, but can also be tested automatically. Automated testing and integration speeds up development and can ensure quality benchmarks for the simulation tools.

As a benchmark and spearhead of this project a dedicated work package is defined for the development, implementation, and documentation of modelling of complex particulate flow of metallic powders. This work package as cooperation between industrial and academic partners contain a PhD thesis, fundamental development and testing runs.