Common Refractory Failures

Refractory materials are used in fired heaters and kilns alike, keeping them functioning at optimal levels of performance. They are also key to keeping efficiency high, costs low and environmental impact minimal.

Refractory failures stem from a variety of issues. Identify problems with your refractory material early on to prevent all-out failures or costly repairs. Contractors can help repair and install refractory materials and structures.

Fiber modules falling from the roof

This refractory module issue often originates from poor materials as well as incomplete or shoddy design and installation. When a fiber module falls from the roof, it is an indication that one of these issues has occurred.

If a fiber module falls from the roof and produces visible gaps in coverage, the welding of studs could be the issue. Additionally, if the fiber module appears to have corroded, casing or protective coating may not have been applied during installation. Inspect the materials by checking for corrosion and damage.

There can be issues even if the fiber modules have not completely fallen from the roof. For example, if fiber modules appear worn down but the studs are still in place and sturdy, water weight may have absorbed and warped parts of the fiber material. If fiber modules show damage only in a few key sections, damage could also have been done at the time of installation and mechanical damage could build up during operation.

Insulating fire bricks collapse

Because fire bricks are subjected to high heat, they need to be able to expand and retract accordingly. If this movement is not enabled, high heat can displace bricks and cause collapse of the structure. Additionally, if bricks are not anchored correctly using expansion joints, this can result in bowing of the materials or construction.

There are different grades of brick available when installing a fired heater or kiln—if the wrong grade is installed, the bricks may crack or melt. If bricks are discolored, this is another sign that the wrong brick grade has been used. When the right bricks are installed, they can last up to thirty years. Making the investment upfront in a high-quality brick pays off over its long life.

Other common refractory failures

Most refractory issues stem from a combination of wrong materials poorly installed or designed. Without high-quality, high-caliber materials, you could see the walls of your structure lean or be deformed by high heat over time.

Don’t forget to check the floor of your kiln or fired heater as well. During installation, if debris is allowed to build up at the expansion joint gap, this can cause cracking and eventual failure. Most commonly this is caused by poor attention to detail during the design and installation phases.

If you suspect that your kiln or fired heater may be in danger of failing, preventative maintenance, applied early, can keep it functioning reliably for a longer time. Contact the professionals at ACMS Group for expert advice and to schedule a consultation to handle your refractory module issues. We look forward to assisting you.

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