Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering


Chris Pistorius


Steelmaking is a highly carbon intensive process. Most of the CO2 emissions in steelmaking are from the blast furnace. Coke has been the major reductant used in a blast furnace since 1750. The recent boom in the US energy outputs due to shale rock formations has motivated the need to look at natural gas as a partial replacement for coke in a blast furnace. During the course of this project, the impact of higher natural gas utilization has been studied in detail. Theoretical models suggesting the injection of natural gas as a viable method to replace coke partially have been used. These theoretical claims have then been tested experimentally and the results have been discussed. The experimental work described includes reduction of hematite to wüstite, followed by the study of interaction of natural gas with a bed of iron pellets replicating the wüstite reserve zone of a blast furnace. Furthermore, the reforming of methane over metallic iron pellets was investigated and these reactions were tested under blast furnace conditions. Mass and energy balance calculations, along with experimental results were used to support the proposed shaft injection of natural gas.