When selecting refractories for regenerator chambers serving natural gas fired furnaces producing soda lime glass, both the functions of the refractories and the operating conditions within the checkers should be taken into consideration.
As heat exchangers, checkers should have high thermal capacity and thermal conductivity. Basic refractories and fused cast refractories are the best solution.
However, refractory selection also depends on the operating conditions, while the operating conditions depend on the position. According to the temperature, checkers can be divided into four zones: Top zone (from the first row to 1,350℃), Mid zone (from 1,350℃ to 1,000℃), Condensation zone (from 1,000℃ to 700℃) and Lower zone (from 700℃ to rider arches).
High temperature and batches and dusts result in chemical attack and gradual corrosion of the basic refractory bricks. If refractories are magnesia bricks, the chemical attack is up to the CaO/SiO2 ratio in the waste gases. if the radio is low, forsterite (Mg2SiO4) will be formed, which results in fissures opening within the bricks. Subsequently, silica penetrates these fissures resulting in the familiar cubic breakdown of the upper checkers. If the CaO/SiO2 ratio in the waste gases is high, a liquid phase enters into the refractory causing deformation. The best solution is magnesia bricks with high Mg content, well developed MgO crystals and a direct bonded structure. Additionally, the refractories should have low iron to avoid FeO oxidation to Fe2O3 and vice versa (Fe2O3 reduction to FeO) with volume variations and resultant brick failure.
Fused cast refractories have no surface porosity thus they are resistant to the corrosive effects of waste gases and carryover and can be used in all the checker zones. Compared to sintered refractories they are more resistant to abrasion due to their dense and homogeneous structure thus they are suitable for the top zone where there is a strong carry-over. Fused cast alumina brick is recommended for its very limited glassy phase. No glassy phase means no exudation therefore no excessive bonding with carry-over thus minimizing the risk of blockages.
This zone is protected by the top checker area and temperature level is lower, thus 96% MgO with low iron and fused cast AZS 33# are recommended.
This is another critical area. The waste gases contain alkaline sulphate and SO3 which will condense out in the 1,000-700℃ range. In presence of sodium sulphate, the predominance of Na2O or SO3 in the waste gases causes chemical attack. Periclase base refractories are not chemically attacked by sodium sulphate or sodium oxide but they strongly react with SO3 forming MgSO4 causing densification of the Structure.
The chemical attack, enhanced by the presence of vanadium pentoxide when using fuel oil, breaks up the refractory and the structure densification lowers thermal shock resistance. Viable substitutes for chrome bearing refractories, which have a high resistance to condensates but cannot be used for environmental reasons, are both the spinel (MgO·Al2O3) and refractories made by periclase (MgO) and zirconia (ZrO2) having good resistance against Na2O and SO3.
When firing with natural gas, since the SO3 quantity is low, basic refractories can be used. When fused cast material is used, fused cast AZS is recommended.
Super duty fire clay brick can be used in non severe working conditions. 90-92% magnesia brick is recommended when firing by natural gas. Fused cast AZS 33# is also used in this zone.