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
Faulty refractories and / or faulty installation