The paper is focused on the study of the solidification process of pure metals, in which the solidification front is smooth. It has the shape of a surface separating liquid from solid in three dimensional space or a curve in 2D. The location and topology of moving interface change over time and its velocity depends on the values of heat fluxes on the solid and liquid side of it.
Such a formulation belongs to a group called Stefan problems. A mathematical model of the Stefan problem is based on differential equations of heat conduction and interface motion. This system of equations is supplemented by appropriate initial and boundary conditions as well as the continuity conditions at the solidification interface. The solution involves the determination of temporary temperature field and interface position. Typically, it is impossible to obtain the exact solution of such problem.
This paper presents a mathematical model for the two-dimensional problem. The equation of heat conduction is supplemented with Dirichlet and Neumann boundary conditions. Interface motion is described by the level set equation which solution is sought in the form of temporary distribution of the signed distance function. Zero level of the distance field coincides with the position of the front. Values of the signed distance function obtained from the level set equation require systematic reinitialization.
Numerical model of the process based on the finite element method (FEM) is also presented. FEM equations are derived and discussed. The explicit time integration scheme is proposed. It helps to avoid solving the system of equations during each time step. The reinitialization procedure of the signed distance function is described in detail. Examples of numerical analysis of the solidification process of pure copper within the complex geometry are presented. Results obtained from the use of constant material properties are compared with those obtained from the use of temperature dependent properties.