The blast furnace is the primary liquid iron production unit for the majority of the world’s steel. At present, our knowledge of the blast furnace does not extend to a full description of the material flow, chemistry and internal physical structure of the furnace. This is due to the highly complex inter-dependent thermal, physical and chemical phenomena within the furnace, and to limited access to the furnace to observe important phenomena directly. This study is focused on developing an improved understanding of liquid flows in the lower zone of the blast furnace. To this end, two experimental methods have been developed in which the molten slag flow through a laboratory scale coke bed and the flow through a narrow channel in coke are studied. The lower zone of a blast furnace may be approximated to a packed bed. Therefore, fundamental studies of liquid flows in a packed bed and channels developed between packed coke particles should offer insights into blast furnace performance and operation.