How to Tell if You Have an Abrasion Problem

All refractory material must be extremely durable, capable of withstanding some extreme conditions and abuse while providing a consistent level of service. One of the most important factors in selecting refractory material is abrasion resistance. However, there are some pervasive misunderstandings of what exactly is meant by the term “abrasion,” both in terms of what it is and what it is not. It is important for companies to understand the term to know whether or not they have an abrasion problem.

Here’s some important information from our company offering heat treatment services in Gastonia, NC.

About abrasion

Abrasion is the process that causes material to wear away over time through scratching or scraping in a mechanical environment. A good way to think about abrasion is to think about the process of rubbing sandpaper on wood. The abrasion results in thin layers and shavings of the wood being removed, making the surface smoother while slightly decreasing the thickness of the wooden object.

In terms of refractory linings, those linings are abraded by high-velocity particles, cleaning tools and fuel/process materials that run through the unit and hit the lining. If you see refractory lining that appears to have become thinner and smoother, that means abrasion has occurred. In some cases, depending on the circumstances, the surface of the lining might even appear to have been polished.

Common confusions

Abrasion is one type of so-called “mechanical abuse,” which means it is not uncommon for people to confuse it with other types of mechanical abuse, which refractory linings will often sustain. One common such form of abuse is impact—a collision between the lining and a moving object. Impact could come from cleaning tools, process materials, slag or other items, depending on the application. This could result in cracks or chips in the lining.

Compression and tension are other examples of mechanical abuse that can occur when there are changes in the shape of the refractory lining during heating and cooling processes, or if the furnace shell moves. Increasing brittleness and strength could result in breakage or other negative effects to the refractory lining, but this is not to be confused with abrasion.

It’s important to note that every type of mechanical abuse can result in the trademark thinning of the refractory lining that you’ll see when abrasion has occurred, so you have to closely investigate the material and the causes of the issue to determine what exactly the problem is. As previously noted, there’s more than just a thinning of the material that indicates abrasion problems—you’ll also see a smoother, more polished sort of surface.

We encourage you to reach out to our team today if you’re interested in learning more about abrasion, abrasion-resistant properties and the effects of abrasion and other forms of mechanical abuse on refractory lining. We’re happy to answer any questions you have. For more information about heat treatment in Gastonia, NC, contact J.F. Heat Treating Inc. today—we look forward to speaking with you and assisting with your project.

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