About us

The ITF Lab is dedicated to the understanding of fundamental fluid and thermodynamic phenomena taking place in Industrial metallurgical processes. This understanding is essential in order to provide an interpretation of the experimental results from processes in operation and offer suggestions to improve current and future technological innovations.

The Laboratory is specialized in phenomena strongly interacting or driven by thermodynamics.  Whenever there is a gradient in potential energy, a spontaneous thermodynamic flow is generated which tends to equalize the energy difference between both systems.

 It is well known that a fluid can be driven by a difference in pressure or in temperature. Similarly, a difference in chemical and electrochemical potential can also drive the atoms towards solidification/melting, crystal growth or electrodeposition. Electromagnetic potential energy generates the well-known Magneto-hydrodynamic flows in liquids and plasma.

Understanding and simulating Thermodynamic flow behavior is extremely challenging. To get insight into their dynamics advanced modeling are necessary, together with state-of-the-art scientific codes developed at Labs or within international or industrial collaborations. These codes are commonly running on powerful computers.

Theory and numerical modeling activities at ITF lab cover the following main areas of research:

·        Solidification and macro-segregation of metallic alloys

·        Columnar to equiaxed transition in casting technology

·        MHD in Metallurgical processes

·        Coriolis effects on convection and phase distribution

·        Cathode spots and vacuum arc plasma dynamics

·        Electric arc behavior in ambient pressure

·        Modeling of faceted crystals growth

The ITF Lab is part of the Metallurgy Department of the Montanuniversitaet Leoben  in Austria.

Our team

Head of the lab

Abdellah Kharicha

+43 3842 402 - 3115


Since 2018, A. Kharicha has been the head of Christian-Doppler laboratory for the metallurgical applications of Magnetohydrodynamics in Leoben, Austria. Kharicha is also a group leader of the Chair for “Simulation and Modelling of Metallurgical Processes”. The laboratory specializes in the simulations of MHD phenomena occurring in industrial processes involving liquid metals, electrolytes, and plasma media. Examples are: blankets for Fusion reactors, instabilities in aluminium reduction cells, Electroslag-remelting process, vacuum arcs, electric arcs, and continuous casting. As part of the Metallurgy Department, A. Kharicha is also working on different projects concerning the numerical modeling of flow-crystal growth interactions.


Ebrahim Karimi-Sibaki

+43 3842 402 - 3128


Ebrahim is a Research Fellow since 2011. His main activities involve modeling and simulation of multiphysics phenomena in electro-metallurgical processes,
His research interests comprise:
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD),
Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD),
Vacuum arc plasma

Alexander Vakhrushev

+43 3842 402 - 3125


Since 2009, A. Vakhrushev develops numerical models of the multi-phase phenomena
during continuous casting (CC) of the steel employing the open-source CFD software.
As a senior researcher, he deals with the magnetohydrodynamics effects on the turbulent
flow, solidification, and free surface behavior during the thin slab CC process.

Mihaela Stefan-Kharicha

+43 3842 402 3111


Since 2019 Mihaela Stefan-Kharicha is post-doc researcher and works on simulation of faceted crystal growth. Previously during his Ph D thesis, she performed solidification experiments of ammonium chloride in a die cast cell, using a PIV system for the characterization of the flow and equiaxed crystals behavior. Her interest topics are: crystal growth, solidification, PIV experiments, computational fluid dynamic.

Hadi Barati

+43 3842 402 - 3119


Hadi Barati is post-doc researcher and works on numerical modeling of metallurgical processes like continuous casting (focus on nozzle clogging), electric arc furnace (focus on plasma arc), and solidification. His research interests comprise: Numerical modeling, Computational metallurgy, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

Haijie Zhang

+43 3842 402 - 3129


Haijie Zhang is a post-doc researcher and works on the simulation of flow-solidification interaction phenomena. Subtopics including (1) nucleation and transport of equiaxed grains, (2) dendrite fragmentation, (3) remelting/grain-destruction of equiaxed grains, (4) columnar-to-equiaxed transition and equiaxed-to-columnar transition; (5) the effect of the flow on the mushy zone morphology, and (6) different mechanisms for macrosegregation, are of great interest in his research.


phd students

Mohamad Al Nasser

+43 3842 402 - 3110


Mohamad AL Nasser is PhD student at Montanuniversität. His research focus on electric arc furnace modeling and magnetohydrodynamic flows in conducting liquids. The research aims to simulate the behavior of the high current electric arc and predict the thermofluidic and magnetohydrodynamic fields inside the furnace. The arc interaction with melted bath and impingement effect on liquid metal bath is of great interest to the research. Moreover, the research aims to predict the thermal field distribution inside the whole furnace and thermal load on the refractories and erosion rate of the electrode.

Zhao Zhang

+43 3842 402 - 3112


Zhao Zhang is a PhD student of Montanuniversität Leoben and works on numerical modeling of solidification processes (focus on macrosegregation and as-cast structure) during continuous casting and semi-continuous casting. His research interests comprise: Macrosegregation, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Modeling, Solidification, Electromagnetic Stirring (EMS).

Ibrahim Sari

+43 3842 402 - 3118


Ibrahim Sari is a PhD student. He works on numerical modeling of solidification processes (focus on macro\micro-segregation and Columnar to equiaxed transition (CET)) under the effect of both thermosolutal convection and Electro-Magnetic-Stirring (EMS). His research interests comprise: macro/micro-segregation, Numerical simulation of Solidification process and columnar-equiaxed structures. At the present time he works on the solidification of high alloy steels in the centrifugal casting process.

Anastasiia Kadylnykova

+43 3842 402-3105


Professional interest include: physicochemical studies of metallurgical processes; nature of electrochemical process in metallurgy, especially electroslag remelting; investigation of the conditions of the reaction of the distribution of oxygen between the metal and the oxide melt during the flow of the current of various density through the Electro Slag Remelting slags of different conductivity.

Mehran ABDI

+43 3842 402 - 3108