Online Course - Refractories for Steelmaking and Continuous Casting

On demand and instant access to the full course consisting of three modules.

To maximise learning it is recommended that each module is completed in sequence.

Course Modules

The full course consists of three modules which should be taken in sequence in order to complete the full course.

Module 1 – Principles and considerations

This module covers what a refractory material is and the different types of refractories (acid, neutral and basic materials, bricks, hollow-ware, castable refractories, cements, rammed and sintered materials). Selection of different materials for different applications and how refractory cost varies through the process route are considered. The different influences on refractory wear (erosion, corrosion, thermal and mechanical shock…) and the role of carbon are introduced. The operational considerations to manage refractory performance such as drying, curing, preheat and thermal cycles as well as stable operating conditions are noted.

Module 2 – Refractories for steelmaking processes

Module 2 builds upon the principles discussed in Module 1 and considers the refractories used in primary steelmaking processes in the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking Furnace (BOF) and the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF). The module introduces the different types of refractory used in different parts of the furnace and the reasons for these choices. The need to protect, replace or repair refractory in areas of high wear are noted and the effect of progressive wear and repair on furnace operational costs and in determining the optimal timing of reline.

Module 3 – Ladle, tundish and casting refractories

Module 3 discusses refractory types and requirements in the secondary steelmaking, refining and continuous casting process (ladle, tundish and continuous casting). The purpose of different refractories in different parts of the process and operation are introduced. The importance of control of thermal cycles (correct preheat and control operating cycle) as well as control of flow and temperature for metal and slag to ensure both good product quality and optimum refractory performance are noted. Examples are given of refractory failure and wear and how design and operation aim to avoid this.

What the course covers

  • What is a refractory material?
  • Types of refractory melting points and operating temperatures
  • Role of carbon
  • Refractory wear: Erosion, corrosion, thermal and mechanical stress
  • Refractories for steelmaking
  • Refractories for in ladles
  • Tundish refractories
  • Refractories for continuous casting
  • Care and maintenance (drying, preheat, repairs…)

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand what a refractory material is, and different refractory types.
  • Understand the main types of refractory wear (Erosion, corrosion, thermal and mechanical stress) and principles to avoid this.
  • Understand some of the basic principles of refractory care and maintenance.
  • Introduction to the different refractories used in primary steelmaking (BOF and EAF) and the reasons for these choices.
  • Introduction to the different refractories used in ladles and tundishes and the reasons for these choices.
  • Introduction to the different refractories used in continuous casting, their wear mechanisms, and their effect on steel quality.
  • Understand the basic principles of refractory operation and care (drying, curing, preheat, thermal cycles, wear, repair)

Who should access the course?

The course gives a comprehensive introduction to the importance of refractories and the principles behind the correct choice and use of refractories in a steelmaking and casting environment.

The course is appropriate for steel plant operational, engineering and technical support teams in the early stages of their career, or for more experienced personnel moving into a new role in a steelmaking and casting environment.

For those requiring a higher level of expertise, theoretical or practical detail, additional information and advice is available from

Course Duration

3 x 40 minute modules

Course Presenter

Alan Scholes

Alan Scholes
Chief Technology Officer
Materials Processing Institute

Over 30 years experience in steelmaking and casting developments.

Awarded IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining) Gilchrist-Thomas Medal for developments in secondary steelmaking.

Alan Scholes has had a career in process R&D, focussed mainly in liquid steelmaking, secondary refining and continuous casting. This has involved scale-up and implementation of processes on many production plants in the UK and Europe including several large multi-national projects as both partner or leader. Practical knowledge of both the process and its effect on production (such as refractories) is essential. In addition, Alan had experience of managing and upgrading the Materials Processing Institute’s 7t pilot scale steelmaking facility where refractories are called upon to endure a wider range of operating extremes than for routine production. He has been a technical expert evaluator for R&D projects, proposals and papers for both UK and European publications, conferences and funding bodies.

Enrolment options for this course

Enrol for the full course, or go through the modules separately (to maximise learning it is recommended that each module is completed in sequence).