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by higher susceptibility to cracking and spalling. More investigations including extended field trials and an economic assessment of the more expensive high temperature pre-firing route would be necessary in order to finally conclude whether lower or higher pre-firing temperatures are to be recommended for purging plugs.

Based on the results of this investigation it appears to be worthwhile testing such hydratable alumina bonded corundum-spinel materials in industrial applications for steel ladle purging plugs. It would be recommended to pre-fire such hydratable alumina bonded purging plugs at temperatures of min. 1250°C to ensure sufficient strength for the application.


The authors are grateful to Almatis Qingdao for the raw materials and laboratory facilities for testing, Professor Jung In-Ho form McGill University, Canada, for the thermodynamic calculations with FactSage, Chair of Ceramics, Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Austria for fracture behaviour testing and University Science & Technology Beijing for SEM/EDS and XRD testing. This work is a nice example for successful scientific cooperation between industrial and academic FIRE-partners from three different continents.


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