From the production of energy to the manufacturing of steel and other metals, refractory minerals play a critical role in supporting many industries around the world.
Refractory minerals are incredibly versatile and can withstand extremely high temperatures. Thanks to their unique properties, refractory minerals are vital for producing most of the goods essential to modern life.
Different types of minerals can be classified according to their unique properties and composition. These unique properties or "Superpowers" make refractory minerals ideal for specific industrial applications.
Generally, refractories fall into three categories:
"Acid refractories" are composed mainly of silica or alumina-silica minerals.
"Basic refractories" are made from alkaline-earth oxides, including dolomite, magnesia, lime, and magnesia-chrome ore mixtures.
And "Neutral refractories", which can be used in slags and atmosphere, which are chemically stable to both acids and bases. Examples include alumina and carbon.
Some minerals are more resistant to heat than others and are therefore more suitable for use in high-temperature applications. These refractory minerals, such as magnesia, an essential component in steel production, are known for their high melting point, making them more resistant to deformation or softening at high temperatures.
In addition to withstanding extreme temperatures (above 1000°F), some refractory materials must also resist other potentially damaging forces such as chemical corrosion or abrasion.
Alumina is prized for its exceptional hardness and wear resistance, making it an indispensable material in many types of ceramics manufacturing.
Refractory Minerals are Making the World a Better Place
As the world looks for new and environmentally-friendlier ways to generate energy, refractory minerals play an increasingly important role.
Advances in refractory technology are helping to make manufacturing processes cleaner and more efficient. One-way refractory minerals are being used for their superpowers is in developing more efficient gas turbines.
These turbines can generate more power with less fuel by operating at higher temperatures and pressures. As a result, they produce fewer emissions and help reduce greenhouse gases.
Major consumers of refractories, such as the metals and glass industry, rely on high-quality refractory products to meet strict environmental guidelines, regulations, and customer expectations.
The unique powers of each mineral used to make refractory products allow us to continue finding new ways to improve high-temperature industrial processes and challenge our ideas of what we thought was possible.