Refractory products are advanced ceramic materials that can survive mechanical abrasion and heavy thermal & chemical corrosion at high temperatures. They convey a significant yet overlooked role in the everyday processes of several sectors by providing corrosion resistance, thermal insulation, and mechanical strength. According to Fortune Business Insights™, the refractories market size was valued at USD 32.25 billion in 2021. It is anticipated to grow from USD 33.01 billion in 2022 to USD 44.82 billion by 2029 at a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period.
Declined Production Amid Pandemic is Restricting Growth
Refractory product production is an important service. Due to the pandemic, raw materials supply, such as non-clay sand and binders, was hampered. Many organizations witnessed a scarcity of workforce during the pandemic, which hampered the industrial growth rate. Glass and cement organizations decreased manufacturing due to sluggish acceptance from the construction and automotive industries. Furthermore, one more factor that affected the business growth was reduced manufacturing operations in the end-use sectors. Also, iron and non-ferrous metals production was affected due to mining operations experiencing closure during the pandemic.
Types of Refractories and their Applications
Non-Fired Refractory Products: These products are made from granular and crushed refractory materials, which act as suitable binders and are used without being fired.
Special Refractory: These refractories are made from special properties obtained from one or more refractory non-oxides, carbon, and high melting point oxides.
Fired Refractory Products: These products are obtained by molding, drying, kneading, and high-temperature firing of powdery and granular refractory raw binders and materials.
Functional Refractory Materials: These non-fired materials are clubbed with powdered and granulated refractory raw material binders to create specific shapes that have specific melting applications.
Clay Bricks: These are aluminum silicate refractory ingredients developed from cristobalite, mullite, and glass phase with AL203 content of 30% to 48%. These bricks are often utilized in rotary kilns, masonry blast furnaces, glass kilns, and hot blast stoves.
Monolithic Refractory: Monolithic refractories are constituents with a realistic gradation of powdery refractory raw materials, granular, several admixtures, and binders. These are not melted at maximum temperatures but are directly utilized after grilling, mixing, and molding.
Corundum Bricks: Corundum bricks are refractory products with corundum and alumina content of ≥90% as the main phase. These bricks are majorly utilized in refining outside the furnace, sliding nozzles, blast furnaces, and hot blast stoves.
High Alumina Bricks: These refractory materials with more than 48% AL3 content are mainly formed using glass, mullite, and corundum. These are majorly utilized in the metallurgy sector to develop the nozzle and plug of a pouring system, steel drum, electric furnace roof, blast furnace, and hot air furnace.
Magnesium Bricks: These bricks are alkaline refractory materials made from raw materials, such as fused magnesia or sintered magnesia, which are sintered and press-molded. These are majorly utilized in mixed iron, electric, and open-hearth furnaces.
Ramming Material: It is a bulk material designed by a sturdy ramming technique, which is poised of a certain size of a binder, an additive, and refractory material. It is predominantly utilized in the overall lining of several industrial furnaces such as electric furnace bottom, ladle lining, induction furnace lining, tapping trough, and an open-hearth furnace bottom.
Silicon Bricks: The Si02 content of silicon brick is more than 93%, which is mainly composed of glass, cristobalite, phosphor quartz, and residual quartz. These bricks are utilized to develop the walls of vaults of other high-temperature kilns, open-hearth heat storage chambers, high-temperature bearing parts of hot blast stoves, and coking oven carbonization & combustion chambers.
Plastic Refractory: These are amorphous refractory materials having decent plasticity over a long time. It comprises certain refractory grade water, plasticizer, admixture, and binder.
Top Companies Listed by Fortune Business Insights™:
- Beijing Lier High-Temperature Materials Co., Ltd.
- HarbisonWalker International
- Intocast Group
- Alsey Refractories Co.
- Magnezit Group
- Posco Chemical
- RHI Magnesita
Future of Refractory Customization
A vital change detected in the industry is the development of refractory products from several materials. For example, magnesia materials are clubbed with chromium oxide to form magnesia-chrome refractory. These products have a superior tolerance and high refractoriness against chemical corrosion. Moreover, unshaped products, such as monoliths formed from additives, binders, and aggregates, are in high demand from the cement and steel sectors.