A refractory material is one capable of resisting very high temperatures without deteriorating its physical and chemical properties. They are essential for an infinity of industrial processes, since most of the products we use daily require, directly or indirectly, these materials for their manufacture. The main industries that use refractory materials in their production processes are iron, steel, glass, aluminium, copper, cement, electricity generation, waste treatment, and petrochemicals, among others.
Without them it would be impossible to manufacture the products generated in the aforementioned industries, therefore, the production of refractory materials is essential for the operation of many of the world’s industries.
These materials are consumed to protect production processes while preserving their characteristics when exposed to extreme conditions. They can be classified by their:
• Presentation: Divides the materials into formed (bricks and precast shapes), and non-formed (concrete and various materials such as example, insulating ceramic fibres).
• Purpose: Classifies the materials between dense, exposed to the industrial process, and insulating, whose mission is to keep the heat inside the unit to reduce the thermal consumption of fuels and protect the metal casing from high temperatures.
• Chemical composition: Depending on the percentages of constituents and additives, groups and sub-groups are established: silica systems, silica-alumina, aluminous materials, magnesia-based, etc., with additions of carbon, zirconia, silicon carbide, etc. ., as well as combinations of them and special formulations.
• Chemical character: Indicates the reactive character of the material (acid, neutral or basic), its behaviour at high temperatures, and with which materials it will present chemical reactions.
• Chemical nature: Classification valid for the research and development of new products. Mainly refractory materials are composed of oxides.
For its installation, it is necessary to have highly trained personnel, with knowledge, experience, and excellence in the construction of refractory linings for processes that work continuously at high temperatures, with great mechanical, thermal, and chemical demand.