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Thermal Ceramics

A. Preface
B. High Technology Castables by Casting
1. General
2. Pre-Installation
2.1 Storage
2.2 Surface Preparation Prior to Refractory Placement
2.3 Formwork
2.4 Anchors
3. Installation
3.1 Water
3.2 Temperature
3.3 Mixing
3.4 Placement
3.5 Multilayer Linings
3.6 Joints
3.7 Finishing
3.8 Curing
4. Firing
List of Figures
Figure 1
Proper Bag Storage
Figure 2
Figure 3
Paddle Mixer
Figure 4
Typical Large Paddle Mixer
Figure 5
Continuous Mixer
Figure 6
High Frequency Vibrator
Figure 7
Multilayer Linings
Figure 8
Construction Joints
Figure 9
Expansion Joints
Figure 10 Finishing
Figure 11 Cast with Forms in Pace
Figure 12 Spraying With Curing Compound

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Over the past 75 years, Thermal Ceramics has proven

to be a world leader in solving heat intensive problems.
In addition to manufacturing ceramic fiber, brick and
fired shape products, a wide range of refractory monolithic products are available. From lightweight, highly
insulating materials to dense, high strength products,
Thermal Ceramics has a refractory castable to meet
the needs of the customer. All industries are serviced
with these products, including ferrous, non-ferrous,
chemical, utility and ceramic related markets.
The Thermal Ceramic operation in Augusta, Georgia
has been certified to ISO 9002 standards for refractory monolithic production. At this facility, both raw materials and finished products are routinely tested to make
sure they meet a demanding quality level.
An experienced staff of refractory specialists is on
hand at Thermal Ceramics to assist you in product
selection, system design, and installation techniques.
This Design and Installation Manual is intended to give
the designers, installers and users of Thermal
Ceramics monolithic products a broad range of information guidelines on the particular topic. Any questions or comments regarding this manual should be
addressed to your local Thermal Ceramics representative.

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High technology castables, such as Kaocrete
249C/250C and the Kaocrete HPM grades have lime
contents of 1-3%. High densities and strengths are
achieved in these low cement products by careful grain
sizing and the use of additives to reduce the water needed to cast.

aged beyond the nominal shelf life, have the material

tested before use.
2.2 Preparation Prior to Refractory Placement
The work surface shall be substantially free of dust,
scale, oil, water, dirt and loose foreign material and
should be cleaned by sandblasting if necessary.
2.3 Formwork

2.1 Storage
High technology castables should be stored in a dry, wellventilated area and held off the floor on pallets (Figure 1).
If stored outside, the bags must be protected from rain or
dripping water by a fixed cover. Storage temperature is
not a consideration as long as the castable is in the
desired temperature range prior to casting (See Section
3.2). If the bags are further protected by plastic sheeting,
ensure there is sufficient ventilation underneath the plastic sheet to prevent water from condensing on the bags.
Avoid storing in areas of high humidity. Pallets should not
be stacked more than three high when in storage to prevent the consolidation and caking of material on the bottom rows of the pallets.

Formwork should be constructed from strong materials

that resist water absorption (Figure 2). Generally 34
inch plywood or steel forms are favored for this job
because of their inherent strength and non-absorbent

Figure 2 - Formwork

The surface of the formwork must be lightly and thoroughly oiled or greased to facilitate removal from the face
of the casting. The surface of the formwork should be uniform and smooth to give a good surface finish to the casting. It also aids in formwork release.
Formwork must be as watertight as possible, so all joints
and holes must be sealed. The use of vibrators during
casting will cause liquids and fines to bleed through
cracks in the formwork. These liquids will be rich in fine
particles and can thus leave a weakly bonded material
adjacent to the leaking joint with detrimental results.

Figure 1 - Proper Bag Storage

The high technology castables have a finite shelf life

called a nominal shelf life. When quoting shelf life, a
period of nine months is used. Product that is older than
the nominal shelf life should be checked for setting properties prior to use. Signs of aging are longer setting times
and reduced strength. All bags have the date of manufacture printed on them to aid in determining the age of
the material. Always use the oldest materials first and, if
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Where refractory concrete is to be cast vertically, the

formwork should have a height of not more than 48 inches with provision for additional sections to be mounted
rapidly to ensure the continuous casting of panels
between designated joints.

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2.4 Anchors
Both ceramic and metallic anchors are appropriate for
use with high technology castable refractories. This subject is treated in a separate procedure, Anchoring of
Monolithic Refractories (M150).
3.1 Water
The water used for mixing should be clean and of drinkable quality - potable water. Since the amount of water
added to the castable does more to affect the properties
than any other factor, it must be accurately measured.
Water amounts are shown on the back of the monolithic
bags, but these are intended as a guide only. Actual
amounts will depend upon field conditions and should
strictly adhere to that recommended on the manufacturers data sheet (since the strength of high technology
castables are especially sensitive to slight increase in
water). This may be varied only at the manufacturers
representatives direct instruction.

sity or continuous augur type paddle mixer of sufficient

capacity to ensure thorough mixing (generally half the
nominal capacity) (Figures 3 and 4). The drive system
must have sufficient horsepower to allow the mixer to
achieve 40 rpm when loaded. Small cement drum type
mixers do not have enough energy to get thorough mixing. The level of dry product in the mixer must not be
above the center paddle shaft. Paddle type mixers incorporate rotating shafts with paddles attached. The paddles, which put a high level of work energy into the mixing operation, must be made of steel and have no more
than 34 inch clearance from the mixer walls. They
assure a rapid, thorough mix and virtually clean themselves from batch to batch.

3.2 Temperature
Ambient conditions as well as casting water and material
temperatures can significantly affect the setting time of
high technology castables. In very cold conditions, the
bags should be kept in warm storage, not less than 60F,
for at least 48 hours before use. The ideal temperature of
mixed low cement castables lies between 62F and 77F.
When cast in place until thoroughly dried, the castable
and environment preferably should not fall below 60F
and certainly not below 50F as the castable will take
much longer to set.
If the castable freezes before the hydraulic set is completed, the ultimate strength of the material can be
reduced by 50% or more. Therefore, until the cast material is fired, freezing conditions must be avoided.

Figure 3 - Paddle Mixer

The mixer and tools used in casting must be clean. Some

substances like lime or portland cement, found in dirty
mixers, can cause flash setting or otherwise lower the
ultimate strength of the castable. The mixer should also
be washed periodically during the course of mixing to prevent buildup of material.
Do not mix more material than can be placed within 15
minutes from the start of mixing and do not combine different types of material.

3.3 Mixing

Add all of the mixing water to the mixer and begin its
operation. Then add the castable in full bag lots. After the
mix becomes uniform in color, the remainder of the water
is added in small increments to bring the mix to the correct consistency. Do not use more than the recommended amount of water without direct authorization from the
manufacturers representative. When using a bottom discharge mixer, discharge at least two buckets of product
from the mixer to clear the gate. This material can be
immediately returned to the mixer and re-mixed. The discharge gate should be cleaned out after every mix to prevent buildup of old material in this region.

Mixing combines the dry materials and water into a

homogenous mass. Mixing must be done in a high inten-

If stainless steel fibers are to be added to the castable,

they should be added after all the refractory and water

In very hot weather, the bags should be kept in cool storage (a temperature-controlled container may be required)
and the outer steel shell and formwork should be cooled
with water sprays. When spraying, extreme care needs to
be taken to ensure that no cooling water seeps into the
casting cavity. If it does, it must be dried before casting
commences. Cool water should be used for mixing. At
high temperatures, the time available to place the material is dramatically shortened; e.g. at 100F, the working
time can be as little as two minutes.

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ment, but when the correct water addition is made, the

castable will place well.
3.4 Placement
The work of placement of the mixed refractory castable
covers several functions:
To position and consolidate freshly mixed material
within 15 minutes of it leaving the mixer
To work in a manner which minimizes material segregation
To fill all voids, particularly around obstructions and in
corners and to eliminate all air bubbles.

Figure 4 - Typical Large Paddle Mixer

Once the installation has started, it should proceed without interruption until the lining of the part or section concerned is completed. Consolidation of the castable is produced using a high frequency vibrator (Figure 6). The
vibrator must have a minimum rated speed of 14000 VPM
(vibrations per minute) when immersed in the mass. A
poker type vibrator gives maximum strength and densification in the finished casting and assists flow around
anchors and into recesses.

Figure 5 - Continuous Mixer

have been added to the mixer. The fibers should be

introduced by sprinkling them into the mixer or by shaking them through a wire basket. If the fibers are already
contained in the castable, the water addition should be
made on the basis of the powder weight, not the bag
The weight of fibers present in the mix needs to be subtracted from the bag weight before calculating the casting
water needed. Care needs to be taken here since the
addition of fibers will cause a lowering of the mix fluidity.
NO EXTRA WATER needs to be added to compensate
for this loss in fluidity.
The high technology castables should be mixed for a minimum of six minutes when using a paddle mixer.
Excess mixing generates heat causing a decrease in the
setting time, whereas insufficient mixing will result in a
non-homogenous batch and reduce the strength.
For the high technology castables, the ball in hand test
is unsuitable since these castables do not develop fluidity until the vibrator is inserted into the mass. Only experience can show when the castable is suitable for place-

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Figure 6 - High Frequency Vibrator

Continue vibrating until the mass has settled into place,

the surface gives an appearance of oily wetness and air
bubbles have stopped rising. If water collects on the surface, reduce the water addition in subsequent batches.
Best results are achieved by inserting the poker to a
depth of no greater than 12-16 inches, keeping it vertical,
and letting the vibrator move slowly through the entire
castable mass. DO NOT force the vibrator through the
material as this will cause pockets of air to be left behind.
The vibrator head should be suited to the size of the section being cast generally a 2-21/2 inch diameter head is
used for large casts, while a 1-1 1/2 inch diameter head
can be used in smaller casts. Smaller vibrators require a
higher VPM rating. When removing, the vibrator should

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be drawn upwards very slowly through the castable so it
does not leave any holes or channels behind.
When vibrating around anchors and other obstructions,
add fresh material from one side and allow the vibrator to
feed the material around and under the obstruction to
avoid the formation of air pockets. For deep cavities
requiring successive layers of castable mix, the poker
should pass through the freshly added mix into the previously cast material to ensure a homogenous lining free of
3.5 Multilayer Linings
Figure 8 - Construction Joints

Where an insulating lining has previously been installed,

if possible, the lining should be coated with an impermeable membrane to prevent premature moisture loss from
the fresh castable into the insulating layer (Figure 7). The
membrane used should burn out at low temperature
when the drying cycle is started. Alternatively, the backup layer may be dampened prior to casting by lightly
spraying with water.

Figure 9 - Expansion Joints

ceramic fiber which remain in the gap, but have some

degree of recovery after compression.
3.7 Finishing

Figure 7 - Multilayer Linings

3.6 Joints
The two types of joints used in casting are construction
joints and expansion joints.

When finishing the exposed surface of the refractory

casting to the necessary level or shape, it is important to
avoid excessive troweling of the surface. This draws
water to the surface and produces a fine finish of cement
rich segregated material which is easily dislodged under
alternate heating and cooling.

Construction joints (Figure 8) are designed to break the

job up into conveniently sized panels. Adjoining panels
are cast against each other without leaving any gaps
using the set face of previously cast sections as the formwork edge. Panels are generally 10-15 ft 2 in size. This
size can generally absorb stresses without cracking. The
construction joint can be regarded as placing a crack
where you require it, rather than leaving the castable to
stress relieve itself in a random crack pattern.
For expansion joints (Figure 9), adjacent panels are separated and offset during installation by materials such as
cardboard or plastic that will burn out during firing and
leave a gap, or by high temperature materials such as
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Thermal Ceramics

Figure 10 - Finishing

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After the initial 24-hour moist cure, formwork can be

stripped away, being careful not to damage the lining as
this could possibly occur. A further 24 hours air curing
should be allowed before the lining is fired to further
increase the final strength.
Detailed firing schedules are separate from this procedure. They are available from any Thermal Ceramics
office or representative.

Figure 11 - Cast with Forns in Place

3.8 Curing
Curing prevents the loss of moisture from freshly cast
refractory concrete. Loss of water from the surface of the
cast before the bond is fully hydrated results in a weaker
cast. To prevent this, various methods of moist curing can
be used.
Formwork should be left in place for a minimum of 24
hours and exposed refractory concrete either sprayed
with water, covered with plastic sheeting, or sprayed with
a concrete curing compound (Figure 12). This is called
moist curing. The concrete curing compound forms an
impermeable membrane to prevent moisture loss during
curing but will burn out at low temperatures during firing.
Curing is essential to the achievement of maximum
strength in the green unfired state which will effect the
ultimate fired strength.


Figure 12 - Spraying with Curing Compound

The lower the ambient temperature, the longer the curing

time required for proper strength generation. Curing at
low temperatures also increases the risk of steam
spalling during initial heat up. External heating (using a
small space heater or similar) may be required to keep
the ambient temperature high enough for effective curing
and also casting.
December 2002

Some of the products described in this literature contain

Refractory Ceramic Fiber (RCF) and/or crystalline silica
(cristobalite or quartz). Based on experimental animal
data, the International Agency for Research on Cancer
(IARC) has classified RCF, along with fibrous glasswool
and mineral wool, as a possible human carcinogen
(Group2B) and respirable crystalline silica as a probable
human carcinogen (Group 2A).
To reduce the potential risk of health effects, Thermal
Ceramics recommends engineering controls and safe
work practices be followed by product users. Contact the
Thermal Ceramics Product Stewardship Group (1-800722-5681) to request detailed information contained in its
MSDSs and product literature and videos.

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For further information, contact your nearest Thermal Ceramics technical sales office. You may also fax us
toll-free at 1-800-KAOWOOL, or write to Thermal Ceramics, P. O. Box 923, Dept. 140, Augusta, GA 30903.
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