Refractory Newsletter Header

December 2012                                                                                            Issue 23

Installation Celebration at TISCO
AHMSA BF #5 Reline
J.R. Simplot Installing HotPressed Bricks
25,800 HotPressed Bricks in 8 Days
The HIHAC Oxidation Test for Refractories
The 6th ICSTI Conference










6th ICSTI 


Visit our website!  



Join Our Mailing List

Envelope Image 1

Having Trouble Viewing this Email?


Upcoming Events in2013

Jamshedpur, India

Feb 11-13

3rd International Seminar on Refractories 


Jakarta, Indonesia

Feb 20-23

Indo Metal


Muldersdrift, RSA

April 23-24

SAIMM Refractory Conference


Pittsburgh, PA, USA

May 6-9

AISTech 2013


Almaty, Kazakhstan

June 9-13

Infacon XIII 


Istanbul, Turley

June 23-26

EMC 2013

 Newsletter Archive
Chinese Flag 2
Read the Newsletter#23 in Mandarin Chinese

Russian Flag 

Read Newsletter #23 in Russian

Spanish Flag

Read Newsletter
#23 in Spanish

German Flag

 Read Newsletter #23 in German

French Flag

Read Newsletter #23 in French

Dear Newsletter Reader,


You are now one of over 2260 subscribing to our Newsletter, the number is steadily increasing and we take that as a sign that its content is worth reading, even for a busy professional in the 21st century. Subjects in this issue will be stories about an installation ceremony in Taiyuan, China, the hearth repair of a blast furnace in Mexico, a hearth lining decision made in Germany 8 years ago, a large fertilizer producer using HotPressed™ bricks and a great conference in beautiful Rio de Janeiro. There is also a new and much improved refractory testing method that we would like to inform you about. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Holiday Season. 

GrafTech Holiday Card 

Installation Ceremony at TISCO for New Blast Furnace #4

From left to right we see Mr. Yan Huihong, Mr. Paulo Clemente, Mr. Liu Jianyong and Mr. Xiang Hongyu at the TISCO plant.
This photo to the left shows the celebration ceremony when starting the blast furnace hearth installation on October 13th in Taiyuan, China.  In front of the group is the first block of CJR™ Graphite--great looking, all dressed up and ready to be installed! The lining life expectations exceed 25 years!

Quoting TISCO president Mr. Liu Fuxing,  "The UCAR® lining installed in blast furnace #5 (WV 4,747 m³) has been proven a success after only 6 years of operation, indicating again that we made the right decision to select one more UCAR® hearth lining for this key production unit in Taiyuan".  Back in June

Mr Liu Fu Xing -Peter Duncanson-Henry Yu
Left to Right:  Mr. Peter Duncanson of GrafTech, Mr. Liu Fuxing of TISCO and Mr. William Sin of GrafTech back in 2010.

2010, we first reported about this order that TISCO had just awarded GrafTech (read story here) in addition to CJR™ Graphite, this large hearth lining includes proven refractory materials like GradeD™ Carbon Blocks, NMA™ Carbon Bricks, NMD™ Semigraphite Bricks, RP4™ Ram, EZRam™ RP10 Ramming Paste,Smart Ram® RP20 Ramming Paste and C34™ Cement.  To the right is a photo from the happy event in 2010.  Taking a closer look at the total of 16 very large (>4,000 m³) blast furnaces in operation in China today, eleven of these are producing iron using UCAR® hearth lining technology! Needless to say, that is a pretty good track record.

AHMSA-Campaign Extension of Blast Furnace #5


As reported earlier, Mexican steelmaker, AHMSA set several monthly production records last year,  with the company's new blast furnace exceeding its targeted daily output. The firm's new BF #6 is part of AHMSA's Fénix project, exceeded its 4,000 tons/day nominal production capacity by producing 4,206 t/day for a total monthly output of 130,372 t.  This is 9% above the target.  AHMSA is the largest integrated steelmaker in Mexico.  It produces mostly flat products but also some heavy structurals. Its Fénix project should increase its liquid steel capacity to 5.5m t/year. BF #6 in Monclova is actually the first completely new blast furnace to be constructed in North America in 30 years. The last one was in Ontario, Canada in 1980. For this new furnace, GrafTech supplied refractories for the hearth pad, wall, tuyere breast, bosh, belly and lower stack. The UCAR® lining was installed in March 2010.

AHMSA's Blast furnace #5 was shut down on May 21 for a planned 30 day outaAHMSA 1ge. Many improvements were scheduled during the shutdown. The primary concern was the condition of the refractory lining. This UCAR® hearth has been in use since August 1994 with over 35.5 million tons of iron produced. A portal approximately

2 m x 2 m was cut through the BF shell between the two tapholes.  In this photo below you can see that the hearth wall maintains very good HotPressed™ brick thickness after almost 18 years. The hearth sidewalls were cleared of the frozen skull typical of a UCAR® lining and exposed from approximately 0.8 meters above the hearth bottom to the tuyere band. The tuyere surrounds/tuyere band were also exposed. AHMSA 2

Both the hearth sidewalls and tuyere  surrounds/band were in excellent condition and the operators are very pleased with the refractory performance. AHMSA decided to replace the refractory wall at the two tapholes as they are worn but in remarkable good condition, as these have never been repaired during this 18 year hearth campaign.  HotPressed™ bricks and C34™ Cement were used for this repair. 

Due to the good condition of the hearth lining, AHMSA has decided to operate blast furnace #5 at least until 2017 before relining. 

We would like to congratulate AHMSA and its operators for breaking records with their new furnace and for excellent hearth lining management of their old furnace. Those linings will be there to support you running that blast furnace as fast as you can for many years.  The higher the productivity, the more the lining proves its tremendous value in use.

J.R. Simplot Installing HotPressed™ Carbon Bricks in their Phosphoric Acid Process 


The Simplot company was started in 1923.  Today Simplot is a US-based food and agribusiness empire, embracing research and technology improvements that are revolutionizing fertilizer and food production. Simplot Phosphates LLC, Rock Springs, Wyoming, is part of the company's fertilizer division.  More information about the company is available here 

We are informed that Simplot produces high-quality phosphate fertilizer, while maintaining its status as a low-cost leader in the fertilizer industry. Fertilizer helps replace missing soil nutrients, thereby promoting stronger plants. In turn, organic matter is increased, root systems are strengthened, soil is less susceptible to wind, water erosion, and the threat of contamination to rivers and streams is reduced.

GrafTech is the only domestic North American supplier of Carbon Chemical Bricks, offering superior performance, customer service and competitive lead times. Each of the 36,200 bricks supplied to Simplot were proudly made in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The consistent high quality and the extremely low permeability of HotPressed™ CarbonBricks allows for minimum acid penetration in the refractory linings and maximum campaign life. The GrafTech material will be used to reline an Isothermal Reactor and the life expectancy of the lining exceeds 20 years.
The schematic below shows the Simplot fertilizer process in Rock Springs.

 SIMPLOT Diagram  

**Diagram courtesy of


Salzgitter Installed 25,800 HotPressed™ Bricks in 8 Days 8 Years Ago


In May 2004, Salzgitter Flachstahl in Germany rebuilt blast furnace B. This is a modern furnace with a hearth diameter of 11.2m and a working volume of 2,530 m³. Access the paper New Hearth Lining Direction at Salzgitter Flachstahl Blast Furnace B first presented at the 2005 ECIC Conference here. The paper describes one of the major changes that was made, namely to replace the existing conventional carbon block hearth lining with a UCAR® freeze lining made in the USA. The ambition was to accomplish a very long and trouble-free campaign, similar to what is recorded at many other leading iron makers utilizing this concept and unique materials. And so far, this looks like an excellent decision. It took 1,700 tons of material to line the hearth of blast furnace B. Prior to the Salzgitter Installationinstallation, the old furnace lining was excavated, revealing that in some wall sections, there was a residual refractory thickness of only about 50 mm of carbon block - the hearth wall was originally 1,000 mm thick! This was 8 years ago and as expected, the hearth is still in full operation. And also well worth noting - the installation time: 25,800 UCAR® HotPressed™ Bricks installed in 8 days. The installation contractor was Dutch company Pirson RefractoriesAdditional details from this installation are available at Salzgitter's own web page here. 

Introducing the HIHAC™ Oxidation Test for Refractories


Studying blast furnace operations around the world, one can conclude that there will be some operators allowing water into the hearths for extended periods without acting in time to repair leaks or prevent damage. These hearths will benefit from a carbon and semigraphite refractory that oxidizes less and that can better handle these types of "humid" operations. Key in determining and comparing the oxidation resistance for a carbon refractory intended to be used in a blast furnace hearth and under these very special conditions is the oxidation testing. Two types of oxidation test methods are presently used by GrafTech in order to measure the oxidation rate of carbon and semigraphite refractories. First is a standard ASTM method to measure oxidation rates of carbon/graphite materials under dry air environment. In this method samples with size 25 x 25 mm are oxidized in air at around 750 °C and the oxidation rate is determined as a measure of weight loss experienced by the sample. This simple test or a similar method is used by most carbon block manufacturers today, as specified in their product data sheets.

The new and far superior test is a technique developed by GrafTech to measure oxidation rates of carbon/graphite materials in a humid air environment. In this method samples with rectangular cross-section are oxidized in humid air at around 1200 °C and the oxidation rate is determined from the reaction products formed during the oxidation process. This proprietary oxidation testing technique, also referred to as the HIHAC™ Oxidation Test, provides two main advantages over the standard ASTM oxidation test:

(i)      it more accurately simulates the temperature and environment encountered by the refractories in a blast furnace in situations with water present and

(ii)     it gives an accurate measurement of the oxidation rate for the carbon/graphite samples.
Refractory Test Blocks     

The 6th ICSTI Conference Conducted in Rio de Janeiro 

Pete Duncanson
GrafTech's Mr. Peter Duncanson presenting a paper at the Rio conference


In October, the ICSTI 2012 conference in Rio was held jointly with the traditional 42nd ABM Ironmaking Seminar and the 13th ABM Iron Ore Symposium, both organized by the Brazilian Association for Metallurgy, Materials and Mining - ABM. There were close to 300 papers presented and nearly 500 attendees.

One of the papers that was presented at the conference is titled, "Selecting Lining Materials to Achieve Long and Productive Furnace Hearth Campaigns" from authors Peter Sylvén, Peter L. Duncanson and Luis Fontes of GrafTech. Links here (English) (Chinese). This paper discusses the root causes of hearth failure and suggests how these should be taken into consideration when selecting refractory materials and designing hearth walls for best performance in modern high productivity blast furnaces, in line with steel companies' continuous drive for better results.

Smiling Workers 

Redefining Limits

GrafTech, HotPressed, ChillKote, C34, GR37, Grade D, NMA, NMD, RP4, SmartRam, UniGraf, RefractoryFlex, FlexLine, and FlexRepair are all trademarks of GrafTech International Holdings Inc.  UCAR® is a registered trademark used under license by GrafTech International Holdings Inc.  The information contained in or referred to in this newsletter is based on data believed to be reliable but GrafTech makes no warranties, express or implied, as to its accuracy and assumes no liability arising out of its use.  GrafTech's liability to purchasers is expressly limited to the terms and conditions of sale. ©2012 GrafTech International Holdings Inc.