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Steel&Iron Industry

Sep 15, 2023

Refractory materials play a vital role in the steel and iron industry, where extremely high temperatures and aggressive chemical environments are involved. Refractories are used to line and protect various equipment and structures, ensuring efficient and reliable steel and iron production. Here are some key applications of refractories in the steel and iron industry:

 

1. Blast Furnaces: Blast furnaces are large structures used to smelt iron ore into molten iron. Refractory materials line the walls, hearth, and bosh regions of blast furnaces to withstand the intense heat and chemical reactions. The refractories used in blast furnaces are typically high-alumina or carbon-based materials that can resist thermal cycling, chemical attack from reducing gases, and abrasion caused by descending materials.

2. Ladles: Ladles are used to transfer molten iron from the blast furnace to the steelmaking furnaces. Refractory linings in ladles provide thermal insulation and erosion/corrosion resistance. Different types of refractories, such as magnesia-carbon, alumina-carbon, and alumina-silica, are used depending on the specific requirements and operating conditions.

3. Steelmaking Furnaces: Steelmaking furnaces, such as basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs) and electric arc furnaces (EAFs), require refractory linings to withstand high temperatures and chemical reactions. In the BOF process, refractories in the vessel and the furnace lining are exposed to molten metal and oxidizing gases. EAFs use refractories in the furnace walls and roof to handle the intense heat and chemical environment created during electric arc melting.

4. Tundishes and Channel Induction Furnaces: In continuous casting processes, tundishes and channel induction furnaces are used to control the flow and temperature of molten metal. Refractory linings in these equipment must withstand thermal cycling, erosion, and chemical attack from the molten metal.

5. Refining Vessels: Refining vessels, such as ladle refining furnaces (LRFs) and vacuum degassers, are utilized to purify and refine molten steel. Refractory linings in these vessels provide thermal insulation and resistance to the corrosive and reactive elements during the refining process.

6. Continuous Casters: Continuous casting machines produce solidified steel billets, blooms, or slabs. Refractory materials are used in the mold, tundish, and rollers of continuous casters to ensure good thermal insulation, controlled solidification, and minimal heat loss.

7. Reheating Furnaces: Reheating furnaces are used to heat semi-finished steel products before subsequent rolling or forging processes. Refractories in these furnaces must withstand high temperatures, thermal cycling, and the corrosive effects of combustion gases.

8. Coke Ovens and Byproduct Plants: Refractories are used in coke ovens and byproduct plants to withstand the extreme temperatures during the carbonization of coal and the production of coke and byproducts. These refractories provide insulation and resistance to chemical attack and mechanical stress.

 

Refractory materials used in the steel and iron industry are carefully selected based on the specific conditions of each application, such as temperature, chemical environment, abrasion resistance, thermal shock resistance, and mechanical strength. The proper selection and maintenance of refractory linings are crucial to ensure the safety, efficiency, and longevity of the steel and iron production processes.

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