Corrosion of refractories: understanding the fundamentals, applying them to industrial situations, and proposing ways to minimize refractory wear

Tuesday, September 14, 2021, Chicago, Illinois, USA


Refractories are subjected to chemical degradation at high temperature caused by their environment, which can be significant, if not catastrophic. Corrosion is a complex matter, which will remain a recurrent topic, always to be considered.

So, understanding the corrosion of refractories is crucial to extend campaign lifetime.

UNITECR 2021 FIRE COURSE will provide participants with the conceptual and practical tools they need to understand and predict thermochemical phenomena, thereby offering new possibilities of improving operational performance of refractories exposed to an increasingly harsh environment in industrial situations (e.g., steel-making, non-ferrous metallurgy, incineration, new energy processes, etc.)


  • Scientists and students with study majors in refractory and ceramic engineering, metallurgy, and materials (master's or Ph.D. level)
  • Engineers and technologists who are employed in the refractory manufacturing or refractory consuming industry, who require an updated source on corrosion knowledge

Course schedule

8 – 8:10 a.m.  Introduction and context, Jacques Poirier and Michel Rigaud

  • Issues of refractory corrosion
  • Degradation factors
  • Characteristics and durability of refractories

8:10 – 9:40 a.m.  Thermodynamics and refractory corrosion calculations, In-Ho Jung

  • Basic knowledge of thermodynamics
  • Slag structure and basicity, viscosity of slag
  • Computational thermodynamics
  • Refractory corrosion applications

9:40 – 10:20 a.m.  Wetting, infiltration, Christos Aneziris

  • Surface and interfacial energies
  • Wettability behavior of ideal and non-ideal solid surfaces
  • Contribution of wettability on melt corrosion of refractories
  • Contribution of control and prevention of non-metallic inclusions, applications to ceramic filters: design, efficiency, industrial results


10:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.  The fundamental mechanisms of corrosion and the solutions to limit the thermochemical degradations, Jacques Poirier

  • Corrosion by liquid species (metal, slag, molten salts)
    • Marangoni effect
    • Direct and indirect dissolution, dissolution with precipitation of new compounds, growth of reaction layers
    • Oxido-reduction, carbo reduction, oxo reduction, protective in-situ reactions
    • Microstructures of corroded refractories, industrial examples
  • Corrosion by gaseous species
    • The mechanisms: direct attack, condensation of gas and formation of corrosive liquid phases
    • The reactions: oxidation, reduction, dissociation, volatilization
    • Microstructures of corroded refractories, industrial examples


1 – 2 p.m.  In situ and advanced characterization methods to study corrosion, Emmanuel de Bilbao

  • Transport properties: permeability and capillary suction
  • Corrosion kinetics using time-resolved high-temperature X-ray diffraction

2 – 5:40 p.m.  Impact of refractories corrosion on industrial processes: A selection of case studies

2 – 3 p.m.  Steelmaking, Philippe Blumenfeld

  • Overview of the essential steps in steelmaking process
  • Physico-chemical conditions in steel tools
  • Temperature evolution: from the blast furnace to continuous casting
  • the evolution of the partial pressure of oxygen in equilibrium with the metal
  • Red-Ox equilibriums
  • Flow rates and matter


3:20 – 4:20 p.m.  Steelmaking (continued), Philippe Blumenfeld

  • The families of refractory used in the steel industry
  • Properties of refractories and their adaptation to changing conditions on the steel manufacturing route
  • Critical wear factors and optimum choice of materials

4:20 – 4:50 p.m.  Incineration, Emmanuel de Bilbao

  • Post-mortem analysis
  • Failure modes
  • Corrosion mechanisms
  • Refractory solutions

4:50 – 5:20 p.m.  New energies, Thorsten Tonnesen

  • Reactors of gasification
  • Interactions between refractories and ashes or salts
  • Mechanisms of corrosion
  • Refractory solutions

5:20 – 5:40 p.m.  Aluminum industry, Thorsten Tonnesen

  • Al alloys
  • Dross
  • Corundum growth

5:40 – 6 p.m.  Conclusion and evaluation, Jacques Poirier and Michel Rigaud


  • Speakers' PowerPoint presentations (USB keys)
  • The F.I.R.E. Compendium series 2 Corrosion of Refractories: The Fundamentals, Testing and Characterization Methods and the Impact of Corrosion will be available to participants who wish to have them (additional registration fees: 220 euros/$160.22 US dollars)

Speaker lineup

Christos Aneziris
Christos Aneziris

Christos Aneziris is head of ceramics at the Institute of Ceramics, Glass and Construction Materials, where his research activities include refractories, thermal shock performance, corrosion, high temperature wettability, ceramic filters, and metal matrix composites. He is also coordinator of the Collaborative Research Center 920 of the German Research Foundation. Previously, he was Gast Professor at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, China. Aneziris is also professor of ceramics at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg. He has authored or co-authored over 300 journal papers, 110 proceedings, and holds 50 patents. Aneziris holds a Dipl.-Ing. degree in metallurgy from NTUA, Greece, and a  Dr.-Ing. from RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Philippe Blumenfeld
Philippe Blumenfeld

Philippe Blumenfeld is CTO for refractories in the Europe flat carbon segment of ArcelorMittal. He spent 15 years with research teams dealing with all possible aspects of refractories, especially their behavior and optimization relating to process conditions. He’s been involved with fundamental projects concerning thermomechanical and chemical wear mechanisms, as well as industrial projects including technical support for Usinor steel plants. He is an expert for ArcelorMittal’s European integrated plants and other ArcelorMittal plants around the world. Blumenfeld holds a Ph.D. in earth sciences from the University of Nancy, France.

Emmanuel de Bilbao
Emmanuel de Bilbao

Emmanuel de Bilbao is assistant professor at the University of Orleans, France. He heads the research group Refractory Materials, design and corrosion, CEMHTI, CNRS in Orléans, France. As an expert in refractories, de Bilbao’s research interests primarily include coupling between mechanics and chemistry. He has published over 24 articles, given more than 30 oral presentations, and has one patent. de Bilbao holds a M.Sc. degree from École Normale Supérieure of Cachan and a Ph.D. from the University of Orléans, France.

In-Ho Jung
In-Ho Jung

In-Ho Jung is professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Seoul National University, South Korea, and co-developer of FactSage software. He was previously assistant and associate professor at the Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Jung’s research includes development of FactSage thermodynamic databases for oxide and metallic systems and applications of thermodynamic calculations to materials design and process optimization. He has published more than 200 journal papers and has given over 100 presentations at international conferences. He leads the FactSage Steelmaking Consortium project supported by 11 international steel companies and the FIRE project on refractory corrosion co-sponsored by seven international companies. Jung holds a M.Sc. degree in material science and engineering from Postech, South Korea, and a Ph.D. from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Canada.

Jacques Poirier
Jacques Poirier

Jacques Poirier is Professor Emeritus at the University of Orleans, France. He works in the field of refractories for metallurgical industries, steel making, energy, cement, incineration, and raw materials; and previously headed the refractory laboratory at Arcelor Process R&D. Poirier’s research involves developing new global technological solutions in the refractory field, including best practices, high temperature advanced ceramics, design of reactor linings, energy savings, and environmental issues, and makes a significant contribution to refractory literature. He has published over 140 articles, has given more than 250 presentations as an invited speaker, and holds 15 patents. He has also graduated 24 Ph.D. students. Poirier holds a M.Sc. degree in material science from INSA and a Ph.D. from University of Orleans, France.

Michel Rigaud
Michel Rigaud

Michel Rigaud is Professor Emeritus at University of Montreal, Canada. He previously was professor in metallurgical and material engineering at Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Canada. Rigaud was also executive secretary for the Federation International for Refractory Research and Education. His research activities include thermodynamics of alloys, oxidation of metals, extractive metallurgy, steelmaking, refractory engineering, and technological forecasting. He has published more than 275 papers, 10 books, and has graduated 75 students. He holds a M.Sc.A. and a D.Sc.A. in metallurgical engineering from the University of Montreal.

Thorsten Tonnesen
Thorsten Tonnesen

Thorsten Tonnesen is senior scientific researcher and heads the Refractories Research Group at the Institute of Mineral Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Germany. He teaches the courses Refractory Materials: Fundamentals and Properties and Refractory Materials: Engineering and Testing at the university. He has 32 publications, 65 congress/conference contributions, and one patent application. Tonnesen holds a Ph.D. in metallurgy and materials science from RWTH Aachen University.