All About Refractory Coatings

For those who work with industrial furnaces, the term “refractory coating” might be an all too familiar one that they hear every day. For folks outside of that field or who have just started working with industrial equipment, this term might be shrouded in confusion and mystery. For an all-inclusive introduction of refractory coatings, we’ve listed everything you need to know about refractory coatings in the article below. At least, we have shared everything you need to start with a solid foundation on this subject.

What is a refractory coating?

At its core, a refractory coating is a special type of paint-like finish that protects a surface. This benefits those using the refractory coating because it lowers costs associated with maintenance, such as cleaning and repair, in the short and long term. 

If you have never heard the term refractory coating while working with repairing and manufacturing furnaces, it may be because this finish goes by many different names. Common alternative names for refractory coatings include “foundry coating,” “protective paint,” “blackings,” or “washes.” What a refractory coating is called doesn’t matter as much as what is in the coating. No matter what it is named, as long as the components of the refractory coating are the same and it serves its intended purpose, that is what professionals in the industry care about.

To create a refractory coating, manufacturers of the product combine a refractory mineral with other minerals. Generally, the ratio of refractory minerals to other minerals is 90:10 parts. Additionally, the refractory coating needs to have a solvent or carrier liquid that allows the coating to apply to surfaces smoothly and effectively. The solvent is used to spread the minerals onto a surface. As the coating dries over time, the solvent evaporates, leaving the refractory minerals to do their job.

What is a refractory coating used to accomplish?

Typically, a refractory coating is used to protect the inside of industrial furnaces and similar items. With the refractory coating in place, the cost of cleaning, repairing, and maintaining a piece of equipment decreases significantly in most cases. This is why it tends to be a worthwhile investment for those who own and operate an industrial furnace.

Is a refractory coating necessary?

A refractory coating is not always necessary or useful. It can be a rather pricey coating to use on furnaces and other items, so the cost does not always justify its use. Sometimes, the refractory coating costs more than it’ll benefit the item where it is being used. For example, if the maintenance, repair, and cleaning of a furnace are projected to be relatively inexpensive, then a refractory coating might actually cost the manufacturer or owner of the furnace more than using a less expensive coating. 

For items that are expensive to maintain and clean, a refractory coating can be a wise investment for preventing excessive future costs. It depends on the specific situation at hand.


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