The present paper describes a numerical model, based on a finite-difference technique, to simulate 2D thermal transients of solid and hollow cylinders in convective and radiant rectangular cavities, with participating media and time-dependent temperature-of-internal-gases. The model takes into account all the thermo-physical property variations with temperature of both gases and materials under treatment. These last are subject to strong non-linear convective-radiative thermal boundary conditions and undergo the needed solid-solid thermodynamic transitions. The study of the whole system includes the problem of conduction inside the multilayer furnace walls, solved by a 1D transient numerical model. The proposed model has been validated with respect to a numerical solution as well as to available full-scale experimental data. In particular a simplified radiation case is carried out comparing the solution obtained by the model to that given by a finite element commercial code (ANSYS®). The calculated temperature curves have been compared with experimental measurements too, with reference to few particular points in a cylinder inside a batch furnace, during an actual heat treatment. The 2D finite difference model results to be an efficient tool for predicting the system thermal performance, well suitable for design and operating conditions optimization.

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