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A theoretical investigation of heat flow, solidification and solid shell resistance “Ic” has been undertaken by using a mathematical model and previous plant trials. The ultimate purpose is to develop operating conditions and therefore to improve the surface quality for continuously cast steel slabs. A new simple criterion called mold thermomechanical rigidity “MTMR” has been proposed to evaluate and to improve these purposes. The parameters of MTMR and its non-dimensional number which use to control the surface defects are present in this investigation. Previous plant trails of slab surface defects formation have been investigated thermo-mechanically with this criterion. The predications show that this criterion is very sensitive of operating parameters and is a significant qualitative tool to evaluate the surface quality. From examination of the behavior of MTMR, the susceptibility and mechanism of surface defects formations with MTMR have been primarily discussed.