COMMON CAUSES OF PREMATURE REFRACTORY FAILURE

Furnaces constantly operate under extremely harsh conditions characterised by intense levels of heat, chemical attack and mechanical stress. These vessels are equipped with specially designed refractory linings that play extremely crucial roles in the proper functioning of the furnace systems due to their high strengths and resistance characteristics. 



Experience has however demonstrated that a number of operational and installation issues may result in costly premature refractory failures. In the event of such failure; a series of independent investigations has to be done to establish the root cause of the incident and establish ways to avoid future recurrences. In a nutshell; the investigations are often designed to eliminate or validate each of the following key refractory aspects that amongst many others, are popular known causes of premature refractory failure:

  • Excess furnace internal temperatures: reaching refractory material melting point results in their softening and deforming

  • Spalling / Thermal shock: Cracking of refractories due to stress

  • Slagging: chemical reactions on the refractory surface or within the refractory

  • Hydration: resulting in large volume changes and cracking

  • Shell deformation

  • Faulty refractories and / or faulty installation

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