Boiler Refractory and Repair: 101

Aug | 15 | 2017

Refractories are heat resistant materials used to line boilers, furnaces and other processing equipment. They play a critical role in reducing heat loss in boilers and maximizing efficiency.

The Role of Refractories in Boiler Performance

Refractory materials are used to line boiler combustion chambers. High-grade refractories ensure minimal heat loss during the combustion process, thereby increasing the efficiency and performance of the boiler.

Refractory quality is tremendously important. High-quality materials are needed to ensure safe boiler operation and also to prolong the life of the boiler. The use of low-quality refractories can increase the risk of extended downtime and equipment failure. They also can significantly reduce the safety of boilers and elevate the risk of accidents.

Another important function of refractories is to preserve heat in the boiler when it is not in operation. This allows operators to maintain heat between firings, which increases thermal efficiency.

Refractory Repair

While refractories are often very robust and capable of withstanding high temperatures and pressures and mechanical abrasion, they do wear out over time. When this occurs, refractories must be repaired or replaced.

The failure of refractories can be due to a number of factors including spalling, chemical corrosion, and incorrect installation. Spalling is one of the major causes of refractory failure. It can be thermal or mechanical in nature. Thermal spalling is caused by unequal expansion and contraction of refractory material. Mechanical spalling often arises when the refractory is loaded incorrectly or mishandled.

Common signs that the refractory material of your boiler may need repair include fractured or broken refractory tiles. You may also see evidence of boiler leaks, difficulty in opening and closing refractory doors, and damaged seal joints.

Overall, the failure of refractories can cause a substantial drop in boiler performance. As a result, it’s vital for operators to not only invest in quality refractories, but also to have a qualified and experienced boiler technician on call to carry our refractory repairs when necessary.


Honiron Manufacturing is a global manufacturing solutions provider of industrial process equipment serving the sugar, oil and gas, petrochemical, carbon black, and food processing industries. Combining operational expertise, single-source capabilities and proven processes, we provide innovative, high-value manufacturing solutions that meet our client’s operational challenges - safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively.

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