An ironmaking blast furnace is a complex multiphase flow reactor involving gas, powder, liquid and solid phases. Understanding the flow behaviour of these phases is of paramount importance to the control and optimization of the process. Mathematical modelling, often coupled with physical modelling, plays an important role in this development. Yagi1) gave a comprehensive review of the early studies in this area in 1993. Significant progress has since been made, partially driven by the needs in research but mainly as a result of the rapid development of computer and computational technologies. This paper reviews these developments, covering the formulation, validation and application of mathematical models for gas–solid, gas–liquid, gas–powder and multiphase flows. The need for further developments is also discussed.