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National Seminar on Thermal Power Plant Performance Management - NSTPPPM


Impact of Refractory Lining Design on its

D.K. Singh, Ashok Kumar and Prem Lata Singh
Abstract--- Reliable and Predictable performance of
refractory lining system of a boiler is an indispensable
condition for smooth functioning of a thermal power plant.
This is much more applicable for a power plant boiler
working on CFBC technology. In India the availability of coal
of prime quality is limited and interior quality coal is
available in abundance. Under this situation the CFBC based
power plants are gaining popularity due to its flexibility of
using coal of interior quality and many other combustibles as
fuel. This was unthinkable in case of P.C. fired boilers.
However, there is one drawback, specific to CFBC boiler,
being faced by the power plant operators. The process
technology of a CFBC boiler generates conditions of severe
erosion and corrosion on the path of flue gases. Application of
refractory lining becomes essential for protection of the boiler
structure and its pressure parts. The present design of
refractory lining system has proved inadequate to withstand
the destructive forces working on the lining. These results in
failure of the lining in highly stressed areas forcing power
plant operators to take unplanned shut downs for repairs at
the cost of uninterrupted functioning of the power plant.

Fig. 1
The ultimate aim of a designer is to provide a lining
system which remain Stable during its entire campaign life,
i.e. at the beginning of the campaign period when the lining is
new and also at the end of the campaign when the gets worn
out. Stability is an important property of any lining
construction. The statement that No lining fails because of
wear itself but because of instability is no exaggeration

This paper deals with the causes of refractory lining

failures due to design deficiencies and some possible
improvement for a trouble free operation of the thermal power




Lining Design
Quality of Installation and initial Heat-up
Consistent Operation
For a reliable, predictable, and consistent performance all
the above factors must be given due importance. (Fig.1).This
paper deals with the issue of Lining design work and its
impact on the overall performance of a Refractory lining
system. The causes of lining failure due to design
deficiencies and possible remedial measures have also been
discussed in detail.

D.K. Singh, Refractories Dynamics, Pune.

Prem Lata Singh, Refractories Dynamics, Pune.

Fig. 2
Any lining work has a campaign life. Depending upon the
duty conditions to which the lining is exposed, the designed
campaign life may vary from few weeks to many years. At the
end of the campaign the lining needs overhauling, partially or
completely, to begin the new campaign. The lining wear
which takes place during the campaign must be uniform or
balanced so that the lining stability is maintained throughout.
To achieve a balanced lining wear the lining design in
different parts of any refractory lined unit has to be different
based on the prevailing service condition in that part. (Fig. 3)


ISBN 978-93-83459-12-4 2014 Bonfring

Fig. 3

National Seminar on Thermal Power Plant Performance Management - NSTPPPM


To design a lining system which wears out uniformly and

maintain its Stability it is important to understand the factors
which cause the lining wear. Such factors are the Stresses of
different nature and dimensions working individually or in
various combinations on the lining and cause their destruction.

Fig. 4

In Fig.4 the different types of stresses working on the

lining in service are given. Such stresses or the Destructive
forces cause wear and tear of the lining. The lining must be
designed in a way so that it can withstand such stresses and
allow a balanced or uniform wear pattern. Non uniform wear

will always give an unstable lining configuration resulting in

premature failures. Fig. 5-8 gives in detail the causes of such
stresses and the properties required in the refractory material
which can resist them.

The first step in the design work is to obtain complete

information and knowledge about the service conditions which
will be encountered by the refractory lining during service.
Refractory materials are then chosen which will be compatible
with the thermal, thermo mechanical and thermo chemical
requirements of the process. Once this is done the engineering

part of the design work follows. This is the most crucial step
in the entire process of design activity. Due to multiple
choices available, such as shaped, unshaped, or precast form
of refractory material, the designer is confronted with the
dilemma of selecting the best option. The choice between a
shaped refractory material and an unshaped one is one such

ISBN 978-93-83459-12-4 2014 Bonfring

National Seminar on Thermal Power Plant Performance Management - NSTPPPM

dilemma. Both have got their advantages and disadvantages.

Fig 9-12 gives the advantages and disadvantages of using a
shaped or an unshaped refractory material for any application.
While selecting any of them it remains uppermost in the mind
of the designer that any selection must result in a stable lining
At this point of time it is worthwhile to discuss briefly
about the lining geometries which are followed in refractory
lining construction work in any refractory lined unit. There is
close relationship between lining stability and the lining
geometry. All lining designs can be classified into five major
Flat Walls
Spherical Domes
Out of the five geometrical forms the Flat wall
construction is the weakest from stability point of view
whereas, the cylindrical constructions provide maximum
stability. Therefore, a flat construction, either shaped or
unshaped, require external support system to attain stability.
These supports, which, in majority of the cases are metallic
parts, are non-refractory materials. Unless they are designed
and installed with great precision, can do more harm than help
the lining integrity and stability. A lining which does not
require external support for its stability will perform better
compared to a lining requiring a support system such as
metallic anchors, holders, shelf plates etc.
In any lining system which is exposed to high temperature,
the working face and the cold face behave differently. The hot
face will remain in compression while the cold face will be
under tension. For stability and rigidity of refractory structure
it is important that the lining is maintained under compression
during service. This is especially important where liquid metal
is to be contained or hot gases flow past the lining under
positive pressure. It is also necessary that the thermal gradient
through the lining is maintained in a way that the outside shell
temperature does not exceed its safe limit. If the shell expands
too much at service temperature, the linings will become
loose. In other words compression of the lining will be lost
which may give rise to problems such as liquid metal
penetration, gas leakages, loss of lining stability, and in worst
case collapse of the lining itself. Therefore, a lining which is
under compression, that is fully contained (or restrained) will
result in a successful lining and will give a reliable,
predictable and consistent performance. Example of a fully
contained lining is a cylindrical lining. At the design stage one


must take care to provide correct expansion allowances so that

at the operating temperature the lining does not get crushed
due to lack of space for expansion or does not become loose
due to more than required expansion allowance.
The above issues must be addressed adequately at the
design stage. The following few points, if kept in mind, will
go a long way in designing a stable lining system.

Can a lining geometry be followed which gives the

maximum stability?
Can a lining be designed which is self-sustaining and
does not require any or minimal external support
system for its stability?
Can a refractory be used, such as a brick or a precast
shape, which does not require any treatment at site to
achieve the desired properties unlike a monolithic
whose performance entirely depends upon the manner
in which it has been prepared at site and installed?
If a monolithic lining is to be installed, can all the
requirements of a technically correct lining installation
be met at site?
Is proper storage facility available at site especially for
materials which are hydroscopic in nature and has a
limited shelf life?
If we critically analyze the above requirements it may be
concluded that a lining made preferably of a shaped refractory
material is likely to perform better under specified conditions.
However, one must not forget its limitations and take adequate
measures and safeguards at the design stage to nullify or at
least minimize the risks involved. Provision of expansion
allowances and design of joints needs special attention.
In the light of what have been mentioned above we would
examine the refractory lining system generally adopted in a
CFBC boiler. The working lining consists of both shaped and
unshaped refractory materials. Unshaped product (mostly
castable) contributes almost 80% of the total working lining.
The service condition for refractory of the boiler during
operation is shown in Fig.3. The entire boiler is an assemblage
of many sub units having complicated geometry joined
together. The service conditions vary widely and hence the
lining is subjected to varying degree of stresses during
operation. Under such stresses the refractory lining failure
mostly takes place in the areas mentioned in Fig. 13. These
areas have been further shown in Figs. 14-17.

Bull-Nose of cyclone (Fig.14)

Seal Pot/Loop Seal (Fig.15)
Cyclone Inlet and Target area (Fig.16)
Return Legs (Fig.17)

ISBN 978-93-83459-12-4 2014 Bonfring

National Seminar on Thermal Power Plant Performance Management - NSTPPPM


Fig. 17
The failures do take place in other areas also but they are
less frequent. Examination and failure analysis of the above
areas reveal few critical observations and possible causes of
failure, which are listed below:

The profile/geometry of failure prone areas is very

complex and the lining is subjected to extreme
thermo-chemical stresses.
Due to complicated geometry the refractory lining is
done with unshaped refractories, mostly castables,
which entirely depend on the reliability of anchorage
system for their stability. It has been found that most
of the failure takes place due to the failure of
anchorage system. The metallic anchors fail either due
to quality reasons anchor design and its orientation or
the anchor weld fails under the prevailing stress.
The other cause of failure may be attributed to poor
quality of lining installation. Quality suffers due to the
fact that the job of monolithic installation in such

complicated geometrical contour requires supervision

and skill of highest order. Invariably, the laid down
procedures are not followed which result is poor
installation work and ultimately result in its failure.
We have been able to find out few reliable solutions to
arrest such failures. Our approach to solve the problem is by:

Design modification, without altering the original

lining profile, with use of shaped refractory
refractories (Bricks or Precast) in place of castables.
In case of lining with shaped refractories, suitable selflocking arrangements have been provided and the use
of non-refractory supports has been minimized.
The above design philosophy was followed for modifying
the refractory lining system for one our clients having a
captive power plant with CFBC boiler (Fig.18-21). After
modifications the refractory lining failure and breakdowns
have become nonexistent.

ISBN 978-93-83459-12-4 2014 Bonfring

National Seminar on Thermal Power Plant Performance Management - NSTPPPM

Refractories Dynamics
It is further working on development of integrated lining
design for the refractory ling of failure prone areas of CFBC


boiler mostly with shaped materials (bricks/pre casts) and

hope that the modified design will eliminate most of the
problems associated with lining failures (Fig.-22).

Fig. 22



Proponents of maximizing the use of monolithic for

refractory lining work may not agree to some of the points
mentioned in this paper. This is due the fact that today much
sophisticated high performance monolithic is available which
can perform better than shaped refractories. We appreciate
their feelings any may agree to the fact that such materials are
available. But, the moot point is, can a technically correct
installation be guaranteed with these materials all the time?
The answer is No. Therefore, when the performance of a
lining system ultimately depends upon technically correct
installation, one has to move cautiously. Refractories
Dynamics, in its lining design work keeps a balance between
the use of shaped and unshaped refractory materials to develop
a most stable lining which gives a reliable, consistent, and
predictable performance.
[1] Refractories Lining Design and Installation Charles A. Schacht,
Pittsburgh, U.S.A.Michael Maupin, Michigan, U.S.A.
[2] Refractories for Copper North American Refractories- TUCSON-1997
[3] Refractories Engineering: Material-Design-Construction, VULKANVERLAG-ESSEN

Mr.D.K. Singh is Graduated in Ceramic Engineering

from BHU, Varanasi,in the year 1970. Joined Tata
Steel, Jamshedpur, India in the year 1970 as Graduate
Trainee and worked till 1992, during which he occupied
various senior positions in the company. Lead the
refractories team in PhaseI & II expansion &
modernization projects of TATA STEEL as Chief of
Refractories and received special recognition from
Bharat Ratna late J. R. D. Tata for excellent performance with respect to
timely execution of refractories work in the largest and most modern blast
furnace of the company. He worked as Divisional Manager of Refractories
Development and Control Department of Tata Steel till 1992.
Joined Tata Refractories Limited, India in 1993 and worked till 2005.
Occupied senior management positions in the company like General Manager
(Scientific Services), General Manager (Operations), Director (Operations),
Vice President (Operations) & Head of Camp, Executive Vice President
(Marketing & Technology), Executive Vice President (Strategy Management).
Joined Global Steel Holding Company in 2005 and worked for one year
as their Advisor (Refractories) for overseas operations. Appointed as Chief
Executive Officer of Magnohrome Refractories, Serbia, a company acquired
by Global Steel Holding Company Limited and served there for a brief period.
Started own Company, Refractories Dynamics in the year, 2007. This
company was later incorporated as partnership firm with its Head Office at
Pune and Branch Office at Jamshedpur. At present working as Managing
Director & Chief Executive Officer of the company.
The Indian Ceramic Society honored him with Refractory
Technologistof the year award in 2008. Indian Refractory Makers
Association awarded him as Refractory Technologistof the year in 2009 for
contribution in the field of refractories technology

ISBN 978-93-83459-12-4 2014 Bonfring

National Seminar on Thermal Power Plant Performance Management - NSTPPPM

Mr. Ashok Kumar is a refractories and industrial

engineer served TATA STEEL for nearly 38 years in
area of refractories lining design, application and
maintenance activities. Attended 1.5 months training
programs on steel plant refractories practices in British
Steel- U.K. and Thyssel Germany in connection with
the modernization program of TATA STEEL Phase I
& phase II. Developed refractories lining design for
various refractory lined units of TATA STEEL its
modernization programs.
He visited many countries of Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia in
connection with refractories, design and application of Refractory lining
systems for ferrous and nonferrous industries. He presented technical papers
on refractories lining design development and application in national and
international seminars.
He served TATA REFRACTORIES LTD., INDIA for 4 years (19992003). Established and headed Refractories Solutions Department, a new
business unit to meet the emerging demand of customers. Presently he is Jt.
MD & COO of Refractories Dynamics
Mrs. Prem Lata Singh did her diploma in Ceramic
engineering from Government Polytechnic, Gulzarbag,
Patna in the year 2000 securing a Gold Medal for her
academic excellence. She joined Refractories Dynamics
as an officer in the year 2008. Presently she is working
as Asst. General Manager (Tech. & Adm.) in the same
She obtained training from the Govt. recognized
professional institute in the area of CAD, Administration and company
During her instinct with RD, she had developed refractory lining design
for various units such as steel ladles, Incinerators, CFBC Boilers etc. Designs
developed by her are successfully performing.

ISBN 978-93-83459-12-4 2014 Bonfring