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Towards a Complete Lifecycle for Refractory Products

Compared to current practices at the end of the lifetime of a refractory product, the putting into place of a complete lifecycle requires the participation of a number of different players. As well as the producer, the installation company and the end user, others also have significant roles to play: the dismantlers, the recycling company and the end users of the reconditioned products.

A number of recycling/recovery routes can be described:

  • The refractory part gets a second life after a light treatment (e.g. dimensional change) in the same sector – this is true « recycling ».
  • The refractory material, after a number of operations (grinding, removal of iron, sieving), becomes a secondary raw material for use in a different application (concrete, terracotta tiles, slag former, glass…) – this is « re-utilisation » which offers numerous possibilities.
  • The material is treated like an ore which undergoes a metallurgical treatment to produce a metal (e.g. a refractory rich in chromium may be used for chromium metal production) – this process is termed « reclaiming ».

Such a lifecycle can be represented in the schematic diagram shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: Schematic diagram of a complete lifecycle for refractory products

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