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Refractory is a heat resistant material used to line high temperature furnaces, reactors, and other processing units. It is more heat resistant than metals and is required for heating applications above 1000°F (538°C). Refractories are designed to resist chemical attack, withstand molten metal and slag erosion, thermal shock, physical impact, catalytic heat and similar adverse conditions.

Refractory Applications

Refractories are used in many different industries around the world, such as: petroleum refining, petrochemicals, power generation, cement, metals and mining, and many more. These refractories are used as a critical component inside high temperature processing equipment. For example, in a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) in an oil refinery, refractory is primarily used for its abrasion and heat resistant properties. It is also used for its chemical and heat resistant properties in other processing units such as sulfur recovery units.

Overall, refractory is commonly used to line the insides of pressure vessels, piping, furnaces, flue gas ducting, and other process equipment. The main characteristics of refractory, including abrasion-resistance, heat-insulation, and anti-chemical-attack properties, are critical for ensuring the base metals in processing equipment are protected.

Importance of Refractory

Reliable refractory is an important consideration for asset integrity managers in refining and petrochemical facilities. Without the proper refractory system installed and of sufficient quality for each processing service, owner-operators would not be able to run their equipment safely, reliably, properly or efficiently, and would require much more available capital for steel repairs and replacement due to damage or degradation caused by heat, chemicals, and abrasion. With adequate, specific, fit-for-purpose, new-generation refractory systems, facility managers can be confident that their operations will not be impaired or compromised by refractory failures.



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Articles about Refractory

We’re excited to announce a new section of our website that is dedicated to equipping inspectors with greater knowledge and proficiency across various subject matter areas.

July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

An explanation of refractory including its uses and recent advancements in abrasion-resistant materials, dry-out/cure times, improved installation methods, and anchoring systems.

Authors: Jackson Espinoza
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Refractory materials have significantly evolved during the past 15 years, testing technology is much more sophisticated, and the need for test technicians to be properly trained and experienced to use that technology is much more important than it...

Authors: Jeremy Wimberly
Partner Content

Antea delivers highly flexible risk-based asset integrity software with 3D Digital Twin integration to optimize maintenance, reduce risk, and improve mechanical integrity for oil and gas, power generation, and chemical plants and facilities....

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