For many continuous ingot casting processes, turbulent heat transfer in the molten pool plays a critical role which, along with buoyancy and surface tension, is responsible for the quality of the end products. Based on a modified low Reynolds number k-ε two-equation closure, accounting for the phase change and mushy zone formation, the effect of turbulent heat transfer on the solidification characteristics during titanium alloy ingot casting in an electron beam melting process is investigated. The overall heat transfer rate is enhanced by turbulent transport via two sources, one through the correlated velocity and temperature fluctuations present for both single- and multi-phase flows, and the other through the correlated velocity and release of latent heat fluctuations which are unique to the flows with phase change. The roles played by both mechanisms are identified and assessed. The present turbulence model predicts that although the mushy zone defined by the mean temperature field is generally of substantial thickness as a result of the convection effect, the actual instantaneous zone thickness varies substantially due to turbulence effect. This finding is in contrast to the traditionally held viewpoint, based on the conduction analysis, of a generally thin mushy zone. The impact of turbulent heat transfer on local dendrite formation and remelting is illustrated and the issues involved in model development highlighted.

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