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The cement industry

meeting point
Published by:
Refratechnik Cement GmbH, Göttingen
on occasion of the REFRA-Kolloquium 2008
at Berlin from June 3rd to 6th, 2008
Coordination and overall design:
Günther Dräger
Richter Werbeagentur, Bad Emstal
Copyright by Refratechnik Cement GmbH,
all rights reserved
©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 5
©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 6
©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 7
Refratechnik in a globalising cement world������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 9
Wolfgang Tabbert

Between excess liquidity and liquidity squeeze –

What direction will the international financial system take?��������������������������������������������������������������������� 21
Dr. Peter Merk, Chief Economist of the LBBW corporate group, Germany

Trends of refractory requirements in high efficiency cement rotary kilns�������������������������������������������������� 37

Dr. Johannes Södje

Refratechnik’s AF & AR brick grades – A concept turns global����������������������������������������������������������������� 53

Peter Groger

Improved efficiency on refractory bricks at CEMEX Spain������������������������������������������������������������������������� 67

Álvaro Miralles Miralles, Director of Refractory Materials, CEMEX Spain, Alcanar/Spain

Meeting specific cement kiln challenges by basic brick development������������������������������������������������������ 75

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Klischat

FORMAG® 88 – A basic brick system with novel features������������������������������������������������������������������������� 89

Dipl.-Eng. Holger Wirsing

Using process parameters to assess refractory performance�������������������������������������������������������������������� 101

Hugo Ordóñez

Investment boom and major trends in the cement industry��������������������������������������������������������������������� 115

Dr.-Ing. Joachim Harder, OneStone Consulting Group, Buxtehude, Germany

Refratechnik Asia Ltd. – Our commitment to Asia������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 129

Dr. Heinrich Liever, Refratechnik Asia Ltd., Hong Kong

Calciner modification at Holcim Lägerdorf plant with Refratechnik JETCAST® material�������������������������� 139
Morten Holpert, Plant Manager Holcim (Deutschland) AG, Lägerdorf, Germany

Efficient refractory layout for precalciners������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 151

M.E. Mining Harald Merker

Highly flexible monolithic refractory systems – Workability, installation, performance��������������������������� 165

Kai Beimdiek

Experiences in the application of metallic anchoring and fixing elements in refractory linings�������������� 181
Klaus Kassau

Insulation systems for stationary areas of cement plants������������������������������������������������������������������������� 193

Dr. Ulrich Zielinski

Refractory installation by modules������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 201

Dr. Ing. Lothar Kilb

Drying out and heating-up of refractory linings in the cement industry��������������������������������������������������� 219
Dirk Basten

List of participants������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 231

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 8

Refratechnik in a
globalising cement world
Wolfgang Tabbert

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 9

Welcoming speech

Ladies and gentlemen, valued delegates of the global cement industry, worthy guests
from economics, politics and the specialised media, dear colleagues and employees of
the Refratechnik Group, a warm welcome to the 12 th International REFRA-Kolloquium
2008 in Berlin!!

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the impressive number of 670 guests from 77
countries to this event for a few days together. It makes us proud that so many decision
makers, managers, engineers and process experts from all over the world have accepted
our invitation.

In doing so, you have spectacularly re-confirmed the REFRA-Kolloquium philosophy

for the global exchange of refractory ideas and technical discussions. It is our aim to
offer you over two days a broad range of talks on the latest developments in refractory

We will inform you of product improvements, completely new products and their
enhanced applications, even for special requirements. Reports from the market will
complement these aspects.

As in the past, we have once again invited guest speakers and are pleased that we were
able to obtain these proven experts for our event. They will contribute to illustrating the
global political/economic situation with their presentations on the cement industry.

I am certain that the talks held during the REFRA-Kolloquium 2008 and the information,
which you will obtain in this connection on the results of our work for the cement industry,
will stimulate interesting discussions with ourselves, but of course also amongst your
panel of experts. We will be pleased to hear any contribution on your part.

I now hereby declare open the 12 th International REFRA-Kolloquium and look forward
to a successful conference over the next two days.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 10

Refratechnik in a
globalising cement world

At the last REFRA-Kolloquium four years ago we complained about some topical
disruptive global factors and these are still relevant now:

• continued depreciation of the world's currency, the US Dollar,

• drastically increasing prices for energy, raw materials and products and services
based on this,
• political crises whose development is uncertain and a possible escalation of these

However, the powers dictating the global economic situation have changed drastically
in a relatively short period of time. China and the USA were still the driving forces 2 to
3 years ago. But today we are hearing talk of a recession in the USA, of the Chinese
economy overheating and of the powerful future development potential in India, Brazil,
Russia and the African countries rich in raw materials (Fig. 1).

Mta CAGR 90-05 CAGR 05-20

3500 in % in %
other emerging
3000 3�9 China
2500 1508

3�5 855
1100 11�2 1354
1000 1034

500 210 0�6 0�6

378 415 453
1990 2005 2020F
CAGR = Compound Annual Growth Rate Source: OneStone Research

Fig. 1: Projection of cement consumption and CAGR by 2020

Fortunately, the global economy is booming irrespective of many disruptive pressures.

The world-wide cement consumption in 2007 increased dramatically to 2.75 billion
tons. Over a period of 4 years, this is equal to about +30%. This is also confirmed by
the financial statements in the cement industry showing a considerable increase in

For the detailed observations there have been chosen two identical 15 year periods in
each case, in particular 1990 to 2005 and 2005 to 2020 to give a forecast.

It is also differentiated between mature markets (i.e. Western Europe, USA, Canada,
Japan and Australia) and other developing countries; China will be listed separately,
because in the last decade China has undergone extraordinary development and now
with a quarter of the world's population consumes half of global cement production.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 11

During the period 90/05, world-wide cement consumption doubled by about 1.2 billion
to about 2.3 billion tons/year. It is forecast that by 2020 there will have been the same
increase in consumption of a further 1.1 billion tons approximately. The demand in the
mature markets is saturated, the annual change is almost stagnating at a low level of
0.6%. China, with powerful average increase rates of over 10% to date, cannot increase
further at a current per capita consumption of about 800 kg, but even at the forecast
about 1.8% per annum this signifies an increase of a further 300 million tons by 2020.
The rest of the world, which witnessed a handsome 3.5% per year growth during the
first period concerned, will increase consumption considerably in the future by about
4% per annum.

In relation to the same periods, the statements are put into perspective with a
comparison of the per capita cement consumption of the selected groups (Fig. 2).

1200 1990
1000 956 2020F

800 787
pcc in kg cement

461 469 489
183 200
200 153

mature China other emerging
pcc = per capita cement consumption Source: OneStone Research

Fig. 2: Projection of per capita cement consumption by 2020

In the industrial nations we can see constant rates like with total consumption, as here
the population level remains virtually unchanged.

China, which even now already has a high per capita consumption, will continue to
grow to almost 1000 kg.

We see a completely different picture in the developing countries. For the period 2005
to 2020, +75% consumption (in absolute terms) has been forecast. However, because
of high population growth, this represents "only" +40% per capita consumption with a
relatively low value of about 280 kg.

In this case, there are two significant factors governing strong growth in the cement
industry; increasing per capita consumption and population growth at a ratio of about
50:50. Dr. Harder will broach the issue of the demand for new plants resulting from

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 12

When assessing cement consumption – in relation to geographical grouping (Fig. 3) –
it is clear that the above-average percentage growth in the last 15 years in many
regions will not continue in a linear direction. But there are exceptions. After
undergoing complete political and economical restructuring, Eastern Europe will grow
at above-average rates. The strong growth witnessed in the Middle East and Africa
will continue.


10 Western Europe
Eastern Europe
8 7�4 Middle East
CAGR in %

5�2 5�1
2�6 2�9 2�8 3�0
Far East
2 1�8 1�7
1�2 North America
0�6 0�4
0 South America

1990-2005 2005-2020F

CAGR = Compound Annual Growth Rate Source: OneStone Research

Fig. 3: Projection of the regional cement consumption by 2020

To date, cement consumption growth within these groups has been restricted to a few
countries, such as the Mediterranean abutting nations (Africa) and to oil/gas exporting
countries (Middle East), but will relate in both regions to a broader country mix.

There has already been looked at China.

Very strong growth is also forecast for India, and as a result of the strong growth in
population, even in 2020 we can expect to see consumption of about 280 kg per capita,
which represents continued above-average growth.

Alongside the giants of China and India, the Far East country mix is very different in
terms of development. In addition to some countries, which have a very high per capita
consumption, there are also countries in this region where politico-economic systems
unfortunately slow down development.

In North America, Mexico will certainly grow more than the USA and Canada.

In contrast, there is substantial pent-up demand in many countries in Central and South
America. Like Africa mentioned earlier, production and consumption of cement will
grow significantly in more countries than before, and this will be aided by the growth
in population and financed by exports of industrial and agricultural raw materials.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 13

That leads us to an important factor in expanding the capacities required for this
scenario: financing, particularly the investments of the global corporate groups.

In recent months, the business papers and journals have been reporting on the
increasing problem of financing, securities, rating etc. Also, the area of conflict
between globalisation and the opening of new markets on the one hand and resulting
protectionism on the other is becoming even more critical.

The corporate cement groups will play an increasingly more active roll in this. Figure 4
shows the TOP 10 corporate groups and their significance in the individual regions.

# Company Capacity Integrated Countries WE EE ME IN CN FE NA SA AO

1 Lafarge (+Orascom) 208�8 132 49 40�1 19�5 17�5 7�1 23�4 28�6 23�5 11�1 38
2 Holcim 197�8 110 45 27�8 21�2 2�6 45�5 0 28�6 22�4 33�9 15�8
3 HeidelbergCement 100�0 68 33 28�8 20�2 5�5 2�0 6�5 17�0 14�0 0 6�0
4 Cemex 97�2 65 22 19�8 6�1 1�3 0�5 0 5�8 43�2 15�5 5
5 Anhui Conch 81�0 19 1 0 0 0 0 81�0 0 0 0 0
6 Italcementi 70�0 63 17 32�4 4�0 5�0 3�4 2�0 4�5 7�5 0 11�2
7 Taiheiyo 50�4 21 7 0 0 0 0 4�1 42�8 3�5 0 0
8 Buzzi Unicem 43�6 36 11 18�4 8�1 0 0 0 0 15�0 0 2�1
9 Eurocement 35�0 16 3 0 35 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Grasim (+Ultratech) 31�0 11 1 0 0 0 31�0 0 0 0 0 0
Votorantim 31�0 32 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 25 0
Sunnsy (Shanshui) 31�0 11 1 0 0 0 0 31�0 0 0 0 0

WE = Western Europe IN = India NA = North America

EE = Eastern Europe CN = China SA = South America
ME = Middle East FE = Far East AO = Africa / Oceania Source: OneStone Research

Fig. 4: Consolidated cement capacities of TOP 10 producers in Mta

In fact, only the TOP 5 are active in global terms. In contrast, 2 other large corporate
groups in the TOP 10 are represented in only one country.

The TOP 2 – Lafarge and Holcim – stand out from the other corporate groups in the
TOP 10 in terms of capacity, number of factories and country presence etc.

The Orascom integration by Lafarge created for the first time a large corporate group
share in countries, such as Pakistan, Algeria, Iraq or even North Korea; proof of the
active roll in the developing countries.

The regions demonstrating the smallest presence of the TOP 10 are the Middle East
with 10%, followed by China with 13% and India with 27%, and in these two countries
the local corporate bodies are more dominant. As expected, the developed markets,
such as Western Europe (62%) and North America (69%), show the highest level of
presence closely followed by Eastern Europe (57%).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 14

It is obvious that the corporate group share of a country or a region is also an indication
of the extent to which consolidation is advanced or still to be achieved.

Figure 5 demonstrates the activity and dynamics of large corporate groups.

Mta CAGR 90-05 CAGR 05-20

4500 in % in %
4000 TOP 2
930 other TOP 10
3500 7�0
5�0 1000
2500 2375
2000 2�3
8�9 481
1500 1290 7�0
95 2�9 2195
1000 175
500 1020

1990 2005 2020F
CAGR = Compound Annual Growth Rate Source: OneStone Research

Fig. 5: Projection of market share and CAGR of TOP 10 by 2020

(related to consolidated capacity and rotary kiln capacity)

The installed (rotary kiln) capacity grew in the first 15 year cycle by approximately 85%
from about 1290 million tons to about 2375 million tons. In 1990, the TOP 10 at the time
only had approximately 20% share of this. In 2005, this was actually about 35%, and the
TOP 2 enjoyed much greater expansion than the other corporate groups in the TOP 10,
who in turn expanded to a greater extent than the other cement producers.

The forecast to 2020 confirms this trend; the world-wide installed capacity will grow
approximately by a further 75% to about 4.1 billion tons, and the TOP 10 already control
about 47%, and in terms of capacity the TOP 2 could become almost as big as the other
corporate groups in the TOP 10.

Figure 6 shows these facts from a different view. The installed capacity of the TOP 2
and that of the other corporate groups in the TOP 10 correspond to one another. While
the rest of the global cement industry actually continues to grow, its share decreased
in 1990 from 79% to a forecast figure of about 53% for 2020, or the entire capacity
controlled by the TOP 10 will be almost identical to the remaining globally installed

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 15

100 1990
80 79 2020F

market share in %


23 24
20 14 14
TOP 2 other TOP 10 other
Source: OneStone Research

Fig. 6: Projection of market share of TOP 10 by 2020

(related to consolidated capacity and rotary kiln capacity)

Similar trends can be seen in both industries, i.e. the cement industry and the refractory

All refractory-consuming industries are currently booming, i.e. the supplier industries
are also benefiting in the same way as the refractory industry (Fig. 7). Of course, the
refractory producer is also hampered by the greatly increased energy costs.

all refractory consuming industries benefit from positive

global economy

limited availability of high quality raw materials

and energy will increase costs and dependence

profitability gap between the refractory industry

and consumer industries

consolidation of the refractory industry will continue

increasing competition between strategic and financial investors

new definition of supplier/customer relationship as in just a

few years the number of global suppliers has reduced from
6 to 8 to only 2 to 3 today

focus on China as major source of raw materials

and thus a strategic base for competitors

Fig. 7: Major trends in the refractory industry

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 16

But the refractory industry is faced with a further problem: the extremely limited
availability of high-quality raw materials. They are refined by application of energy
or are produced synthetically in order to become, after a second heat treatment, part
of the final product. Price increases for raw materials of 15% to well above 100% per
year are now a fact of life. Competition and the ever increasing purchasing pressure
of customers have meant that the spectrum of the refractory suppliers has changed
completely and at an increasing rate in recent years. There has already been strong
consolidation within the sector. The number of global refractory suppliers has reduced
in just one decade from 6 to 8 to only 2 to 3 today.

When comparing the published financial statements of the 5 largest corporations in

each case, it is clear that there is a considerable difference in terms of profitability in
the individual industrial branches. The EBITDA of the firms listed in the TOP 5 as an
average of the last 3 years is about 27% in the cement industry, about 19% in the steel
industry, but is only about 11% in the refractory industry.

These facts, disproportionately increasing costs, but at the same time limited scope
to pass these on to the market, and substantial investment into new products and
technology underpin restructuring and provide further consolidation in the refractory
industry. The very recent past has brought a new and previously unknown development.
Where in the past there were only strategic investors from the sector itself, we are now
witnessing a lot of activity from financial investors, who have a bearing on the way
in which refractory producers operate their business. Some analysts are even talking
today of fierce competition between strategic and financial investors in terms of take-
over, integration or partial asset stripping.

The drive to achieve the "best" price will result in even more changes in the supplier/
customer relationship, not only on the part of the supplier, but also on the part of the
refractory user with increasing disregard of technical competence, consultation and
service as a money-equivalent advantage, and in the end no one will benefit from this.
Refractory products are not "commodities", but remain essential technical products for
meeting the demands of a complicated technical process.

China will play a crucial role in the development of the refractory industry, particularly
with regard to raw materials. In a similar manner to the scenario just outlined, 5 to
10 years ago we found ourselves in the "best price" phase and were therefore in a
comfortable position. The elimination of some raw materials suppliers caused by this
has brought about a situation where refractory producers are heavily dependent upon
one supplier. China's dominance with regard to relevant raw materials is frightening for
all refractory producers. China is therefore becoming a strategic base for competition.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 17

This affects the enormous refractory consumption in China and the important raw
material resources. Refratechnik is best placed to deal with this scenario (Fig. 8).

YRR: Yingkou Refratechnik Refractories Co�, Ltd�
Jinan ZRR
~ 75,000 tons/annum of basic bricks
(to be extended)

Shanghai ZRR: Zibo Refratechnik Refractories Co�, Ltd�

~ 45,000 tons/annum of alumina containing
bricks and concretes
(to be extended)

RT Asia: Refratechnik Asia Ltd�

Guangzhou Sales office for Asian-Pacific markets
Hong Kong
RT Asia
Fig. 8: Refratechnik’s activities in Asia

Refratechnik’s activities in China go back to 1986 with large orders for the first three
modern rotary kilns. A positive reaction resulting from excellent lifetimes led to the
establishment of the Refratechnik Representative Office in Shanghai to provide service
in situ. In 2002, the Yingkou Refratechnik Refractories Co., Ltd. was established
in Liaoning Province, which was the first refractory production site in China and
manufactured basic bricks exclusively for the cement industry in line with international
standards. Refratechnik was once again in the difficult role of protagonist attempting
to gain acceptance for "Refratechnik quality made in China", both in China and also for
export purposes.

Once initial scepticism was overcome, Refratechnik's uncompromising concept

was used successfully in the manufacture of refractory materials in China under
absolutely identical quality-assurance conditions standard to all European Refratechnik

At the same time, the China sales division was strengthened and coordinated close to
the market by Refratechnik Trading Co. in Dalian.

After two expansions in capacity, Yingkou Refratechnik Refractories Co., Ltd. has
succeeded to date in producing more than 200,000 tons of basic bricks for the
global cement, lime and pulp & paper industries. For sure the majority of Yingkou
Refratechnik’s customers are able to confirm the extremely high quality of these
products through their own positive experiences.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 18

They are working towards a further expansion to enable them to produce more than
100,000 tons per year.

To justify Refratechnik's claim as being a complete refractory supplier for the entire
clinker burning process, this concept was expanded by a second production facility,
the Zibo Refratechnik Refractories Co., Ltd. in Shandong Province with an annual
production capacity of approx. 45,000 tons. Since the autumn of 2007, they have been
producing shaped and unshaped Al203-products at this facility. The range of products
and shapes will enable Refratechnik to produce and deliver 4 to 5 sets of refractories
for complete new plants in China by the end of 2008.

The Zibo Refratechnik Refractories Co., Ltd. is designed for future expansions in

In both factories, the absolute premise applies:

for Refratechnik's China products there is no compromise on quality to meet the high
expectations of the customers in relation to chemical and physical properties.

Competent customer care relating to the selection and usage of the ideal quality
product in each case remains an integral part of Refratechnik's philosophy.

As a result, in 2007 Refratechnik Asia Ltd. was established with its registered office
in Hong Kong under the leadership of Dr. Heinrich Liever, who is known to the cement
industry as Sales Director at Refratechnik Cement for many years.

Hong Kong is within the same time zone right in the centre of the booming Asia-Pacific
economic area. Cement production in this region in 2007 was about 1650 million tons
and has huge potential for growth, as pointed out in the introduction.

Dr. Liever himself will introduce Refratechnik Asia Ltd. in a separate lecture.

Even in past years, the world-wide cement industry, has confirmed Refratechnik as the
global No. 1 refractory experts.

Of course, Refratechnik are very grateful for this endorsement, giving them a great deal
of pleasure and pride as well, but most importantly it places an important obligation
upon Refratechnik to maintain this esteemed position and always to continue to focus
on their customers and the diverse refractory requirements their customers do have.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 19

Once again, the investment and activities described have made Refratechnik Cement's
range more attractive (Fig. 9).

increased production capacity in Europe, USA and Asia

efficient R & D; several new products

(patents/benchmark products)

complete product line for clinker burning process

extended range of MgO and Al2O3 containing products

top class refractory engineering (full color 3D drawings)

customer-oriented active sales team

new sales office: Refratechnik Asia Ltd�/Hong Kong

full set of lining accessories and tools

Fig. 9: Refratechnik Cement’s scope of services

It has been reported on the new and expanded manufacturing capacities in Europe,
the USA (production of concretes) and specifically in Asia, and Refratechnik declared
their aim to improve established products and to create new standard and special
products. The lectures presented bear testimony to the fact that Refratechnik's R & D
Department has been working very creatively and efficiently to meet their customers’

Of course, it is still possible to get Refratechnik's complete refractory product range for
the entire clinker burning process from one supplier, but with even more finely tuned
properties and more variable applications, or to benefit from completely new products
of great interest depending upon the specific process requirement.

Refratechnik's Engineering Department, which has been enhanced in terms of

technology and human resources, is now able to estimate annual production of about
350,000 tons of their own products plus retaining materials plus insulation for standard
rotary kiln linings, to offer in-depth refractory solutions and problem-solving and to
produce the refractory engineering for complete new plants. This year, they will provide
installation drawings for about 16 plants in unrivalled 3D-quality.

Refratechnik's highly motivated Sales Team has been reorganised and strengthened in
terms of human resources. Customer focus, from analysis of requirements to after-sales
service provides the foundation to be a permanent and competent point of contact in
all refractory matters. Regular direct contact with customers by the Refratechnik Sales
Team has been greatly intensified, amongst other things by positioning the team in
close geographic proximity to the respective marketplace.

The useful Refratechnik accessories + tools which are used the world over have been
optimised and will be exhibited with staff on hand to provide technical support.

Refratechnik hope that the combination of services they offer is a sound reason for their
customers to keep on choosing Refratechnik as the preferred and reliable refractory
partner in the global cement industry.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 20

Between excess liquidity
and liquidity squeeze –
What direction will the
international financial system take?
Dr. Peter Merk, Chief Economist of the LBBW corporate group, Germany

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 21

1. Introduction

Previous phases of the crisis

The financial crisis has been going on now for almost a year! At first most of the
"experts" thought that it would only be a slight irritation, which would be over
in a matter of weeks. Even in August 2007 and after the near collapse of IKB,
Sachsen LB and Northern Rock, CEOs of the large national and international banks still
felt convinced that they could assure us that they themselves only had AAA-securities
in their portfolios, the quality of which was beyond any doubt. In the meantime, they
must have noticed that even so-called triple-A tranches of specific securitised financial
instruments are being traded at only 60% of their nominal value; and the word "traded"
is actually out of place here, as the trade in such securities has long since collapsed.
At that time it was said that all the fuss would be over, once the financial figures for
the third quarter of 2007 were published. Following this, it was believed that at the
very latest the publication of the annual reports for 2007, in which the banks still had
to absorb around US$ 150 billion on relevant write-offs, would see things return to
normal. Since then, it has become clear that the crisis has intensified this year. Bank
losses reported in the first quarter of 2008 have even exceeded the horror scenarios of
2007. It is obvious that the slump is feeding the slump.

To-date, the banks have written off around USD 330 bn. One stabilising factor is that
the banks in question are apparently not finding it difficult to raise new capital.

120 111,5
80 73,7

45,3 43,7

3,5 4 6,2
H 1/07 Q 3/07 Q 4/07 Q 1/08 Q 2/08
Capital Raised Source: see last page

Fig. 1: Worldwide financial system – Losses and capital raised

In its latest study, the OECD estimates that the financial crisis could actually lead to a
loss of USD 350-400 bn in the next few years. In its own analysis, the IMF even puts the
risks to US business at USD 945 bn; the IMF is especially worried about potential losses
in the area of commercial property and consumer credits. Standard & Poors is even
concerned about the USA’s top rating in the light of a sharp rise in mortgage volume for
the two quasi government mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On the one
hand, both these companies have been coming under huge pressure themselves; and
on the other, they are expected to “save” the mortgage and property market. In view of
the crisis affecting private mortgage banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac account for
almost 80% of this year’s new business. Ultimately, only an explicit state guarantee is
likely to help in this case.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 22

The big question regarding many securitised credit products is: does this collapse in
specific market segments and actually traded prices mentioned earlier merely indicate
clear evidence of panic, are these debts ultimately being paid off 100% overall or are
the losses irretrievable? The actual failure quotas in the real economy are still moving
towards a very low level. This (still) applies even to the American real estate market.
Of course, whoever had to sell their securities in fire sale - for whatever reasons - their
fate is sealed.

This lecture is divided into three parts: Firstly, we will discuss the phenomenon of
excess liquidity and the direct and indirect consequences of this for the financial
markets and the financial system.
This has been the breeding ground for the sub-prime crisis and the repercussions of
the crisis for the financial sector as a whole and will be the subject of the second part
of the lecture.
Although it is still too early to draw a final conclusion about the financial crisis, some
elementary conclusions can easily be drawn at the present time. I will bring this lecture
to a close with my own subjective findings.

2. Background of the bank

and financial crisis

The current crisis, which many observers quite rightly describe as the most serious for
the banks and financial markets since the 1930s, has a background without which it
would be impossible to understand this present situation. I want to set my argument in
this context. Although the large central banks have been pumping additional liquidity
into the banking system for months at previously inconceivable levels, the crux of the
problem is not the threat of illiquidity, but rather the risk of insolvency. The fear of
insolvency of banking partners, which can be expressed more elegantly as the so-called
crisis of confidence, restricts the opportunities available in the banking system for
generating liquidity.

Central bank money and bank deposits

To start with, let me ask you a seemingly banal question: how is liquidity generated
and what is liquidity? The creation of money starts with the central bank. Cash and
sight deposits of the commercial banks at the central bank, the so-called high powered
money, form the basis of further creation of money and liquidity by the commercial
banks. It is known that the so-called bank deposits are generated in the interbank
financial market and in relation to non-banks by the granting of sight deposits. Since
a certain cash drawer rate always has to be factored into these sight funds and the
central bank also requires a minimum reserve, the money creation multiplier of the
commercial banks depends in principle upon existing central bank money. Furthermore,
the amount of credit to be granted also depends upon the capital resources of the
bank. To give you a clearer picture of this, I can quote some figures: whereas the cash
circulation in the European area is scarcely 700 billion Euros, the money supply M1
(i.e. cash plus sight deposits) is about 3850 billion Euros, M2 is about 7600 billion
and M3 is 9000 billion Euros. And that is why the money creation potential of the
commercial banks is certainly not exhausted.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 23

However, the following central statements are important in this context, not least for
the current reasons: essentially, liquidity cannot be equated with wealth. All cash and
every sight fund is faced with a liability. In general, in a closed economy high powered
money can be attributed to lending by the central bank. Every sight fund in accounts at
a commercial bank is also faced with a liability.

Whether or not a commercial bank creates additional commercial bank money by

granting sight funds to credit users, should in practice depend primarily upon whether
it can counterbalance the consequently rising demand for central bank money whilst
maintaining its own liquidity and profitability. It is here that offences have obviously
been committed, because at least the majority of the banks have held the unconsidered
view that the provision of liquidity at any time could not represent a problem either in
terms of price or quantity.

If I may, I would also like to offer an observation just as an aside: it was obvious that
the German Central Bank also saw things the same way, otherwise two years ago it
would certainly not have deleted the chapter on the liquidity situation from its annual
financial stability report without replacing it.

Transfer mechanisms between currencies

My previous statements on this subject were limited to the theoretical scenario of only
one currency. In reality, a not inconsiderable portion of money creation also occurs by
the transfer from one currency area to another.

This transfer of money takes place initially as a result of foreign exchange market
interventions. For example, if the People's Bank of China purchases US Dollars to
stabilise its own exchange rate, additional Renminbi come onto the market as a result.

Money is also transferred as a result of so-called carry trades. Cheap money in low
interest-bearing currencies, such as the Japanese Yen or the Swiss Frank, is raised
and the equivalent value invested in higher interest-bearing currencies, such as the
US Dollar or the Euro. To show you that this mechanism is still in place, I will use the
example of the EUR/YEN exchange rate, which fluctuates exactly with the differences
in interest between the two currencies. The greater the Euro interest rate advantage,
the stronger the Euro and vice-versa. This finding also applies in the same way to
USD/YEN, EUR/USD, EUR/CHF and many other exchange rates.

2.90 170
2.40 155
1.90 140

Bund 10 ./. JGB 10

EUR/JPY (right scale) Source: see last page

Fig. 2: EUR/JPY vs. Spread Bund ./. JGB 10Y

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 24

The influence of asset prices and securitisation
Finally, under certain circumstances the system can become more and more wound up,
if increased granting of sight deposits or credit is facilitated by virtue of the fact that
the lending limits are extended due to increased prices for assets, such as shares or
property. Home equity loans in the USA are now an almost classic example of this. Due
to increased property prices, long-term owners of residential property were able to
take out additional loans. Even the US Federal Reserve Bank quite recently commented
with some degree of satisfaction about the fact that in recent years these home equity
loans had created additional resources of about 2000 billion US Dollars for consumption

Even in this context, the securitisation of debts, which will play an important role in
this lecture, is already highly significant. The securitisation of debts allows the global
credit creation potential to be expanded considerably. This is down to the ability
associated with this of keeping such assets off the balance sheet in conduits and
special investment vehicles (SIVs) and refinancing them practically without any tie-up
of capital resources. In this case, the Basle II body of rules and regulations, which has
been in force since the beginning this year, unfortunately came too late.

Excessive growth in the money supply and credit

The direct result of these mechanisms was excessive growth in world-wide money
supply and credit. It is known that the money supply should grow in line with nominal
GDP. By way of example, the aim of the European Central Bank, which – as measured
against M3 money supply – on average strives for an annual increase in the money
supply of 4.5%, can be deduced very simply: the actual growth potential in the Euro
zone is about 2%; the inflation rate desired by the ECB is also just about 2%. Together
this makes 4%. In order to prevent any unnecessarily restrictive action and also to
take into account the slightly slowing rate of circulation of money, the ECB adds half a
percentage point on top.

13 13
12 12
11 11
10 10
9 9
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

M3 Y/Y
Credit growth
Official ECB-target for money supply Source: see last page

Fig. 3: EMU: Monetary aggregate M3 and credit growth (in % p.a.)

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 25

However, in reality, the money supply has been growing at a double-digit rate for some
time now. This statement does not only apply to the Euro currency area, but in total
to the entire OECD. This undesirable development becomes particularly evident, if the
cumulated rates of change are observed over a lengthy period of time: the Euro and
US Dollar money supplies have been growing much too quickly, particularly since 2001.
As far as the Chinese Renminbi and the Japanese Yen are concerned, this production
of excess liquidity began at the latest in the mid 90s. For industrial nations as a whole,
shown here by the time series for the OECD, this blatant, undesirable development
began in 2001.








91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07
OECD Monetary aggregate M1
OECD Nominal GDP Source: see last page

Fig. 4: OECD: Monetary aggregate M1 and nominal GDP (acc., in %)

Remember! At that time it was obvious that the volatile dot.com bubble was about to
burst. The newspapers outdid each other in reporting horror scenarios of an impending
world economic crisis. In addition to this was the unimaginable terrorist attack of
September 11th, 2001 on the Twin-Towers in New York. The US Federal Reserve, led
by its charismatic Chairman Alan Greenspan, kept lowering the nominal money market
rates in this climate until they reached the historic lowest level of 1%; it was not until
the middle of 2004 that the bank began successively to normalise the interest rate
level. The real money market rates were even negative from autumn 2002 to early 2005.
[We know this now to be the case again]. The Euro money market rates were lowered
to 2% – a level never before seen at the time of the Deutschmark. And finally, Japan
has been well used to zero rates of interest now for some years.

Historically low rates of interest

Economists can only think in prices and quantities. This applies even to the commodity
of money, liquidity or credit, the price of which is the rate of interest. Lower interest
rates, charged by the central bank, the primary money supplier or the lender of last
resort, lead to increasing demand for money. But high liquidity also squeezes the rates
of interest in the capital market, which cannot be influenced directly by the central
bank. Unless monetary policy was viewed as inflationary and adverse to stability – then
falling rates of interest in financial markets could even lead to the yield curve becoming
steeper, i.e. to rising yields.

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However, this has not been the case in recent years. In spite of excess liquidity,
the inflation rates remained low because of fierce global competition. However, the
consequences of the historically low central bank rates in and for the financial system
were all the more severe. Now with the benefit of hindsight, which is a wonderful
thing of course, this must be seen as the curse of low interest rates. I have nothing
against low interest rates for overcoming a recession. But what has been completely
underestimated in recent years, are the consequences triggered by this and blatant
changes in behaviour in the financial sector itself.

Primary consequences of excess liquidity

The primary consequences of excess liquidity triggered by this were or are real interest
rates which are too low, yield curves which are too flat, and risk spreads which are too
narrow. Not only in the financial market, but also in the capital market, the real interest
rates, i.e. the nominal rates of interest minus the inflation rate, are historically low.
Essentially, a redistribution from savers to borrowers is taking place. For a carry-trader
for example, the real interest calculation plays no part at all. He is only interested in
the extent of the interest rate difference between debit and credit interest rates and in
the risk of currency fluctuations.

7 7

6 6

5 5

4 4

3 3

2 2

1 1
1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005

Real Yield
Average real yield Source: see last page

Fig. 5: Germany: Real Yield (5 Year Bunds)

If I may, I would like to quote from two of my own articles published in the "Handels­
blatt" in February 2004 and October 2005 respectively. "As long as Japan is suffering
the effects of deflation, and inflation is not an issue, the extremely expansive monetary
policy associated with intervention policy (on the currency market to support the
US Dollar) will meet the interests of the country. At least from a superficial point of
view, this policy also suits the Americans, as the government and consumers are reliant
on the cheapest money possible. No other country could hope to encounter a similarly
fortunate set of circumstances, where those in deficit are actually rewarded. Into the
mix then come clever freeloaders, who feel attracted by the sweet poison of the still
steep yield curves and thus by promising term transformation transactions", the result
is a yield curve which is (too) flat.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 27

And the second article states the following: "Who is still interested in facts, such as
inflation or returns on final maturity – our main concern is increasing market prices!
For a variety of reasons, most of the asset managers are following a trend-reinforcing
course. The market is really grateful to every finance minister, who does not have his
own house in order and is still offering a few government bonds on modest terms.
Where in fact is the previously much lauded watchdog function of the financial markets
to oversee serious budget policy? The historically low returns on all classes of bonds
and all maturities are essentially the result of the immense glut in liquidity". The general
state of emergency in investment also led to the fact that with regard to credit-risk
corporate bonds and other products the failure probabilities taken into account in the
spreads were considerably lower than previous empirical results. Since the beginning
of the sub-prime crisis, these risk spreads are again in the process of rising. However,
this development is particularly dramatic for the banks themselves.

Secondary consequences of excess liquidity

Further consequential effects of excess liquidity are at least as serious as its primary
consequences for the monetary system:

On average about 2/3 of the operating income of a standard commercial bank depends
upon the net income. In turn, almost two thirds of this comes from term transformation
by the banks transforming shorter-term deposits into longer-term loans. However, if
the yield curve is almost flat, nothing more can be earned. Then, if the risk spreads
also come under pressure, this applies all the more to the net income of the banks. In
this situation, many banks were obviously incurring greater risks without obtaining an
adequate premium for the risk.

It could surely not also have been a historical coincidence that precisely during this
monetary policy phase hedge funds, private equity funds, but also conduits and SIVs,
which are operated by the banks themselves, were popping up everywhere. Ultimately,
they all operate overwhelmingly with outside capital and things were better than
ever before. In general, the leverage factor, i.e. the ratio between invested outside
capital and capital resources, increased dramatically in many businesses. Due to the
low outside capital interest rates, it was obviously not a problem to adopt a leverage
factor of 10 and in some cases of almost 50. If everything runs smoothly, it is of
course possible to achieve fantastic returns on equity as a result of this. But this is
an extremely slippery slope, where a fall to death can occur at any time. In order to
achieve high returns in spite of low market rates of interest, some banks and hedge
funds clearly took on far more than they could handle.

To conclude my remarks on the subject of excess liquidity, I would like to make it

absolutely clear that excess liquidity was more of a necessary, but in no way a sufficient
condition for the financial crisis to happen in this form. None of those involved have
covered themselves in glory in this respect, and each one should be aware of their
actions and take responsibility for them.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 28

3. From subprime crisis to financial crisis

A party atmosphere
The fact that the origins of the financial crisis can be found in the US real estate market,
may have been a coincidence according to Alan Greenspan. However, this would be
open to some debate. The situation does not seem quite so coincidental to me. After
2001, the residential real estate market plainly became America's economical driving
force and the brains behind monetary policy intended it to be just that. Alan Greenspan
even encouraged borrowers to replace conventional mortgage loans, which run for 30
years at a fixed rate of interest, by loans with variable rates of interest, which at that
time were much more favourable. When these forms of finance were no longer feasible
due to money market rates, which had again become higher in the interim and due to
house prices which had increased by 30 to 50%, in 2005 and 2006 interest-only loans
and mortgages with at first negative amortisation were offered to customers.

100% 100%
90% 90%
80% 80%
70% 70%
60% 60%
50% 50%
40% 40%
30% 30%
20% 20%
10% 10%
0% 0%
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 1st half
Fixed Rate Mortgages Interest Only Fixed Rate Mortgages
Adjusted Rate Mortgages Interest Only Adjusted Rate Mortgages
Mortgages with
negative amortization
Source: LBBW

Fig. 6: Types of mortgages in the subprime market

Financing homes up to 125% of their value was obviously not a problem. In order to
drive consumption on, second mortgages were often also taken out on existing homes
based on the rise in property value; as already mentioned at the beginning, according
to estimations by the Fed, these home equity loans created an additional influx of more
than 2000 billion Dollars into consumption between 2003 and 2006. The sometimes
extremely relaxed standards for credit granting can only be understood – if at all –
against the backdrop of real estate prices rising continually. The banks granting credit
felt they were well covered, because at worst the financed real estate could still be
sold at a good price by forced sale. In relation to debt passed on to third parties, which
had been coveted for many years, the standards for credit granting were not a major

The big hangover after the party

The number of non-performing loans in the subprime sector is now particularly high,
representing about a fifth of the entire market. The proportion of loans in arrears in
this sector has risen to approx. 20%. For home loans overall, this index is currently at
2% as compared to the long-term average level of about 1%. It is estimated that this
year there will be about 1.6 million forced sales in the US real estate market; this used
to be on average 0.6 million. The contractual interest rate increases now pose the main
problem: this involves monthly sums of between 35 and 40 billion Dollars. It will be the
end of 2008, before this specific burden starts rising at a slower pace. For the first time,
i.e. at least since there has been official figures on this, real estate prices are falling in
the USA. Market experts have been expecting for some time that the prices could fall by
10 to 20%. According to the Case-Shiller-Index, which measures market development in
the twenty largest urban centres in the USA, the prices are already 13% lower than one
year ago. They are currently falling at a rate of about 2% per month.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 29

In particular, since the financing models implemented in the last two years could only
operate effectively – if at all – in a climate of further increasing house prices and low
interest rates, for one year now we have been in a downward spiral of increasing loan
defaults, collapsing finance companies, distress sales, more stringent conditions for
credit granting and consequently of house prices falling further. At the present time it
is still unclear as to when the counter measures, which have been implemented, will
actually take effect. These measures include the rapid decline in new construction
work, the significant interest rate cuts by the Fed and the planned relief measures for
home owners, who have got into difficulties.

The miracle of securitisation

We know that two thirds of these loans were refinanced by concentrated securitisation,
i.e. the selling-on of corresponding debts in the capital market in the form of novel
structured instruments (RMBS Residential Mortgage Backed Securities). According to
experience, since only a relatively small percentage of loans are not paid even by bad
debtors, the majority are therefore relatively "secure", put in simple terms: a large batch
of exclusively bad credit ratings could be divided into first priority and second priority
elements to achieve would-be first-class tranches of about 90%, which were snapped
up by the markets. The allocation of ratings, which were determined by using purely
theoretical model for these structures, was also the great growth story for the rating
agencies themselves. But these synthetic ratings are obviously not to be confused
with original business ratings, as shown both by the originally offered multiple rates of
interest and the risk spreads required since that time and the numerous downgrades
of credit rating.







01/07 03/07 05/07 07/07 09/07 11/07 01/08 03/08


ABX.HE BBB- 07-1 Source: see last page

Fig. 7: US-Subprime RMBS (prices in % of nominal value)

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 30

Leveraged to the point of ruin
In particular, the situation was made worse by the obviously excessive leverage factor
applied by many institutional investors. Based upon the naive notion that nothing can
really go wrong when purchasing these "first-class" securities, the leverage factor
applied for the corresponding assets was frequently between 10 and 20. However,
it only takes relatively small price losses to destroy capital resources or to activate
corresponding "triggers", that the providers of outside capital require additional
security, terminate their lending commitment or distress sales have to be made. While
in theory broad risk diversification can be assumed by securitisation, in practice it was
clear that individual cluster risks of a magnitude not considered possible were being

Expensive liquidity illusion

The situation was aggravated by a specific form of maturity mismatch, particularly
in those cases, which led to the virtual collapse of banks. In other words, the assets
to be refinanced on average over a period of about five years were refinanced with
short-term money market papers, so-called commercial papers (CP), which were to be
re-issued on a continuous basis. But this was not a classic case of maturity mismatch,
as assets and liabilities with a variable rate of interest were or are created. Against
the backdrop of the belief that liquidity can always be created without limitation in
the international financial system, there was a failure to appreciate the fact that this
represented a huge follow-up financing risk. When the previous CP-buyers began to
doubt the credit-worthiness of the assets, which had been used primarily as security,
the previously generously flowing sources of liquidity started to dry up almost over
night. This forced the banks holding such papers in special purpose entities, such as
conduits and SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles), to cash in the liquidity guarantees
intended as additional security for the CP-buyers and then - where the banks were in
a position to do so - to include these assets on their own balance sheet, to back them
with their own capital resources and to refinance themselves.

Structure Assets Liabilities

ABS, CDOs, trade receivables ... Commercial papers (CPs
usually with high credit rating covered by 100% liquidity line)

Original economic Long-term investment with Short-term funding with rough

calculation „spread income“ of around 20-30 costs equal to Euribor (flat)
basis points above Euribor

Arbitrage profit 20-30 basis points

Situation after start As previously Funding costs at the peak up

of the crisis steeply in some cases by
30-70 basis points or funding
no longer possible

Instead of arbitrage profit interest margin

in some cases
Source: see last page

Fig. 8: How a conduit works (off-balance sheet investment vehicle)

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 31

At this juncture, it is perhaps appropriate to mention that these deals were not subject
to any or hardly any supervision: the US mortgage brokers are not subject to a great
deal of regulation as long as they make deposit transactions. Instruments, which are
not regulated at all, are conduits and SIVs, which have launched subprime asset backed
securities and have been used increasingly by the banks subject to supervision to
outplace their own liabilities.

Crisis of confidence amongst the banks

In the meantime, owing to a lack of transparency, the crisis spread to all markets
involving asset backed securities. Ever since it became known that a number of
companies had gone bankrupt, trust amongst the banks completely broke down to
the point, where banks would not put anything past one another. Both, in the USA
and in Europe, the interbank money market almost collapsed, not to mention the
markets for structured products and the follow-up refinancing of these assets by the
respective CP-programs. The central banks are known to have prevented a collapse in
money circulation by injecting liquidity at record levels and continue to do so. As can
be seen in the margin between rates of interest for the three-month Euribor and the
comparable swap rate (Eonia), the financial market is only slowly returning to normal.
The difference between these two rates of interest is therefore a reliable indicator of
this feature because, in contrast to interest swap deals, deals denominated in Euribor
involve the capital actually flowing from one bank to the other, thus bringing the
question of company credit-worthiness sharply into focus.

5.00 1.00

4.50 0.80

4.00 0.60


2.00 -0.10
2005 2006 2007

3-Month-Euribor in % (lhs)
3-Month-Eonia-Swap in % (rhs)
Difference Euribor / Eonia Source: see last page

Fig. 9: EMU: Money market

The consequences for the banks

The provisional "balance of damage" for the banks is made up of three different
components: loss of profitability, higher liquidity costs, and rising equity requirements.
What has dominated coverage, has been the in part massive write-downs by the
banks of asset backed securities and various credit derivatives (in particular CDOs,
Collateralized Debt Obligations, and CDS, Credit Default Swaps). But in this case there
is generally no public distinction made between actual losses and valuation changes.
At the earliest it will be a couple of years, before we will be able to confirm the losses
caused by the crisis; this will depend ultimately upon the utility of these debts and
thus upon the future of US real estate prices. Currently, the banks are dealing almost
"exclusively" with value adjustments, which always happen to bonds whenever interest
rates or interest rate spreads increase before final maturity and prices fall as a result.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 32

Financial accounting according to IFRS-Rules makes the problem significantly worse,
since – like with a burning glass – all deficits to be feared in the future have an
immediate and maximum impact upon the current mark-to-market valuation. If the
potential loss risks determined from this exceed a bank's risk bearing capability, forced
sales occur as a result. As a consequence, prices also come under pressure, which on
the other hand can trigger more forced sales. The high complexity of these multiply
packaged products and the uncertainty potential buyers feel as a result, coupled with
the herd instinct typical of the industry, can lead to a near collapse in the markets
for such products. Therefore, we must cast doubt on the assumption presumed in
all textbooks to be an obvious a priori certainty, namely that the markets will always
function and also set only the correct prices.

The risk of a continuous downward spiral, which consumes itself like a blazing fire,
was certainly in the thoughts of Josef Ackermann, CEO of Deutsche Bank, when he
allegedly called on the state for assistance in mid-March. This should not be confused
with the unacceptable saying: privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses.

According to our calculations and assumptions, "at the end of the day" the actual losses
from the subprime loans could be about 300 billion to 400 billion US Dollars; banks
would account for two thirds of this. Of course, the returns on previous investments
will, for the future, be channelled away from corresponding new deals. Depending upon
the specific situation, the profit situation of the banks can also be adversely affected by
increased refinancing costs. Last but not least, burdens exist on the capital resources
side: on the one hand write-downs and net losses reduce capital resources terms;
on the other hand, the transfer of off-balance sheet commercial papers from special
purpose entities to the bank balance sheet for reasons relating to supervision laws
also requires additional capital resources. On the whole, the crisis could well lead to
consumption of capital resources in the region of 150 billion to 220 billion US Dollars.
This would equate to about 5% to 7% of the capital resources in the banking system. In
spite of the horrendous sums involved, it would generally be possible to absorb these
losses. But the problem is that almost all of the burdens appear to be borne by relatively
few banks. 15 banks account for about two thirds of the burdens. A high systemic risk
is associated with this.

The new sword of Damocles - Monoliners

The downward spiral is now at an end. But the question, whether the so-called
monoliners will restart the downward spiral, is still unanswered. Monoliners are bond
insurers, which with their very good ratings have traditionally insured bonds from
US cities and raised them to a AAA-rating. But in the meantime, 43% of the volume
of insured bonds are in the form of structured bonds, which sometimes experience
considerable problems. Rating deterioration of monoliners themselves would inevitably
result in corresponding downgrades of the insured bonds to the tune of 2400 billion
US Dollars and that would be like a dam bursting. As the damage from this would be
many times higher than the cost to simply repair the dam as it were, it would be more
than sensible in the interests of all parties involved to follow the path taken by the
US government. At least that is how things look at the moment.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 33

1. Downgrades on monoliners

further Leveraged
asset investments
Banks sales with heavy
hoard losses
4. Consequently, 2. Ratings

further Good and still of bonds
Banks put liquid ABS are
writedowns conduits and being sold to
for investors/ SIVs on their raise liquidity by them are
banks balance sheets reduced
The entire
Commercial ABS market
paper market is under
collapses Losses at
SIVs and pressure

3. Revaluation of the "insured" bonds

Source: see last page

Fig. 10: Negative spiral

Unwinding of structured credit products

Up to the end of Q1, the market was seriously depressed by the liquidation of further
structured credit products (especially CDOs, CPDOs) and macro hedges of entire credit
portfolios. The activation of triggers led to protection buying, protection buying led to
spread widenings, and spread widenings activated the triggers of further structures.
Measured in relation to the CDS market, which has come especially under pressure
as a result, the worst could now be over. For almost two months now, the markets
themselves have been betting on an apparent approaching end to the crisis and
sentiment is generally more positive. Behind this lies the conviction, which has become
certainty in the wake of the rescue of Bear Stearns, that government and central bank
in the US would do everything necessary, if required, to stabilise the system. However,
it is still too early to sound the all-clear.





06/07 07/07 08/07 09/07 10/07 11/07 12/07 01/08 02/08 03/08 04/08

Mid ASW-Spread Reference Obligations

Mid 5Y CDS-Spread Source: see last page

Fig. 11: Credit Default Swaps (CDS) vs. Cash Bonds

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 34

4. A provisional conclusion

We are still right in the middle of this financial crisis, and nobody can say with any
degree of certainty when it will be over and how the final damage assessment will look.
In my view, it is possible to draw a few obvious elementary conclusions.

• On the wider front, we could well see deleveraging in deals. A return on equity at a
high double-digit percentage level should more likely be a reason for critical analysis
of the figures than for blind admiration of managers.

• Many bank balance sheets are more likely to shrink than – as previously – increase
considerably more than a country's nominal GDP. Certain risk deals will no longer be
accepted, at least not by the internal and external supervisory bodies. Also, capital
resources could become an increasingly more restrictive factor.

• The shadow bank system, which has arisen in recent years, will tend to dry up.

• Specific complexly packaged products, which without any higher objective purpose
are all about the packaging of the packaging of the packaging, will not survive. The
market will see to that.

• Bank supervision may also consider matters not only from a formally legal point of
view, but also in a material sense. An elementary principle must be that materially
equal circumstances are also to be treated as materially equal. This goes for the
stringent application of large credit guidelines and capital resources-regulations.

• The ratings agencies must disclose both their valuation models and also their
undeniable conflicts of interest.

• The financial accounting-regulations and the banks' internal risk models, and not
least the structure of personal incentives for all parties involved, are to be modified
such that the prominent herd instinct and lemming effect in the finance industry are
no longer encouraged, but tempered as much as possible.

• The central banks must also do everything they can to bring the crisis under
control and to prevent a core melt down of the financial system, which would have
incalculable consequences. However, it is likewise their duty to ensure that their
rescue measures are not the starting point for the next and possibly even less
manageable bubble in the financial markets.

Finally, of all the financial crises of the last few years, the current crisis stands out by a
long way. However, as Edgar says in Shakespeare’s King Lear: „The worst is not so long
as we can say, ‘This is the worst’“.

Thomson Financial Datasystem,
Bloomberg, Reuters,
LBBW Research,
as at May 15, 2008

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 35

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 36
Trends of refractory requirements in
high efficiency cement rotary kilns
Dr. Johannes Södje

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 37

As we are all aware, cement is the main component of concrete, one of the most
important building materials in the world. For instance, about 1 million cubic metres
have been used for the Øresund bridge joining Denmark and Sweden (Fig. 1).

entire length: 7845 m

concrete consumption: ~1 million cubic metres
Source: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia, Tech. Atlanta, USA

Fig. 1: Øresund bridge joining Denmark and Sweden

The continual increase in the world's population and current economic development
will lead to a further increase in cement consumption in the coming years. While the
average increase in cement consumption in the last few years was between 3% and
3.5% per year, an average annual growth in cement production of >4% in the coming
years is anticipated, which is necessary to meet the increasing requirement for cement
per capita.

Cement production is a highly energy-intensive process with correspondingly high

technical requirements, resulting in a conflict of interests between the higher demand
for cement on the one hand and a high responsibility in terms of the environment and
society on the other.

The globalisation of industrial markets and of the cement market is an incentive to

the operators of cement plants either to ensure that their plants are always equipped
with the latest technology or to decide in favour of opening a new plant in order to be
able to maintain long-term competitiveness. In the future, sustainability will have an
increasingly stronger role to play in long-term success strategies [1].

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 38

A number of important considerations may be summarised from the statements just
made, considerations which are of significance for the operator of a cement plant and
therefore also for the refractory industry in being able to adapt further to constantly
changing market pressures and legal requirements (Fig. 2).

Increase of capacity modernization of existing plants

and/or installation of new plants

Reduction of energy demand innovative technology increasing the

energy efficiency

Minimization of emission (CO2, NOx) substitution of fossil fuels by

alternative fuels and raw materials

Production continuity highly efficient refractory materials

Fig. 2: Important parameters for the cement producers

in terms of a sustainable development

These are the increasing of capacity by modernisation of existing plants and/or

construction of new plants, the reducing of energy demands by using innovative
technology to increase energy efficiency, the minimising of emissions by substituting
alternative fuels and alternative raw materials for fossil fuels, and as a main point the
continuity of production by using highly efficient refractory materials.

Before dealing with the final point and therefore with the current demands placed
on refractory material with the aid of some examples, one should briefly address the
existing plant technology and its potential to make savings in terms of energy demands
and emissions.

While the introduction of precalcination technology three decades ago was a large
developmental step in terms of increasing capacity, technologies are currently
available with which one can achieve a high level of efficiency in terms of capacity and
effectiveness and can reduce energy consumption and emissions [2].

This is demonstrated mainly in the static part of the cement plant. Modern plants with
capacities of up to 6,000 t/d have single-strand preheaters with five or six cyclone
stages and, in case of higher capacity plants, two-strand and in some cases four-
strand preheaters. The use of calciners of different designs and the addition of further
combustion chambers, such as the "hot disk", have achieved almost total calcination of
the raw meal in the static part of the plant. Furthermore, various modules and staged
combustion in the area of the calciner and in the riser duct permit the legally prescribed
low NOx requirements to be met.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 39

The high degree of calcination of the kiln feed in the preheater and calciner meant that
the rotary kiln could be dimensioned smaller. The so-called 2-support kiln with an L/D
ratio <13/1 has become established on the market, especially for small and medium
kiln outputs. In the meantime a trend towards the 2-support kiln has been introduced in
relation to raising the L/D ratio between 14/1 and 15/1, which corresponds more or less
to a well-tried 3-support kiln. This extension optimises the sintering zone, and therefore
the formation of cement clinker can be improved. The use of less reactive alternative
fuels through the main burner then becomes possible, too.

At present the clinker cooling is done by means of grate coolers, which – in addition
to the secondary air removal for the kiln combustion air – also permit tertiary air to
be removed for the calciner via the TAD. Modern grate coolers are characterised in
particular by being easily available, by using minimal quantities of cooling air and near
optimal recovery of the heat introduced by the hot clinker.

Further potential savings in terms of specific energy requirements and emissions are
achieved by the use of alternative fuels, alternative raw materials and additives. Due
to the rapid – almost explosive – increase in prices for primary energy, the use of
alternative fuels in the production of cement will continue to increase further on a
world-wide scale, and they already play a major role in the European cement industry
and in the USA. Looking ahead to the long term, alternative energy sources and
especially alternative raw materials will be used more and more to meet the need for
sustainability in the cement industry and with respect to the environment.

The temperature distribution and the associated thermal loads of a technically highly
efficient plant is considered in the following (Fig. 3).

200 °C = 392 °F
300 °C = 572 °F
400 °C = 752 °F
500 °C = 932 °F
600 °C = 1112 °F
700 °C = 1292 °F
800 °C = 1472 °F
900 °C = 1652 °F
1000 °C = 1832 °F
1100 °C = 2012 °F
1200 °C = 2192 °F
1300 °C = 2372 °F
1400 °C = 2552 °F

Fig. 3: Temperature profile of a precalciner cement kiln system

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 40

As clearly shown in figure 3, the refractory lining has to withstand increased thermal
and thermochemical loads not only in the hot zone of the rotary kiln, but also in the
various levels of the calciner, especially in the area of additional burners, in the riser
duct and in the kiln hood. Burning conditions, which are less than optimal, for example
owing to incorrect feeding or because of frequently changing alternative fuels, can
rapidly lead to local overheating of the refractory lining. Wavy, concave surfaces or
surfaces, which appear to have melted and solidified, are the fundamental signs of
thermal overload (Fig. 4).

basic lining in the lower burning zone high alumina lining in the calciner
of rotary kilns

Fig. 4: Thermal overload

Further chemical and/or thermochemical wears of the refractory lining are traceable
to the incorporation of volatile components, such as alkali, sulphur and chloride
compounds, as well as to further trace elements into the system. There is known to be
a significant increase in these components, and especially heavy metals, in the system
due to the increasing use of alternative fuels and raw material, and the associated
processing difficulties.

However, now it is known that these components have been proved not only to dwell
in the rotary kiln, but also in increasing concentrations in the units preceding and
following the kiln and do hence cause more and more operating problems (Fig. 5).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 41

alkalis + Cl− alkalis + SO2/SO3

Fig. 5: Schematic drawing of a cement plant - volatile circulations

Depending on the quantity and the atmospheric conditions, the volatile compounds
and heavy metals introduced into the system have an affinity to form various salt
compounds, such as alkali chlorides, alkali sulphates and sulphides. Due to internal
gas circulation processes these compounds become concentrated in the system. While
previously mainly individual salts, such as sylvine, arcanite and anhydrite, could be
found in the structure of the lining, the condensation of mixed salts in the structure is
now being found to a greater degree. Calcium langbeinite, syngenite, aphthitalite and
langbeinite are the main mixed salts, which have been found in the refractory lining,
in addition to alkali chlorides. These salt mixtures are liquid up to about 600 °C (Fig. 6)
regardless of their composition [3]. They can deeply penetrate into the structure of the
lining and finally condense.


Source: Phase Diagrams for Ceramists

Fig. 6: Quaternary system: K 2SO4 -CaSO4 -KCI-CaCl2

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 42

If potential flow paths and corresponding temperatures are present, these salts also
pass as far as the steel shell of the kiln, where they cause a broad range of corrosion
mechanisms, such as hot gas corrosion, wet corrosion and rusting effects on the steel
during kiln shutdowns (Fig. 7).

Fig. 7: Corrosion effects on kiln shell and cyclone steel shell

While in basic and chrome ore-free brick grades the open pores are generally filled
by infiltration and condensation of the salts leading to the structural densifications in
various horizons (Fig. 8), there do take place thermochemical reactions additionally in
dolomite bricks and non-basic linings.

mainly alkali sulphate salts mainly alkali chloride salts, mainly alkali chloride
alkali sulphate salts salts

lower transition zone upper transition zone calcining zone

Fig. 8: Salt infiltrations in different horizons of basic and non-basic brick grades

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 43

These include new mineral phase formations with obvious increases in volume, such
as the formation of feldspars and feldspathoids in case of high alumina linings. In the
rotary kiln this wear is manifested by thin spallings of thermochemically transformed
layers, so-called alkali spalling (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9: High alumina bricks showing alkali spalling

In the preheater, calciner and kiln hood areas a growing of the non-basic lining on the
hot side usually occurs before the alkali spalling effect takes place. Over time, this
expansion exerts high pressure and traction forces on the entire refractory construction
including anchoring, flanges and kiln shell construction. If, in addition, the given
expansion joints are filled with dust and/or salts and the compensators lose their ability
to function due to the expansion of the lining underneath, then deformation or even
tearing of the steel shell occurs. The lifting of partial areas of the calciner (Fig. 10) has
been observed in the past, too.

calciner conical part

lifted off

refractory expansion

Fig. 10: Expansion of a refractory lining, calciner conical part lifted off

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 44

Furthermore, the tensile forces in the metal anchorings can be exceeded so that wall
and roof areas may collapse (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11: Damaged side wall due to anchor overstressing, kiln hood area

The refractory linings are further affected by an excessive presence of SO2 /SO3
observed in the system in recent years. The use of sulphurous fuels, such as petcoke,
favours this and leads to an alkali sulphate modulus of <1, that means free SO2 /SO3,
which cannot be bonded by alkalis, is widely available to react thermochemically with
the refractory lining.

In case of basic bricks, a corrosion of the magnesia and calcium silicates, which are
present in traces in the magnesia, may take place. This mechanism has already been
presented in earlier publications. For a long time it was only detectable mineralogically
by means of X-ray analysis [4].

Recent case studies on used bricks show that this type of wear can even be detected
macroscopically due to the high sulphur concentrations in the system (Fig. 12). A
texture with wavy pores is the typical sign of this wear.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 45

refractoriness and structural flexibility are reduced

2 C2S + MgO + SO3 CaSO4 + C3MS2

C3MS2 + MgO + SO3 CaSO4 + 2 CMS
CMS + MgO + SO3 CaSO4 + M2S
K2O + 3 SO3 + 2 MgO K2Mg2[SO4]3

Fig. 12: Silicate and magnesia corrosion, surplus of SO2 /SO3 in kiln atmosphere
(alkali sulphate modulus [ASM] < 1)

High sulphur compound contents in the atmosphere of the plant also favour the
formation of coating rings and cloggings, which are not only found in the rotary kiln,
but also increasingly occur in the preceding units and may lead to premature kiln stops
(Fig. 13).

Fig. 13: Clogging in a preheater, ring formation in the kiln

This is primarily caused by the formation of spurrite minerals and anhydrite. The
presence of salt melts based on alkali chloride and alkali sulphate compounds can
increase this effect still further.

Air blasters, which are usually integrated into suitable areas of modern cement plants,
provide one way of removing solid cloggings in the affected areas. The intense pressure
waves, however, impose a risk of the adjoining installed refractory material being
subjected to extreme mechanical compressive tensions. The formation of cracks and
spallings of damaged areas, and therefore premature wear of the refractory lining, may
occur as a consequence.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 46

The accumulating solid cloggings can also be reduced through refractory technology
using silicon carbide- and zircon-containing shaped and unshaped refractory products,
such as the Refratechnik Cement grades from the KRONAL® series and the AR refractory
concrete product range.

Cement clinker is normally burned under oxidising atmosphere. The alternating use of
different alternative fuels and the observance of legal requirements for reducing NOx
emissions produce operating conditions, which lead to local reducing atmospheres in
the system. Unfortunately, these do also influence the wear of the refractory material,
which can be detected macroscopically on the hot side by strongly bleached horizons
in the lining (Fig. 14).

formation of K2SO3, K2S, K2S3, KFeS2

smell of H2S during kiln stop and

removal of the lining

bleached horizons with additional salt infiltrations

Fig. 14: Reducing atmosphere in the kiln system

In the presence of salts these conditions and/or redox burning conditions do not only
lead to the crystallization of alkali sulphates in the structure, the condensation of
alkali sulphite and alkali sulphides is again observed in the lining. A typical H2S smell
is perceived during kiln stops, where the brickwork has been loaded in this way. The
reason for this is the strong hygroscopy of the alkali sulphides. These draw moisture
from the air and release H2S gas, which is toxic in higher concentrations.

Reducing burning conditions also favour the Boudouard reaction (Fig. 15). Due to the
reducing atmosphere on the hot side, elemental carbon may deposit in lower horizons
of the lining in a temperature range between ~400 °C and ~600 °C. Carbon deposits in
the form of soot on the kiln shell are also found. This effect is augmented catalytically
by refractory products with higher contents of iron oxides with trivalent iron, such as
magnesia chromite bricks. Serious consequential damage to the brickwork by extensive
spallings is associated with this so-called carbon disintegration.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 47

carbon disintegration, Boudouard reaction (CO2 + C <-> 2CO)

carbon horizon
Fig. 15: Reducing and redox burning conditions

The increasing use of secondary raw materials from other industry branches, such as
waste materials from the iron and non-iron industries, as an additive to the raw meal
causes concentrations of heavy metals in the system. Most of all, sulphide compounds
based on lead, cadmium and bismuth could be found, especially in the lining of the
upper transition zone (Fig. 16). The formation of a solid lead sulphide coating with a
thickness of ~50 mm has even been observed in the upper transition zone of the kiln.
Reducing burning conditions are also most essential for such condensations in the
structure in this case and – in the same manner as alkali salt condensations – lead to
embrittlements of the texture and spallings of horizons concerned.

massive PbS coating sample from UTZ

Fig. 16: Heavy metal concentration in the lining,

especially in the upper transition zone (UTZ)

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 48

Since the increasing installation of refractory concretes in the cement plant, alkali
chromate efflorescences, which used to be closely associated with yellow efflorescences
on used magnesia chromite bricks, have again been found in used linings, especially in
contact with corroded metal and heat-resistant anchors (Fig. 17).

Fig. 17: Alkali chromate formation due to metal anchor corrosion

Heat-resistant steel anchors consist of steel alloys, which contain nickel and chromium.
If alkali salts reach as far as the anchoring of refractory concrete, they can react with
the chromium from the steel anchor and form alkali chromates. The corroded steel
anchor itself thereby loses its stability. In dependence upon the prevailing temperature
profile the alkali chromates either settle directly in the vicinity or evaporate and
condense in other parts of the refractory lining.

In one case of wear, yellow alkali chromate efflorescences were found in the magnesia
spinel lining in the outlet zone of the kiln (Fig. 18). This lining was also loaded by the
condensation of blue arcanite, which discoloured to green in contact with yellow alkali

arcanite (blue efflorescences)

alkali chromate

Fig. 18: Alkali chromate condensation in a magnesia spinel lining

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 49

The background to this case was the failure of the monolithic lining in the outlet segment
due to shell deformations so that alkalis had free access to the steel anchoring. Owing
to the prevailing high temperatures in this area, the alkali chromate evaporated and
finally condensed in the lining on the inlet side.

From the examples of wear phenomena that have been given it is clear that, in spite of
the optimisation of the process technology of cement plants, the demands placed on
the refractory lining have intensified. The main causes of this trend are the increased
capacities of the plants, additional combustion chamber modules and the increasing
use of secondary fuels and raw materials.

Reducing or even preventing such wear phenomena are essential requirements for
the refractory industry with the aim of being able to offer innovative solutions to the
cement producers. Under the existing conditions therefore the following essential
demands are placed upon the refractory material and its installation (Fig. 19):

minimization of infiltration and corrosion of refractory components

optimization of the structural texture by higher flexibility

and high structural strength

renewable sealing of the refractory’s hot face

optimization of installation technology, especially in the static area of the cement

kiln system including a flexible and fast installation of high-grade refractory
concretes and bricks

innovative insulation and protection options for the anchoring system and steel shell
to reduce or even prevent different corrosion mechanisms of shell and anchors

Fig. 19: Requirements to the refractory material and its installation

As response to these refractory requirements, Refratechnik Cement offers

the following refractory solutions (Fig. 20):

Basic refractory brick grades

established concept AF-series: ALMAG® AF, REFRAMAG® AF, TOPMAG® AF
new developments TOPMAG® A1, FERROMAG® F1, FORMAG® 88

Non-basic brick grades

established concept AR-series: KRONAL® 50 AR, KRONAL® 63 AR
new development KRONAL® 60 AR

Refractory concretes
high grades LCC and LCC-AR product range
high grades and
fast applications JC and MCG technology

Installation technology AR lining concept with integrated refractory design

including wear lining, insulation concept
and anchor system

Fig. 20: Refratechnik Cement’s refractory solution

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 50

As far as shaped refractory products are concerned, the last 8 years have seen
successful use of Refratechnik Cement's basic AF bricks, such as ALMAG® AF,
TOPMAG® AF and REFRAMAG® AF, in increasing proportions in the hot zones and
the transition zones of the rotary kiln [5], [6], [7]. As a further variation in this range,
there is to mention the recently developed magnesia spinel brick grade TOPMAG® A1.
This brick grade is already being used in the tyre areas under higher mechanical loads,
where it achieves good performances. Moreover, the recently developed basic brick
grades FERROMAG® F1 and FORMAG® 88 should be mentioned as well. These brick
grades do have a new kind of elastification and thus show an improved resistance to
thermochemical melt attack.

On the non-basic side, the development of high alumina, silicon carbide containing
brick grades and low cement refractory concretes with silicon carbide or zircon
additives has also shown positive results with respect to increased infiltration
resistance and thermochemical corrosion resistance over a number of years. In this
respect the KRONAL® series from Refratechnik Cement including KRONAL® 50 AR,
KRONAL® 63 AR and KRONAL® 60 AR should be mentioned, which do not only achieve
good performances in the rotary kiln, but also in the units preceding and following,
such as calciner, riser duct, tertiary air duct, kiln hood and bullnose [8].

The continuous further development and improvement of LCC, JC and MCG technology
is an essential component of Refratechnik Cement's refractory concrete product range
which, from an economical point of view, amongst others permits flexible and fast
installation of high quality products [9].

The AR lining concept of Refratechnik Cement using high-quality steel anchoring

displays excellent performances in a large number of applications with minimal wear of
the refractory construction as a whole [10].

Although recent years have seen the development of a particular market for alternative
fuels of uniform quality in terms of fraction and calorific value to meet the requirements
of the cement industry, the process control of a cement plant will continue to remain
rather undefined in the future due to changing fuel usage.

As far as the refractory industry is concerned, the optimisation of the infiltration

resistance and thermochemical and thermal resistance of refractory materials will
continue to be the focus of major development work. Integrated concepts providing a
system solution are definitely in the forefront of this, which in addition to an adapted
constructional brick lining as wear layer, should also include a wide range of anchoring
systems and insulating layer concepts.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 51


[1] W
 ord Business Council for Sustainable Development (www.wbcsdcement.org):
The Cement Sustainability Initiative
Progress Report, March 2007

[2] H
 arder, J.:
Trends in kiln systems for cement industry
ZKG International, no. 7, 2007, pp. 38 - 49

[3] Phase Diagrams for Ceramists, The American Ceramic Society

[4] Bartha, P., Södje, J.:

Degradation of refractories in cement rotary kilns fired with waste fuels
Ceramic News vol. 5, 2001, pp. 62 - 71

[5] G
 roger, P.:
Practical applications of innovative basic refractory lining concepts
in sections of cement rotary kilns exposed to high chemical load
REFRA-Kolloquium 2004, pp. 57 - 69

[6] K lischat, H.J., Liever, H.:

Innovative refractory materials for the use of secondary fuels in the cement
industry Cement International 1, 2003, no. 4, pp. 78 - 87

[7] W
 irsing, H., Södje, J.:
Structurally reinforced basic refractory bricks for use in alkali loaded cement
rotary kilns
REFRA-Kolloquium 2004, pp. 49 - 56

[8] K lischat, H.-J., Groger, P., Wirsing, H.:

Superior alkali resistant high alumina bricks for cement kiln installations
UNITECR ’07, Dresden, September 18 - 21, 2007

[9]  Beimdiek, K.:

Wet gunning technology - Practical experience as a refractory system
solution in cement plants
ZKG International, no. 11, 2005, pp. 48 - 58

[10] K assau, K.:

A systematic refractory system for reducing wear mechanisms while allowing
for an increased amount of secondary fuels in cement kilns - REFRA-AR lining
REFRA-Kolloquium 2004, pp. 115 - 131

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 52

Refratechnik’s AF & AR brick grades –
A concept turns global
Peter Groger

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 53

Globalization is one key word in modern civilization. Known from the so-called
developed countries to the remotest places on this planet. Driven by factors, such
as mobile telecommunication, the world-wide web and amazingly enhanced travel
possibilities, the days of Jules Verne’s novel “Around the world in 80 days” cause
more smile of sentimental feelings than they fit into the current state of the art
business situation. Whether the speed of information and quantity of data available
are judged as a blessing or curse, will be in the eye of the beholder. As a matter of
fact, globalization effects all of us. This relates to all aspects of modern life, such
as business, science, health care, education, sports to even food habits. Even if the
cement industry is considered as a basic and very conservative industry, it is subject to
massive impacts from globalization, too.

As pointed out by the gentlemen Tabbert and Harder, the cement industry is in a major
transition period. Global players are increasingly spreading their world-wide network
and influence. Technical innovations are applied with increasing speed throughout the
industry. Opportunities, such as global trading and obstacles, like increases in energy
costs and environmental regulations, are shared more commonly than ever before.    
As this kind of transparency in related issues is a key factor to prepare the cement as
well as the refractory industry for the challenges of the years to come, it is a great
pleasure to present hereinafter Refratechnik’s contribution in the field of innovative
products and solutions via its wide range of AF and AR brick grades (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1: Refratechnik’s AF & AR brick grades – A concept turns global

The attendees to the REFRA-Kolloquium 2004 may remember in this conjunction a

paper presented on that occasion called “Practical applications of innovative basic
refractory lining concepts in highly chemically loaded cement rotary kilns”. For better
understanding, some technical background analyses are given hereinafter encouraging
us to move towards this new product generation and still challenging us to create
further proactive solutions. Concrete is the most utilized modern building material
world-wide. On average, every person consumes more than 2.5 tons of concrete per
year. With a world population of nearly 7 billion, around 17 billion tons of concrete are
required. Since about 10 to 15% of cement is needed as binding agent in the concrete,
2.6 billion tons of cement are currently produced throughout the world [1].

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 54

Due to the forecasted strongly rising demand, the cement production is predicted to
nearly double to about 5.3 billion tons until 2050 [2], (Fig. 2).

other OECD India and China


Mio. tons




1970 1974 1978 1982 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018 2022 2026 2030 2034 2038 2042 2046 2050
Source: USGS and IEA

Fig. 2: Global cement demand by region and country

The 30 countries registered under the OECD lost their dominating position in global
cement demand by the end of the last millennium to the booming markets of India
and China. The disproportionately high growth rate is forecasted to last another
10 years until the remaining countries will start to generate further exceptional
demand. The stimulating factors, such as global population growth, increase of per
capita consumption, politically motivated infrastructural projects and a booming
world economy are fuelling this scenario. To reach this ambitious prediction, plenty
of obstacles have to be dealt with. Some of them are simply linked to the nature of
product and the manufacturing process of cement. It is well known that high amounts
of CO2 are emitted due to decarbonisation of the limestone and utilization of fossil and
electrical energy for the production process [3], (Fig. 3).

heat & power

other sectors electricity
14% & transport
cement industry 5%
energy industry fuel 40%
non-road manufacturing
transport industry
6% 17%
road transport
Source: WBCSD

Fig. 3: Global CO2 production

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 55

Even if the cement industry only contributes with 5% to the man-made CO2 production
world-wide, it will nearly produce 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the year 2050,
if common practice is still continued [4]. To change, it has to be understood that half
of the CO2 emissions are caused by the chemical transformation of the limestone and
are therefore inevitable. 40% are due to thermal combustion of the fuels and 10% are
generated through electricity and transportation. This leaves a huge saving potential
on the fuel side. CO2 emitted during firing of the clinker can be accounted neutral for
alternative fuels as they substitute the emissions caused by utilization of conventional
fuels. Under the regulations of emission trading only the biogenous parts of the fuel
can be accounted as neutral. 

In 1999 ten of the biggest cement producers established the Cement Sustainability
Initiative (CSI) under the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (Fig. 4).
It aims at improving the global cement industry’s environmental and social performance
and at reducing its ecological footprint.

established in 1999

to improve the global cement industry‘s

environmental and social performance

18 major cement producers

(> 40% world cement production)

saving natural resources

by using alternatives

Fig. 4: Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI)

In the meantime the CSI consists of 18 major cement producers [5], [6]. Amongst
them there are the TOP 5 global players: Lafarge, Holcim, Cemex, HeidelbergCement
and Italcementi. The CSI members are representing more than 40% of the world-
wide cement production. This is a clear commitment of the cement industry to its
global responsibility. Amongst others, the following three environmental optimization
approaches have been monitored:

• improvement of energy efficiency of the equipment,

• utilization of alternative fuels, and
• substitution of raw materials as well as clinker by alternative materials.

Focusing on the aim of improving the equipment efficiency, it can be monitored that
globalization and the increasing task for a higher competitiveness have forced the
cement industry and its equipment suppliers to massive optimizations. Starting from
the dawn of the 19 th century, the specific energy consumption for the production of
one kg of clinker dropped gradually by over 50% from more than 6000 kJ to less than
3000 kJ [7], [8] (Fig. 5).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 56

kJ/kg clinker

1000 theoretical heat requirement = 1758 kJ/kg clinker
long wet long dry semi-dry 2-stage 4-stage 4-stage modern
preheater preheater precalciner 6-stage
Source: F.L. Smith & Co. A/S

Fig. 5: Trend of specific fuel consumption according to equipment type

Unfortunately the scale of specific energy reduction via equipment innovation is

slowing down, and a further massive reduction is unlikely to be achieved in the
near future. Therefore a further narrowing of the gap between the theoretical heat
requirement of 1758 kJ/kg and the currently achievable value of around 2900 kJ/kg will
take time, a lot of money and huge resources (Fig. 6).


kJ/kg clinker


2800 modern 6-stage precalciner kiln = 2900 kJ/kg clinker
1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2005
Source: JCA

Fig. 6: Trend of specific fuel consumption in the Japanese cement industry

This slowdown shall be visualized by the specific fuel consumption of the Japanese
cement industry during the last 25 years. The consumption went clearly down in the
Eighties, bottomed out in the late Nineties and stagnates on low level in the new

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 57

As this situation is observed in plenty of countries, the utilization of alternative fuels
and raw materials has been brought into the focus of the cement industry. Furthermore,
it takes us directly to the second globally reviewed key issue which is:

• reduction of operational costs.

A market survey of the Independent Cement Producers Association (ICPA), [9]

(Fig. 7) reviews all typical costs linked to the production of clinker as well as to
cement. Admittedly, the values in this survey may differ in individual cases due to local
variations on fuel, power and labour costs.

fuel 25%
energy > 40%

electrical energy 17%

raw materials 10%

refractories 2%

others 20% labour 26%

Source: ICPA

Fig. 7: Relative cement production costs per ton

In this survey fossil energy with 25% and electrical energy with 17% account to over
40% of the production costs. Labour with around 26% comes in second place, raw
materials with 10% in third place, followed by various factors, which are all in the
range of single digits only. These values identify energy as the key cost factor in the
cement production process. Taking into account that the specific energy consumption
stagnates, the substitution of conventional energy is inevitable to reduce cost. Already
in the Eighties, German cement plants started to use alternative fuels [10]. In 2003 over
38% of secondary fuels and 6.4 million tons of alternative raw materials were utilized
(Fig. 8).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 58






1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Source: VDZ

Fig. 8: Substitution rate of alternative fuels in the German cement industry

In 2005 Germany achieved a substitution rate of nearly 50% of alternative fuels [11].
This substitution caused substantially lower fuel costs, partially to an even negative
level. Labour force in the cement industry has been globally downscaled over the years.
Technical development and increasing cost pressure account for this global trend. A
good indicator is the factor of produced ton of cement per worker and year. It can be
seen that the Japanese cement industry (Fig. 9), known for high efficiency, has tripled
its production per worker within the last 25 years [12]. Further it is obvious that even
with all the automation achieved there are certain limits. The downscale potential is
already widely reached in plenty of countries.


80000 20000

workers and tons/worker

60000 15000
1000 tons


40000 10000


20000 5000


0 0
1980 1985 1990 1995 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

clinker production plant workers production / worker

Source: JCA

Fig. 9: Workers’ productivity in the Japanese cement industry

It is worthwhile to mention that the refractory costs - including material, demolition and
installation – account for less than 2% of the total production costs (Fig. 10).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 59

energy > 40%
fuel 25%

energy 17%
raw materials 10% and
refractories 2% materials 63% demolition

others 20% labour 26%

refractory material ~1.3%

Source: ICPA

Fig. 10: Relative cement production costs per ton

The refractory materials themselves are accounting for 1 to 1.5% only. Considering that
a failure of a single brick in the rotary kiln may bring a multi-million dollar factory to
a standstill, it should be scrutinized whether operational cost saving shall start at
this end. This is even more critical, if the refractory operation conditions are already
deteriorating subject to other larger-scale saving efforts.  At this stage one should look
at the refractory aspect. As part of its permanent quality control, Refratechnik has
been serving the cement industry with individual post mortem product analyses since
decades. Over the years, hundreds of individual samples have been categorized. As a
matter of fact, three parameters are responsible for the refractory performance. These
three parameters are thermal, chemical and mechanical impacts (Fig. 11).



more than 1000 analyses, thermomechanical

reports from 1999 to 2007 chemical, thermochemical
and salts 11%
~ 60% chemical attack


Source: Refratechnik laboratory reports 1999-2007

Fig. 11: Statistical distribution of wear mechanisms

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 60

While the process technology and the mechanical maintenance gradually improved,
a trend towards higher chemical wear has been observed. Increasing throughput
with higher utilization rates and, last but not least, less defined and lower quality
fuels are responsible for this trend. Within the last 10 years more than 1000 analysis
reports were elaborated. Around 60% of all investigations revealed chemical or
partly chemical wear phenomena. In close communication with the cement industry,
Refratechnik launched two completely new product groups to cope with this situation.
The AF grades in the field of basic and the AR grades in the field of alumina containing
shaped products. The abbreviation AF stands for Alternative Fuels and AR for Alkali
Resistant. Certainly Refratechnik’s AF & AR products are not only designed to show
a good performance under difficult conditions caused by the utilization of alternative
fuels. Also in all cases where high and highest chemical loads are acting, for example
highly loaded raw materials, fluctuations with standard fuels, high sulphur fuels and
increased throughputs, the AF & AR grades do have certain advantages.

With the development of the AF grades ALMAG® AF, TOPMAG® AF and REFRAMAG® AF
a new product group has been established. This group enables the application of
chemically enhanced products in all parts of the basic zone of the rotary kiln. The
utilization of reinforced raw materials, reduced permeability and customized refractory
engineering do assure the required properties. For the remaining kiln sections,
from outlet, safety, calcining towards inlet zone, the AR grades consisting
of KRONAL® 63 AR, KRONAL® 60 AR and KRONAL® 50 AR completed the aim of a
better chemical resistance. As a side effect of the outstanding positive feedback for
the AR concept in the rotary kiln, the grades migrated already into the stationary parts
of the cement factory, such as coolers, kiln hoods, as well as inlet chambers, risers,
cyclones and calciners. The tailor-made properties of the AF & AR grades allow to fully
cover all requirements of the chemically and thermochemically challenged areas of the
cement clinker production line. After nearly one decade from the first trials until today,
it is worthwhile to analyse the market acceptance of the AF and AR grades in detail
(Fig. 12).

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Fig. 12: Refratechnik’s AF and AR brick grades – A concept turns global

The market introduction started in the year 2001 with the launch of KRONAL® 50 AR
and KRONAL® 63 AR. Already in the first year of their existence, the products spread
from Germany over Western and Eastern European countries to the Americas and

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 61

In 2002 ALMAG® AF and TOPMAG® AF, as the first basic brick grades of this concept,
were released into the market to improve the chemical resistance in the transition and
sintering zones, too.
In 2003 the current AF product line-up was completed with REFRAMAG® AF. The
response of the market has been clear as the global presence increased steadily. This
trend was even boosted via the availability of TOPMAG® AF and REFRAMAG® AF from
Yingkou Refratechnik Refractories Co., Ltd. in Dashiqiao/China, which started operation
in 2004. In this factory they are able to produce up to 75,000 tons of high grade basic
products according to the tight certified internal and external quality standards.
In 2005 Refratechnik’s R&D department contributed another key product to the line-up
of AF and AR bricks via the launch of KRONAL® 60 AR. This medium SiC containing
product enables the cement manufacturer to reduce the length of the basic zone,
which for chemical load reasons extended partially over 10 times the kiln diameter.
KRONAL® 60 AR could substantially reduce the negative impact of ring formation,
without the disadvantage of high kiln shell temperature known from high SiC containing
In 2006 TOPMAG® A1, as the first evolution from the AF line-up, was released to the
global market. This product aimed at combining the strength of highest chemical
resistance from the AF concept with the everlasting requirement of a refractory concept
being capable to perform under severe mechanical conditions as well.
Since the tyre areas, especially underneath the second tyre area, are seldom covered by a
stable coating, it could be observed that this particular area is exposed to a varying load
mix of high chemical and mechanical impacts. In combination with the recommended
installation method of mortar lining and application of professional lining supervision,
another product module has been completed.
To cope with the booming demand in the Asian countries, Refratechnik started its
production plant in Zibo, China at the end of 2007. With the production of KRONAL® 50 AR
and 60 AR, Zibo Refratechnik Refractories Co., Ltd. contributes to a further spreading of
the AR concept in the region and globally.
Starting from 2001, the percentage of AF and AR grades in Refratechnik’s sales volume
has grown from 0% to more than 30% (Fig. 13).







2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
AF / AR standard

Fig. 13: Growth of AF and AR qualities compared to total sales

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 62

Even more impressively it can be monitored that the average annual growth rate of the
AF & AR products outperforms with 154.0% the average annual rate of Refratechnik's
standard products by far. On the other hand, it is obvious that the wide range of standard
products is still required, as the operational conditions in the majority of cement plants
still allow a high grade conventional lining pattern. Anyhow, the trend towards special
solutions is undisputed. The individual selection, whether standard or AF/AR grades
shall be applied, is always to be adopted to the specific plant requirements.

Figure 14 shows the correlation of alternative fuels as well as raw materials utilization
and Refratechnik’s AF & AR product share in the TOP 5 global cement groups. As per
their annual public shareholder report, Italcementi have applied 4.4% [13], Cemex 7.4%
[14], Lafarge 10.7% [15], Holcim 11.0% and HeidelbergCement 17.0% [16] of their global
fuel consumption as alternative fuels.







Italcementi Cemex Lafarge Holcim HeidelbergCement
alternative fuels alternative raw materials Refratechnik’s AF & AR products
Source: Sustainability reports 2006

Fig. 14: AFR substition rates and Refratechnik’s AF and AR products used
in the TOP 5 global cement groups

Lafarge as an example define 18 fuels for their global operations. Only 6 are specified
as standard or regular fuels, 9 as solid alternative and 3 as liquid alternative fuels. It
seems logical, but is not mandatory, that companies with a higher AFR substitution
rate will apply more chemically enhanced refractory materials. This correlation and
trend was confirmed in the analysed cases. This strong and lasting trend is driven by
the wider awareness within the cement community that refractory countermeasures,
via premium grade refractory materials, are needed, available and profitable for them.
Within the last 8 years the AF & AR concept established itself as a new standard, which
will be demonstrated by the following case analysis (Fig. 15). A rotary kiln with 4.55 m
diameter and 76 m in length was put into operation by the end of 1998 with a designed
capacity of 4,000 tons/day.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 63

EX® 3
0 conventional
X® 50 11000
60 K 000
® 85 7000
20000 220
M AG® 8
G® 85
EX® 3
0 AF & AR
0 AR
63000 76000 AL® 5 11000

33000 AL® 60 10000
6000 KRON
F 13000
TOPM 220
G® AF 19000
G® AF 10000

63000 76000

6000 additional refractory material related
production costs of about 0.1%

Fig. 15: Substitution potential in a highly chemically stressed rotary kiln

During the last decade the plant capacity has been upgraded several times to reach
5,000 tons/day meanwhile, which resulted in an increased heat load on the refractory
lining. For cost saving reasons different coals with large fluctuations have to be used.
A high chemical load has been identified caused by newly applied correction materials.
These negative impacts were measurable in the kiln atmosphere, the clinker as well as
finally in the post mortem brick analyses. Over the years the layout has changed from
a high grade conventional to a chemically enhanced one on basis of AF & AR products.
With the customized refractory layout it was possible to work under the more severe
process conditions, without additional downtime of the kiln. Potential collateral costs,
such as production losses, removal costs for coating and lining, installation or patching
of sections, could be avoided. Compared to the huge savings on the energy and raw
material side and the gaining on production, the share of refractory material-related
production costs increased by 0.1% only. The fundamental conclusion in this case is
pretty clear. Cost savings combined with maintaining operational availability can be
supported by minor investment on the refractory side. As refractory innovations shall
never fall behind the latest process developments, several further requirements have
been pinpointed:

• highest chemical resistance combined with increased structural flexibility,

• thermochemically reinforced concepts for the burning zone suffering from operational
• innovative cost/performance-oriented chrome free solutions.

Refratechnik shall be glad to present its answers to those challenges through the new
product developments TOPMAG® A1, FERROMAG® F1 and FORMAG® 88 (Fig. 16).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 64



Fig. 16: The innovation continues

The application of AF & AR brick grades in the cement factories of 732 customers in
more than 100 countries on 6 continents truly confirms that Refratechnik’s AF & AR
concept turned global (Fig. 17).




Fig. 17: Refratechnik’s AF and AR brick grades: A concept turns global

Refratechnik is prepared – via innovative products, new factories, stronger global

presence – to serve its core business, the cement industry, stronger than ever before.
Meeting the requirements of its customers towards cost reduction, sustainability and
increasingly environmentally friendly operation is what Refratechnik aims at: always.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 65


[1] Van Oss, H. (2007):

2005 Minerals yearbook cement U.S. Geological Survey,
Mineral commodity summaries

[2] Taylor, M., Tam, C. and Gielen, D. (2006):

Energy efficiency and CO2 emissions from the global cement industry,
IEA-WBCSD Cement Industry Workshop, Paris, France

[3] Price, L. and Worrell, E. (2006):

Global energy use, CO2 emissions and the potential for reduction in the cement
industry, IEA Cement Energy Efficiency Workshop, Paris, France

[4] European Environment Agency (2007):

Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2005 and inventory
report 2007, Submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat Technical report no. 7/2007

[5] World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2007):

The Cement Sustainability Initiative

[6] Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) (2005):

Guidelines for the selection and use of fuels and raw materials in the cement
manufacturing process

[7] Grydgaard, P. (2006): Cement Plant Pyro-Technology

F.L. Smidth, Copenhagen, Denmark

[8] CEMBUREAU (1999):

Environmental benefits of using alternative fuels in cement production
life cycle approach

[9] Independent Cement Producers Association (ICPA) (2005):

ICPA market survey of various global cement producers

[10] Verein Deutscher Zementwerke e. V. (2006):

Environmental data of the cement industry 2006

[11] Haas, J., Bauer, K. and Müller-Pfeiffer, M. (2007):

Einflüsse auf den Feuerfestverbrauch der deutschen Zementwerke –
Entwicklungen und Tendenzen, Technisch-Wissenschaftliche Zementtagung,
VDZ, Neuss

[12] Japan Cement Association (2000 - 2007):

Cement in Japan 2000 – Cement in Japan 2007

[13] Italcementi Group (2007):

Sustainable development report 2006

[14] Cemex (2007):

2006 Sustainable development report

[15] L afarge (2007):

Sustainability report 2006

[16] HeidelbergCement (2008):

Sustainability report 2007

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 66

Improved efficiency on
refractory bricks at CEMEX Spain
Álvaro Miralles Miralles,
Director of Refractory Materials, CEMEX Spain, Alcanar/Spain

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 67

Firstly, in the name of CEMEX and myself, I would like to thank the management of
Refratechnik Cement GmbH for their invitation and for giving me the opportunity to
present to this symposium some points of interest on the subject of refractory materials.
I am honoured to be participating as a guest speaker in the REFRA-Kolloquium 2008.

Hereinafter I should like to briefly report about refractory materials used in the cement
industry. May I at this point first define what is meant by refractory materials (Fig. 1).

A refractory material is the

one capable to resist solid,
liquid and gaseous attacks
at high temperatures.

Fig. 1: Improved efficiency on refractory bricks at CEMEX Spain

Taking into consideration what refractory materials are, will help to understand the
problems, which currently arise in the cement industry.

Refractory materials, which we install and use in our plants, certainly fulfil the
demands just mentioned. Nevertheless, we need to see that we can demand a little
more from the refractory materials in relation to the requirements they are to fulfil
when in use. We expect longer and more consistent lifetimes, which permit to carry
out longer production cycles in our kilns.

In addition, it should be possible to use the refractory bricks in different zones. We

may consider the example of a kiln, in which the bricks are intended to form a better
and more stable coating in order to achieve longer brick lifetimes and at the same time
reduce the heat and energy losses to the outside.

In other cases we require refractory bricks – in this case alumina or SiC containing
bricks – which, depending on the kiln zone, should prevent ring formations by the
raw meal or the beginning of clinkerisation (Fig. 2). This applies in particular to the
sintering, safety and upper transition zones. These phenomena mean that basic bricks
are sometimes used without coating in the sintering or burning zones.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 68

Kiln diameter 4.600 mm

2m 1.5

Fig. 2: Ring formation in the Dopol kiln at San Vicente, kiln diam. 4.600 mm

As a result of this it is possible – and has in fact happened in some cases – that melts
are formed by eutectic reactions, or so-called “spallings” between 30 and 50 mm of the
upper part of the brick do occur that will weaken the entire refractory lining (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Bricks with spalling at the hot face and overheating

We understand that this phenomenon occurs in these kiln zones due to overheating
of the basic bricks, which are not protected by a stable coating. This is caused due to
the fact that the mentioned coating rings retain the raw meal, and as a consequence
the affected refractory bricks do prematurely wear in certain areas. With this problem
in mind it is absolutely necessary to use more high-quality materials with appropriate
refractory properties, which ensure satisfactory lifetimes.

It is obvious that the changes in process conditions over the course of recent years
and the significant fact that more and more alternative fuels are being used must be
taken into consideration. This leads to the situation where we, the users of refractory
materials, are placing ever greater demands on the manufacturers of refractory
materials in order to control aggressive attacks, such as those caused by alternative

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 69

As long ago as the REFRA-Kolloquium 2000 (Fig. 4), there was discussion about the
future of the new generation of bricks being able to resist much better the increased
demands placed on them due to the use of alternative fuels. We were also told of
possible infiltrations into the refractory lining caused by the use of these fuels.

Fig. 4: REFRA-Kolloquium 2000 in Berlin

In the period from 2000 until today we have been able to see that all what we were told
about alternative fuels at that time is actually happening and becoming fact. From this
knowledge has grown the concern, which has become a reality for us as consumers
of refractory materials to deal with from day to day in our plants, and has led to the
necessity of a partial change to new refractory linings. It is not the case that refractory
materials used to date were not good enough, but they can no longer be used so well
or beneficially under these circumstances.

During the last REFRA-Kolloquium 2004, in addition to many other subjects, basic brick
grades of the most recent generation were presented. These had grown out of the
experiences of recent decades. This then resulted in presenting and talking of basic
bricks with a reinforced structure for use in cement rotary kilns with increased alkali
load. So, in addition to other brick grades, the REFRAMAG® AF type was presented.

Honour where honour is due. I believe that a new generation of bricks has been created,
which is highly suitable for use in cement rotary kilns firing alternative fuels. It has
thereby become possible to extend the lifetimes of the refractory linings and so also the
production cycles without kiln stoppages. In addition, it was thereby possible to reduce
the specific refractory consumption per ton of clinker produced as well, something
which is currently very important.

Please allow me at this point to share with you some of my experience of using one
of these most recent generation types, which was presented during the last REFRA-
Kolloquium 2004. I am in fact speaking about the REFRAMAG® AF brick grade.

We were able to observe that owing to the continuously increasing use of alternative
fuels in our kilns, during the course of time lifetimes were becoming shorter in
comparison with those in a period in which we did not use any alternative fuels. This led
to the necessity of adapting or changing the brick grades in the kiln zones affected.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 70

One year after the REFRAMAG® AF grade was presented in Berlin, we began to install
this brick grade in our kilns at CEMEX Spain, wherein it was used especially in the upper
transition zone to the contact region with the alumina bricks (Fig. 5).

Up to now there are 23 occasions where REFRAMAG® AF

was installed in 13 kilns of the CEMEX Group in Spain.

In the last 3 years this quality was installed in the upper transition zones
and partly in the sintering zones of the following plants:

Alcanar plant: kilns 1, 2 and 3

Buñol plant: Dopol kiln
Castillejo plant: kilns 5 and 6
Llosetta plant: Fives kiln and Krupp kiln
Morata de Jalón plant: kilns 3 and 4
Sant Feliu plant: kilns 5 and 6
San Vicente plant: Dopol kiln

Fig. 5: Improved efficiency with refractory bricks at CEMEX Spain

After one year of operation, the kilns underwent their annual stoppage for maintenance
work. It was then possible to observe that there was no wear on these bricks in any of
the linings installed the previous year using REFRAMAG® AF.

As is known, the bricks from Refratechnik Cement have a groove on the hot side which,
in conjunction with the attached sticker, assists in assembly and thus ensures that no
brick is wrongly installed. Based on the explanations given before, I can assure you that
after a long period of operation of one year, only the attached sticker on the hot side
had disappeared (Fig. 6). This meant that the bricks had retained their original brick
thickness, and this was the case in all kilns, in which the REFRAMAG® AF brick grade
had been used.

New bricks with groove and sticker Without any wear after 10 months,
installed between 37 and 40 metres

Fig. 6: REFRAMAG® AF in kiln 2 at Alcanar plant

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 71

Almost three years have passed since that time, that is since we installed the bricks
in the kiln zones concerned, and the brick heights have been reduced by only 30 mm
on an average. We are therefore confident that we can count on a longer lifetime in
these areas.

On the basis of these positive results, last year we therefore began to extend the zones
lined with the REFRAMAG® AF brick grade (Fig. 7). We lined all kilns with a diameter
less than 4200 mm with this brick grade from kiln point 22 m up to the region of the
upper transition and safety zone, which had been lined until then with alumina bricks.
In kilns with a diameter greater than 4200 mm the lining was done with this brick grade
from kiln point 25 m up to the previously mentioned transition and safety zones.

After 11 months without any wear, After 24 months with 1-2 cm wear,
installed between 47 and 51 metres installed between 41 and 47 metres

Fig. 7: REFRAMAG® AF in kiln 5 at Sant Feliu plant

Furthermore, I would like to point out that lower brick heights could be observed with
all bricks installed at the same time as REFRAMAG® AF in the adjoining areas. These
areas had in part to be relined. However, in order to present a true picture, it should
also be stated that these bricks were installed in the areas of the central burning zone
up to the kiln outlet, in which certain more aggressive conditions prevailed than in the
areas, which were lined with REFRAMAG® AF.

On this basis, I would like to congratulate Refratechnik Cement GmbH for creating this
type of brick through continuous research and development which, as you all know,
is taken as read with all their products. It would be a good thing, if we could have
basic bricks obtaining similar results to those achieved with REFRAMAG® AF (Fig. 8),
including for the area from kiln point 0 to 22 m or 25 m. In this way we would then
have a sophisticated brick concept, which could be used to withstand the aggressive
conditions caused by the use of alternative fuels that are going to be used more and
more in our kilns.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 72

lifetimes before using lifetimes since using





2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Fig. 8: Average lifetime in the upper transition zone at CEMEX Spain

In conclusion, I would like to say that my experience as a user of refractory materials

has shown that it would be useful to continue to pursue the development and
improvement of the refractory lining in the areas of the upper transition zone and safety
zone as well as in the burning zone in order to prevent particularly the formation of raw
meal or clinker containing rings, which form in some kilns especially when firing large
quantities of old tyres. Although it is obvious that the situation can be improved by
using bricks with more or less SiC content (replacing the alumina bricks installed until
then), these bricks have a very high thermal conductivity level due to their composition
as we all know and, apart from the loss of thermal energy, which is required for the
burning process in the kiln, can lead to problems, particularly in the area of the tyres
and the drive.

With this in mind, I would like to request Refratechnik Cement GmbH to continue to
pursue research and development of new products and types (Fig. 9) in order to achieve
a further improvement in the lifetimes of refractory materials in the cement industry.

Fig. 9: Investigation and development

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 73

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 74
Meeting specific
cement kiln challenges by
basic brick development
Dr. Hans-Jürgen Klischat

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 75

1. Introduction

Due to the increasing use of secondary fuels and raw materials in the production
of cement, the requirements on the refractory lining of cement rotary kilns are also
constantly rising. While it was thought in the beginning that a saturation point in
thermal, chemical and mechanical load was reached, it became clear quite soon that
this was still not reached by far. By introducing Refratechnik Cement‘s AF and AR
concept it has become possible to reduce the physical wear caused by infiltration.
Nevertheless, thermochemical corrosion, for example by sulphur compounds, is
increasingly observed [1].

The brick grades of the ALMAG®, FERROMAG® and REFRAMAG® series, which were
previously developed to withstand the occurring loads, could offer higher resistance
to the increased stresses and thus led to improved lifetimes by introducing new and
patented elastifiers and adapting the structural parameters (Fig. 1). However, the
growing primarily chemical and mechanical loads demand intensive development of
new generations of bricks.

structure of a structure of a
magnesia chromite brick magnesia spinel brick

structure of a structure of a
magnesia zirconia brick magnesia hercynite brick

Fig. 1: Resistor and elastifier in basic bricks

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 76

2. Structure of basic bricks

General basic brick design means that bricks consist of the resistor MgO and an
elastifier, typically minerals of the spinel group, e.g. MA spinel, chrome ore, hercynite
or other refractory oxides like zirconia.

Although the classification of magnesia is generally more differentiated [2], iron-rich

magnesia with an Fe2O3 content ≥1% and low-iron magnesia with an Fe2O3 content
of <1% can be distinguished. Although even the iron-rich magnesia can also have
advantages, like increased crystal plasticity in order to reduce thermomechanical
stresses during use (as in PERILEX® 80), the low-iron natural and synthetic magnesia
types are more resistant to increasing thermochemical loads caused by using
secondary fuels and raw materials. Because of their lower content of CaO, SiO2 and
Fe2O3 containing secondary phases, such products made from low-iron magnesia
are more resistant to attack by volatile phases from the kiln atmosphere. By this, the
advantage of increased chemical resistance of the MgO in the cement kiln environment
can be exploited.

A similarly important factor in the behaviour during use of basic bricks for the cement
industry is the so-called elastifier, which makes these products elastic and thus permits
their use in dynamically active vessels, such as rotary kilns. The bricks are exposed not
only to alternating thermal shock stresses, but also to constantly arising tensile and
compressive stresses. In physical terms this stress-minimising effect is described by
the modulus of elasticity E, the shear modulus G or even by the values of the fracture
mechanical variables.

When developing new brick grades it must basically be considered that all previously
achieved advantages of the respective elastifiers (freedom from chrome ore, resistance
to cement clinker attack, resistance to alkalis) are not only to be retained, but are
possibly to be improved, so that the whole „refractory brick“ system becomes more
resistant to the numerous attacks within the cement rotary kiln.

This was considered in the development of the new brick grades TOPMAG® A1 and
FERROMAG® F1, where new ways were adopted to achieve even better behaviour when
installed in cement rotary kilns. This is based on improving the mechanical stability
of the magnesia spinel brick grade TOPMAG® A1 and increasing the thermochemical
resistance of the elastifier in the FERROMAG® F1 brick grade as a patented development
of magnesia pleonaste bricks.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 77

3. Development of magnesia spinel bricks

Although high quality magnesia spinel bricks for the cement industry, which were
developed for use in around 1982, are state of the art today, their development potential
is still far from being exhausted. ALMAG® 85 is the all-rounder for the cement industry,
but modifications in terms of the spinel formation by in-situ reaction, as a fused spinel
or with doped spinel to improve the thermochemical properties, led to wide-ranging
optimisation for special and generally more severe operating conditions in cement

3.1 Development of magnesia spinel bricks

with high resistance to sulphur-containing
components from the kiln gas atmosphere

The evaluation of cases of recent post-mortem analysis reports shows increased attack
by sulphur compounds, i.e. sulphur oxides and alkali sulphates, on refractory bricks. The
reason for this is the increasing use of secondary fuels or fuels with increased sulphur
content like petcoke. While in the past in particular the elastifier (spinel, chrome
ore, hercynite) was affected by corrosion, now, in the event of an attack by sulphur
compounds, even the resistor may take part in this reaction, although according to
general opinion to date the MgO is compatible with the conditions inside the cement
kiln. Thermodynamic calculations of the reaction enthalpy of sulphur reactions (Fig. 2),
both with the resistor and also with the elastifier, now surprisingly show that the MA
spinel is more stable than MgO under these conditions [3], [4].

K2SO4+2MgO+2SO3 K2Mg2(SO4)3

G in kJ/mol




200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800
temperature in K

Fig. 2: Thermodynamical approach to corrosion reactions

of magnesia by sulphur oxide

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 78

The reaction enthalpies ∆G of the three exemplified reactions

MgO + SO3 MgSO4

K2SO4 + 2MgO + 2SO3 K2Mg2(SO4)3
MgAl2O4 + SO3 MgSO4 + Al2O3

clearly show that the sulphur reactions with MgO are more likely to take place thermo­
dynamically than corresponding reactions with MA spinel. The spinel is therefore more

Corresponding X-ray examinations of the structure of corroded bricks show that the
kinetics also reflect this result: CaO-containing langbeinite as a corrosion product can
certainly be detected in used bricks, which have been subjected to increased attack by
sulphur reactions (Fig. 3).



20 30 40
position ['2 Theta]
reflex list
langbeinite K2Mg2(SO4)3

Fig. 3: Sulphur corrosion of magnesia spinel bricks

Moreover, the high sulphur load on the lining also results in a corrosion of the silicate-
containing secondary phases being characterised by the presence of newly formed
anhydrite (CaSO4), langbeinite, monticellite and even forsterite phases.

Of course, MgO is the most stable matrix mineral under the conditions found in a
cement kiln (as well as in the kilns of the steel industry), as it is naturally compatible
with the cement clinker and similar compositions.

Considering these results, the periclase content and the spinel content have been
appropriately adapted for the development of a new brick grade. Naturally this wear
mechanism involving corrosion by sulphates is not the only problem; it must be seen
alongside the other stress mechanisms to which refractory bricks are subjected in the
cement kiln. Brick elasticity is therefore of decisive importance in thermomechanical
behaviour within non-static vessels use. A characteristic variable has in this case been
the thermal shock resistance as a ratio from the cold crushing strength and shear
modulus G [5]. This variable denotes the occurring tensions caused by thermal shocks,
kiln shell ovality and thermal expansion.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 79

On the basis of these specifications imposed by the operating conditions the new
brick grade TOPMAG® A1 has been developed. With TOPMAG® A1 the ratio of resistor
and elastifier has been changed according to the thermodynamic calculations in order
to achieve increased resistance to attack by sulphate or sulphur compounds, while
at the same time increasing brick elasticity (Fig. 4). The effect is also intensified by
using fused spinel, as a result of which corrosion by cement clinker can additionally be
reduced. The use of the AF technology, characterised by a dense structure, has also
proved to be extremely advantageous.

structure of TOPMAG® A1 structure of a

magnesia spinel brick

Fig. 4: Structure of TOPMAG® A1 compared to typical magnesia spinel bricks

Initially attention was drawn to the primary significance of the thermomechanical

properties (Fig. 5), the main variable being the thermal shock resistance. If this
variable is applied for different groups of bricks, it becomes clear that the special brick
composition used for TOPMAG® A1 achieves maximum values. This brick also has a very
low level of sensitivity to stress.

anica l resis
10 omech
se in therm

cement kiln
operating limit

magnesia chromite brick typical magnesia AF-products TOPMAG® A1
spinel brick

RTSR = thermal shock resistance parameter CCS = cold crushing strength G = shear modulus

Fig. 5: Thermal shock resistance of various cement rotary kiln bricks and

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 80

Owing to the rising use of secondary fuels, which amongst others causes the
composition of the kiln gas atmosphere to change and fluctuate, the magnesia‘s Fe2O3
content is clearly below 1%, below the content which is a limit value for so-called redox
stability (Fig. 6). Friability of the structure owing to mineralogical magnesioferrite-
magnesiowustite conversions is avoided.

raw material basis: magnesia-fused spinel

physical properties
bulk density 2�90 - 3�05 g/cm3
apparent porosity 15 - 17 %
cold crushing strength 65 N/mm2
refractoriness under load ta > 1700 °C
te > 1700 °C
pyrometric cone equivalent S�C� > 42
thermal expansion at 400 °C 0�3 lin�-%
at 800 °C 0�9
at 1200 °C 1�4
thermal shock resistance (950 °C/air) 100
thermal conductivity at 1000 °C 2�6 W/m·K
chemical analysis (weight %)
MgO 77 - 81
Al2O3 17 - 20
CaO approx� 1�1
Fe2O3 approx� 0�5
SiO2 approx� 0�5
Fig. 6: Properties of the magnesia spinel brick grade TOPMAG® A1

Even in initial trials TOPMAG® A1 has already shown its superiority over previously used
bricks (Fig. 7). The application of the AF technology with a reduction of porosity and
permeability already produces much better results in infiltration-affected kilns. This
is due to increased resistance to alkali infiltration and a scientifically tuned sulphate-
resistant spinel content.


high resistance to sulphate salt condensates,

typical AF-characteristics

improved structural elasticity

insensitive to redox conditions

fields of application:

tyre area in upper transition zones

tyre area in lower transition zones of kilns

subjected to normal thermochemical clinker load

Fig. 7: Characteristics of the magnesia spinel brick grade TOPMAG® A1

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 81

3.2 Development of basic bricks
with high resistance to cement clinker

Despite the development of highly resistant basic bricks, just as shown for TOPMAG® A1,
one of the best protective mechanisms for the refractory lining of cement rotary kilns
in the sintering zone is its coating, which reduces the corrosive influences of alkalis,
the kiln atmosphere and thermal shocks. Magnesia hercynite bricks have proved their
worth over the last 15 years in the development of refractory bricks to improve the
coating formation [6], [7]. As shown by practice and from laboratory measurements,
the disadvantage in the use of hercynite is its comparatively low resistance to cement
clinker under higher thermal load. While on the one hand some formation of dicalcium
ferrite and tetracalcium aluminate ferrite is desirable in order to form the coating,
on the other hand observations in the field have shown that in the event of definite
overheating, as is increasingly encountered in the use of alternative fuels, the stable
coating is dissolved and increased corrosion of the hercynite-containing bricks occurs.
In this case there is a considerable formation of liquid phases from cement clinker
and brick components so that the brick wears prematurely. Bricks naturally need to
be developed, which not only have a good thermal shock resistance and stability with
respect to coating formation in use, but which also have a clear advantage over the
state of the art in terms of corrosion resistance.

This solution could be found in a brick where no hercynite is added any more, since
this can be attacked too strongly by cement clinker, but the more corrosion-resistant
mineral pleonaste ((Mg,Fe)(Al,Fe)2O4) is used (Fig. 8).


80 20
increase in refractoriness
and corrosion resistance

pleonastic region

60 40

40 60
1/3 MgFe2O4 1/3 MgAl2O4
20 80
FeO1�5 AIO1�5
80 F 60 40 20 G

Fig. 8: Ternary system MgO-“FeO”-Al2O3 with pleonastic region

Owing to the MgO fraction in the elastifier a significant improvement in the corrosion
resistance is achieved for a brick containing MgO already as main component. The
elastifying effect of the pleonaste itself in MgO-based bricks is comparable with that
of spinel and hercynite.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 82

The increased thermochemical resistance can be proved by means of a heating stage
microscope (Fig. 9).

hercynite pleonaste

Ordinary Portland
1408 °C 1410 °C Cement (OPC)

Sulphate Resistant
1386 °C 1400 °C Cement (SRC)

Fig. 9: Corrosion behaviour of hercynite and pleonaste to several cement clinkers

For this purpose substrates were produced from hercynite and pleonaste. A sample
cylinder made from ordinary Portland cement clinker (OPC) and from clinker of a
sulphate-resistant cement (SRC) was placed onto these substrates and introduced into
the heating stage microscope. The samples were heated until corrosion of the substrate
by the cement clinker occurred.

The tests show that up to a temperature of 1400 °C hercynite is corroded almost completely
by both cement clinkers, with a melting phase being formed. Contrarily, pleonaste
remains stable well above 1400 °C under the same conditions. The corresponding
corrosion temperatures for pleonaste are about 50 to 80 °C higher. This drastically
improved corrosion resistance is attributable to the presence of MgO in the pleonaste
so that its diffusion potential and therefore the corrosion potential is lower than in case
of MgO-free hercynite (FeAl2O4), (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10: Brick structure showing pleonaste with stabilizing MgO precipitations

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 83

In the structure of a magnesia pleonaste brick the corrosion resistant MgO components
are clearly to be found in the elastifier. MgO dissolved additionally in the crystal
structure leads to the observed considerable improvement in corrosion resistance.

The coating behaviour of the magnesia pleonaste bricks corresponds to that of

magnesia hercynite bricks or even magnesia chromite bricks, naturally without the
use of chromite. The presence of highly viscous calcium ferritic and calcium aluminate
compounds from reactions between the kiln feed and the brick components favours
the formation of a cement clinker coating on the refractory lining. This very positive
behaviour has been observed all over the world in many cement kiln linings, where
otherwise it was difficult for a stable coating to form on conventional magnesia spinel
bricks in the sintering zone.

The thermomechanical behaviour is naturally decisive not only for the TOPMAG® A1
brick grade, but also for FERROMAG® F1 (Fig. 11).

echa nical re
e in t

cement kiln
operating limit

magnesia typical magnesia AF-products FERROMAG® F1 TOPMAG® A1
chromite brick spinel brick

RTSR = thermal shock resistance parameter CCS = cold crushing strength G = shear modulus

Fig. 11: Thermal shock resistance of various cement rotary kiln bricks and

Consideration of the thermal shock resistance, already defined as a measure of the

thermomechanical stability, also shows the advantage of the AF concept on which
FERROMAG® F1 is based, too: with the thermal shock resistance factor being 9·10 -3 this
type of brick is in the upper range of the desired values so that the excellent results in
the installations can also be explained from a thermomechanical point of view.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 84

Two case studies show the behaviour of FERROMAG® F1 in more detail.

magnesia hercynite brick magnesia pleonaste brick

corrosion of elastifier high corrosion resistance
brick life: 1 month brick life: 12 months

Fig. 12: Corrosion of magnesia hercynite and magnesia pleonaste bricks

A magnesia hercynite brick was installed in a cement kiln and had to be replaced
after just one month lifetime owing to overheating accompanied by corrosion of the
elastifier. The corrosion of the hercynite can clearly be seen in the structure, the liquid
corrosion products penetrating into the surrounding structure by capillary action,
a pore being left in place of the elastifier. After one year of operation in a similarly
overheated kiln the magnesia pleonaste brick FERROMAG® F1 (Fig. 12) clearly exhibits
higher residual brick thickness, the elastifier has suffered less attack in spite of the
infiltration of clinker phases. Even though cracks have formed in the hot zone, no
spalling has occurred. The brick clearly shows a better performance under comparable

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 85

raw material basis: magnesia-fused pleonaste
physical properties
bulk density 2�95 - 3�10 g/cm3
apparent porosity 14 - 16 %
cold crushing strength 60 N/mm2
refractoriness under load ta 1700 °C
te > 1700 °C
pyrometric cone equivalent S�C� > 42
thermal expansion at 400 °C 0�4 lin�-%
at 800 °C 0�9
at 1200 °C 1�5
thermal shock resistance (950 °C/air) 100
thermal conductivity at 1000 °C 2�7 W/m·K
chemical analysis (weight %)
MgO 84 - 88
Al2O3 5-7
Fe2O3 3-5
CaO approx� 1�5
SiO2 approx� 0�5

Fig. 13: Properties of the magnesia pleonaste brick FERROMAG® F1

Thanks to the application of the AF technology FERROMAG® F1 (Figs. 13, 14) also
exhibits reduced porosity with increased resistance to alkali infiltrations.


high resistance to alkali salt condensates,

typical AF-characteristics

good coatability

insensitive to redox conditions

fields of application:

upper transition & main burning zones

lower transition zones of kilns

subjected to normal thermochemical loads

Fig. 14: Characteristics of the magnesia pleonaste brick FERROMAG® F1

The content of bivalent iron stably bound in the pleonaste also does not cause any
reduction in redox stability.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 86

4. Lining concepts

The new brick grades TOPMAG® A1 and FERROMAG® F1 (Fig. 15) have already become
established in cement rotary kilns world-wide and achieved remarkably good results,
which have led to a clear improvement in the cost/performance ratio of the refractory

lower transition zone sintering zone upper transition zone

regular conditions FERROMAG® F1 REFRAMAG® AF

mechanical load FERROMAG® F1 TOPMAG® A1


overheating REFRAMAG® AF ALMAG® AF


alkali load FERROMAG® F1 TOPMAG® A1


Fig. 15: Examples of Refratechnik Cement lining designs for various requirements

TOPMAG® A1 can be used in kiln zones with increased mechanical load, for example in
the tyre areas and in zones with increased sulphur oxide and alkali oxide loads. Owing
to its composition with raw materials, which are low in iron oxide, TOPMAG® A1 has a
high resistance to redox load.

FERROMAG® F1 was developed using a Refratechnik patent [8], such that the positive
coating behaviour of magnesia hercynite bricks is retained and at the same time
significantly improved corrosion resistance is achieved. The structural flexibility also
corresponds to that of established magnesia spinel bricks. They can therefore be
used not only in the sintering zones, but also in the upper transition zones of cement
kilns in case of increased thermal load. Thanks to its low porosity, FERROMAG® F1 is
characterised by an increased resistance to alkali attack, too.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 87

5. Conclusion

Although magnesia spinel and magnesia hercynite bricks currently form part of the
standard products for lining cement and lime kilns, their application-oriented properties
can be refined so that they also behave excellently even under increasingly severe
conditions. The new grades TOPMAG® A1 and FERROMAG® F1 constitute two new high
quality products for use in sulphur oxide-containing kiln atmospheres and for forcing
the formation of coating, and of course they can also easily be disposed of after use.

These newly developed brick grades with their specific properties along with the
previously used brick range allows the installation of a refractory lining that can be
adapted to different processes and conditions during use. Particular consideration
has been given to the mechanical and thermomechanical conditions. The bricks show
extremely good results in terms of their elastic properties and strength, as proven by
laboratory values and substantive installation results.

6. References

[1] B
 artha, P.; Södje, J.:
Degradation of refractories in cement rotary kilns fired with waste fuels
CN Refractories 5 (2001), pp. 62-71

[2] B
 arthel, H.; Buchebner, G.; Klischat, H.-J.:
Taschenbuch feuerfeste Werkstoffe (Pocket Manual Refractory Materials)
Chapter 4.2.1 Magnesiasteine (magnesia bricks)
4th edition, Vulkan-Verlag, Essen 2007, pp. 171-185

[3] Du, H.:

Thermodynamic assessment of the K 2SO4 -Na2SO4 -MgSO4 -CaSO4 system
Journal of Phase Equilibria, vol. 21 (2000) no. 1, pp. 6-18

[4] Homola, F.:

personal information, November 2007

[5] Weibel, G.:

Importance of physical properties for the development of basic refractory bricks
REFRA-Kolloquium’86, Hohenroda 1986, Refratechnik GmbH, Göttingen

[6] K lischat, H.-J.; Weibel, G.:

Variation of physical and chemical parameters as a tool for the development
of basic bricks
Proceedings UNITECR’99, 6th Biennial Worldwide Congress, Berlin 1999,
pp. 204-207

[7] K lischat, H.-J.; Wirsing, H.:

Development of chrome ore-free structural flexibility systems for basic bricks
REFRA-Kolloquium 2000, Berlin 2000, Refratechnik GmbH, Göttingen

[8] D
 E-PS 101 17 029:
Material für feuerfeste Formkörper oder Massen, feuerfestes Produkt hieraus,
sowie Verfahren zur Herstellung eines feuerfesten Produkts, 13.04.2006

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 88

FORMAG® 88 – A basic brick system
with novel features
Dipl.-Eng. Holger Wirsing

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 89

1. Present state of elastified magnesia bricks
for cement rotary kilns

In addition to zirconia and chrome ore, aluminatic spinels in today's state of technology
are the minerals most frequently used for elastifying cement rotary kiln bricks.
Even when ALMAG® 85 was introduced on the market in 1982, magnesia spinel
bricks containing well-balanced characteristics, which are very reliable in use, were
available. As a result, the magnesia spinel bricks helped to increase the cement
kiln capacities. Concentrating on the changes in technology in the cement industry,
intensive development work was undertaken in the group of magnesia spinel bricks so
that ultimately a broad spectrum of operating conditions could be covered by a variety
of products. The increasing use of alternative fuels and raw materials increased the
chemical loads in the kilns. The risk of spalling caused by salt infiltration increased in
the area of the magnesia spinel bricks. The development of the AF-products enabled
Refratechnik Cement GmbH to make magnesia spinel bricks suitable for this extreme
type of load (Fig. 1).

magnesia zirconia MAGNUM® E

magnesia chromite
magnesia spinel AF-products
chrome ore aluminate spinel types
(Mg, Fe)O·(Fe, Al, Cr)2O3 (Mg, Fe)O·Al2O3

increase of cement increased use of

kiln capacities alternative fuels

higher thermal higher resistance to

resistance salt infiltration

developments developments current developments

of the 60s/70s of the 80s/90s
Fig. 1: History of elastified magnesia bricks

TOPMAG® A1 and FERROMAG® F1 were also developed based on the AF-technology

and enhance the performance characteristics of the group of spinel elastified
magnesia bricks still further. For magnesia chromite brick linings, the changes in
operating conditions in the cement kilns caused even more wear mechanisms from the
combination of high thermal load and increased alkali content. In addition to the purely
physical brittleness created as a result of salt infiltration, it is possible for the salts
to cause corrosion of the chrome ore and chrome ore disintegration. The experiences
gained over the decades in the development of magnesia chromite bricks and the
intensive monitoring of the performance of all types of refractory products in the
cement industry in dedicated tests of the Refratechnik Cement GmbH laboratory have
shown that these thermochemical loads represent limits, which cannot be overcome by
the "magnesia chromite brick" system.

To use refractory materials effectively, it is necessary that the combination of

characteristics in the materials matches the combination of loads the product is
subjected to. The extensive use of alternative fuels and raw materials led to increased
loads in relation to the physical, chemical and thermal wear components (Fig. 2). As the

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 90

pore volume becomes increasingly saturated, the infiltration of salts causes brittleness
in the products. The chrome ore disintegration, which occurs during interaction of
magnesia chromite bricks with alkalis, makes it more difficult to adapt these products to
the complex corrosion conditions. Clinker melt infiltrations can be triggered as a further
stress resulting from fluctuations in the kiln feed composition or thermal overload. The
probability of such infiltrations occurring increases with the use of alternative fuels and
raw materials. Chemical reactions caused by this in the melt-infiltrated structure result
in an additional attack on the elastifier.

Problems related to magnesia chromite bricks due to increased use

of alternative fuels and raw materials

The physical problem – salt infiltration

The first chemical problem – chrome ore desintegration
by alkali attack

The second chemical problem – changes in kiln feed chemistry

clinker melt attack
The thermal problem – changes in burning conditions

Fig. 2: How to go ahead? Problems to solve for future developments

The wear caused by clinker melt infiltration occurs in two steps (Fig. 3). If the melting
phase portion in the kiln feed of the cement kiln increases, as a result of the clinker
composition or increased thermal load, the melts can infiltrate the hot side of the
refractory bricks. When in contact with the mineral phases of the brick, chemical
reactions take place and mainly the elastifier is subjected to attack. As a result thereof,
the original melt becomes enriched with the oxides of the elastifier, and a secondary
melt is formed showing modified characteristics:

• the melting temperature is reduced,

• the viscosity is reduced,
• the solubility of the magnesia in the melts can increase.

These changes cause a risk that infiltration is accelerated and that melts penetrate
deeper into the brick. Spalling may occur as a result of the loss of elastifier, also losses
of mechanical strength and brittleness in the crystallization region of the melts, which
is dependent upon the temperature gradient.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 91

In case of chemical deviation of kiln feed or thermal overload:

first step second step

coating coating
infiltration by reaction of
clinker melt clinker melt +
chrome ore
lowers fusing temperature
infiltration by and viscosity
secondary melt

unaffected unaffected
brick structure brick structure

Fig. 3: Clinker melt infiltration

Taking a closer look at the secondary melts allows to understand the acceleration of
infiltration (Fig. 4). Although the reaction between attacking clinker melt and chrome
ore is retarded by low wettability, dicalcium ferrite, which has a low melting point of
1449 ºC, can be formed. Also, the clinker melt becomes enriched with alumina and
the portions of mineral phases, such as melilite and mayenite increase. The melting
temperature of the melilite is 1390 ºC and of mayenite 1455 ºC, and the viscosity of
melilite and mayenite containing melts is low.

clinker melt + chrome ore increase in content of

(Mg; Fe; Mn)O·(Fe, Al, Cr)2O3
dicalcium ferrite (2CaO·Fe2O3) Tf=1449 °C

melilite (4CaO·Al2O3·MgO·3SiO2) Tf=1390 °C

mayenite (12CaO·7Al2O3) Tf=1455 °C

clinker melt + forsterite 2MgO·SiO2 decrease in melilite, mayenite, ferrite content

increase in content of

merwinite (3CaO·MgO·2SiO2) Tf=1575 °C

monticellite (CaO·MgO·SiO2) Tf=1498 °C

belite (2CaO·SiO2) Tf=2130 °C

Fig. 4: Formation of secondary melts

This provoked thinking, which led to tests being carried out on forsterite. The aim had
to be to find an elastifier, which was as resistant to clinker melt as the magnesia itself,
or else a material, which produces reaction products being unproblematical in terms of
corrosion. In order to facilitate the formation of silicates with higher melting points and
melts showing a higher viscosity, the effect of the iron oxide and alumina enrichment
had to be prevented or even reversed. Forsterite makes this possible. If the forsterite
corrodes, the portion of aluminatic and ferritic phases is reduced (Fig. 5).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 92


The composition of secondary melts is changed to compounds

with higher melting points and higher viscosity:

extension of infiltration is reduced,

thermochemical resistance of the product is increased�

Fig. 5: Consequences of the formation of secondary melts

This aids the formation of silica-rich minerals like monticellite, merwinite and belite.
The viscosity and the melting temperature of the secondary melt are increased.

2. Development of forsterite
elastified magnesia bricks

The recognition of the above mentioned limits for the use of magnesia chromite
products inevitably leads to the question: what are the consequences of this? In this
case, the omission of magnesia chromite bricks with their typical characteristics
signifies the loss of an important tool for lining sintering zones of cement rotary kilns.
As a result, it was necessary to come up with and test development systems, which
made it possible – even in plants subjected to a complex combination of loads – to
provide linings for the sintering zones, which easily tend to form coating and are able
to withstand thermochemical load. Basic tests using forsterite, a highly refractory
magnesium silicate, which has a melting temperature of 1890 ºC, produced positive
results. Like magnesia, forsterite is chemically resistant. Its thermal expansion is
less than that of magnesia and therefore it satisfies important criteria applicable to
magnesia brick elastifiers. The introduction of FORMAG® 88 onto the market extends
the "family" of minerals used by Refratechnik Cement GmbH for elastifying basic bricks
(Fig. 6). In the following the excellent characteristics of this new product group of
magnesia forsterite bricks are shown.



spinel 2MgO·SiO2
Tf =1890 °C


hercynite chrome ore

Fig. 6: Elastifying minerals used by Refratechnik Cement GmbH

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 93

The change in corrosion mechanisms by using forsterite as elastifier becomes clear, if
the phase situation is simplified to the four-phase system Al2O3-CaO-MgO-SiO2 in the
event of a clinker melt attack on magnesia chromite or magnesia forsterite bricks (Fig. 7).
The triangle on the left hand side shows a cross section of the system with 25% Al2O3
content. The alumina content is equal to the literature references according to a typical
clinker melt. In addition to melilite, indicated here in orange, periclase, spinel and belite
are stable phases. Monticellite and merwinite are not stable phases in this situation. If
forsterite is attacked by clinker melts, the silica content increases considerably in the
region, where the forsterite grain comes into contact with the clinker melt.

Influence on the local phase equilibria:

effect of reduced alumina content

25% Al2O3 10% Al2O3

melilite forsterite


Fig. 7: Cross sections of the quaternary system of Al2O3-CaO-MgO-SiO2

The effect of the thus reduced alumina content is shown by the transition to the
quaternary system with 10% alumina content as shown on the right-hand side. In
addition to periclase and now forsterite, monticellite and merwinite are stable phases
in this situation, as shown by the green areas in the diagram on the right-hand side.
The theoretical considerations relating to clinker melt corrosion lead Refratechnik
Cement GmbH to conclude that positive potentials can be achieved by using forsterite
for elastifying purposes.

Initial practical tests to confirm the advantages of forsterite, which have been derived
from theory, were conducted as corrosion tests in the hot stage microscope (Fig. 8).
As already demonstrated, a tablet of clinker material was heated up on a disc of the
elastifier material. The projection of the geometric changes provides information on the
beginning of the reaction and the course of the reaction. The upper series of images
shows the reaction of chrome ore with sulphate resistant cement, the lower series of
images shows the reaction of forsterite with sulphate resistant cement at comparable
temperatures. In case of the chrome ore, the beginning of the reaction can be observed
at approximately 1380 ºC. The rounding-off of the contact angles, which occurs as
the reaction progresses, indicates the production of melt phases. At 160 ºC above the
temperature of the beginning of the reaction, the tablet is for the most part melted
on. The lower series of images reveals that forsterite does not begin to react with the
clinker material until it reaches approximately 1420 ºC. Another important difference
demonstrated is that other reactions take place. The projection shown here up to a
temperature of 1540 ºC does not indicate any extensive formation of melts, there is no
evidence of any rounding-off of the contact angles. The portion of secondary melts is
considerably reduced.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 94

Sulphate Resistant Cement (SRC)

SRC on chrome ore:

– extensive liquid
phase formation
18 15 12 10 5
1380 °C 1420 °C 1500 °C 1540 °C

increased SRC on forsterite:

transformation – low liquid
temperature phase formation
1420 °C 1500 °C 1540 °C

Fig. 8: Corrosion behaviour of chrome ore and forsterite

Owing to the advantageous thermochemical characteristics of forsterite, which have

been demonstrated in theory and in practice, it was used for elastifying a chrome ore
free and alumina free basic rotary kiln brick. According to the intended application,
the technologically high grade characteristics of typical rotary kiln bricks, such as high
elasticity, high structural flexibility and high refractoriness, are retained (Fig. 9).

forsterite magnesia
as elastifying component as main component

development aiming at: creating a chrome ore and alumina free brick system
with medium purity as an insensible product
for sintering zones and upper transition zones

Fig. 9: Starting point of FORMAG® 88 development

The mechanical and thermomechanical properties of FORMAG® 88 and its thermal

shock resistance as compared to the technical specifications for basic bricks for rotary
kiln linings show that the balanced combination of bulk density, apparent porosity,
elasticity, mechanical strength and thermal shock resistance of this product satisfies
requirements very well (Fig. 10).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 95

properties requirements on FORMAG® 88
basic bricks for
rotary kilns

bulk density 2�80 - 3�05 g/cm3 2�80 - 2�95 g/cm3

apparent porosity 14 - 21% 16 - 18%

thermal shock resistance > 80 cycles >100 cycles

modulus of elasticity 18 - 27 GPa 23 - 25 GPa

cold crushing strength > 45 MPa 50 - 65 MPa

cold modulus of rupture 4 - 6 MPa 5 - 7 MPa

Fig. 10: FORMAG® 88 – Properties

As already demonstrated, new brick types having lower sensitivity to clinker melts
for use in cement kilns must also have a good alkali resistance to cope with the
atmospheric conditions in cement plants today. In this case, the image of a magnesia
chromite brick spalling in a kiln with high alkali load is shown as representative of
the problem of chrome ore disintegration (Fig. 11). The yellow crystal layers show
the decomposition product, which is formed from corrosion of the chrome ore by the
alkalis. The results of K 2CO3 crucible tests at an elevated test temperature prove that
FORMAG® 88 has a considerably higher resistance to alkalis. As in the case of all basic
bricks, the structure of FORMAG® 88 is infiltrated, but there is no evidence of extensive
cracking. With normal values for apparent porosity, the crucible test achieves a level of
alkali resistance, which is almost equal to that of the highly successful AF-products.

Alkali resistance

magnesia chromite FORMAG® 88 AF-products

spalling sample, crucible test at increased crucible test at increased
chrome ore desintegration testing temperature testing temperature

Fig. 11: FORMAG® 88 – Alkali resistance

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 96

The FORMAG® 88-data sheet (Fig. 12) does not only demonstrate the aforementioned
good thermochemical characteristics, but also a high refractoriness. The information
about the chemical composition reflects the novel concept typified by the increased
silica content. In line with the development aim, the alumina contents are very low and
result from the accompanying oxide contents of the raw materials used. An iron oxide
content of about 2% assists coating formation.

raw material basis: magnesia-magnesium silicate

physical properties
bulk density 2�80 - 2�95 g/cm3
apparent porosity 16 - 18 %
cold crushing strength 50 N/mm2
refractoriness under load ta > 1700 °C
te > 1700 °C
pyrometric cone equivalent S�C� > 42
thermal expansion at 400 °C 0�4 lin�-%
at 800 °C 1�0
at 1200 °C 1�5

thermal shock resistance (950 °C/air) 100

thermal conductivity at 1000 °C 2�6 W/m·K

chemical analysis (weight %)

MgO 86 - 90
SiO2 approx� 7 - 10
Al2O3 approx� 0.5
Fe2O3 approx� 2�0
CaO approx� 1�5

Fig. 12: FORMAG® 88 data sheet

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 97

3. Conclusion and comparison

The conclusion to be drawn from the results of the tests shown previously is that
thermochemical insensitivity, good coating behaviour and high alkali resistance
combine to give FORMAG® 88 the characteristics, which in the light of today's
operational demands ensure reliable performance in the sintering zones and upper
transition zones of cement rotary kilns (Fig. 13).

thermochemically resistant magnesia forsterite brick FORMAG® 88


thermochemically insensible

good coatability

high resistance to alkali salt condensates

fields of application:

upper transition zones

main burning zones

Fig. 13: FORMAG® 88: advantages and fields of application

If the combination of characteristics of FORMAG® 88 are placed in a qualitative

schematic comparison with magnesia chromite bricks, then it will be evident that the
novel combination of magnesia and forsterite as an elastifier can cover a larger range
of possible operating states (Fig. 14). The changes described do not cause an extreme
optimisation of only one characteristic and associated losses in other characteristics.
The simultaneous improvement in thermochemical resistance and alkali resistance,
whilst retaining effective mechanical characteristics, demonstrates the novel nature of
this brick concept and enhances reliability in the use of refractory linings under variable
operating conditions.

thermal load
operating temperature
thermal cycling, temperature gradients

chemical load mechanical load

kiln feed customary weight of the lining
atmosphere magnesia chromitee abrasion
reaction products bricks fluctuating loads
RMAG® 88

exception alkalis
fuels, raw materials schematic comparison

Fig. 14: FORMAG® 88 versus customary magnesia chromite bricks

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 98

Forsterite is not a new mineral in the group of materials for producing refractory
products. In addition to the use of forsterite products in the steel industry, tests have
also been conducted over the last 20-30 years in the cement industry that aimed at
using forsterite as a replacement for magnesia as a basic resistor material. Frequently
the outcome was that forsterite is a considerably weaker resistor than magnesia. The
tests conducted by Refratechnik Cement GmbH with the aim of developing an alumina
free and chrome ore free brick concept with a novel combination of characteristics,
for the first time led to the use of forsterite as a resistant elastifier of magnesia bricks
(Fig. 15.) FORMAG® 88 represents the first time Refratechnik Cement GmbH has
provided a forsterite elastified magnesia brick. With good mechanical characteristics,
this brick demonstrates good resistance to clinker melt and alkali attack. Along with
the tried and tested magnesia spinel bricks, the use of FORMAG® 88 ensures that
the lining systems for cement rotary kilns can be adapted even more to suit changing
operating conditions.


chrome ore and alumina free

good mechanical properties

increased thermochemical resistance

high alkali resistance

Fig. 15: Characteristics of Refratechnik´s magnesia forsterite product

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 99

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 100
Using process parameters to
assess refractory performance
Hugo Ordóñez

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 101

Independently of the process technology used, the process engineer has to keep the
process “under control”, i.e. within prescribed values. Stability is desired. Any deviation
from “normal conditions” is unwanted. In order to attain and maintain stable operating
conditions, all relevant parameters should be kept under control, which is done by
means of control loops. The fundamental control loop is shown in figure 1:

set desired value

measure value

take control action

Is the difference
YES between measured NO
and desired value

Fig. 1: Basic control loop

Targets are set in terms of desired values for the process parameters, which include
but are not limited to physical, chemical or mineralogical properties and magnitudes,
such as temperature, pressure, mass flow, velocity, fineness, particle size distribution,
chemical composition etc. Actual values are measured periodically and compared to
desired values. If the difference is not acceptable, corresponding control actions are
taken to get the parameter to the desired value. Otherwise no control action is required.
Desired values and acceptable fluctuation ranges for the parameters are defined by
the process administrator. The fact that not all of the parameters are independent
of each other complicates the task at hand. Any parameter having the potential to
influence kiln operating conditions might be used in connection with process control
and problem investigations. The reader is referred to the various publications, which
cover this subject in detail.

Not so long ago, cement plant engineers had to work with relatively scarce information
about important process parameters. Complete chemical analyses were performed
by time consuming “wet chemistry” procedures, two or three times a day. Analog
measuring devices displayed information on gauges or registered measured values on
paper charts. Plant personnel filled huge paper sheets with process information, which
was kept in paper archives and thus was quite difficult to analyse. Figure 2 shows some
typical analog instruments, which are still used in some factories today.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 102

Strip Circular OEM
Fig. 2: Old analog chart recorders

All that has changed dramatically. Today modern process control systems monitor
continuously hundreds of parameters and store them in large digital archives, the
size of them being measured in terabytes. While problems were faced due to lack of
relevant information in the past, today we do risk being unable to keep track of all the
vast amounts of data captured and stored every single hour in the control rooms of the
modern cement plant.

In order to manage these huge amounts of data, we are compelled to use statistical
methods, a task being facilitated by the overall availability of personal computers
and the computing power offered by standard software. However, the statistical or
mathematical complexity of some of the available tools [1] either exceed the normal
competencies of cement plant personnel or require some specialized software
(multivariate control procedures, for example), [2]. As a result, these tools are still only
seldom used in cement plants.

This paper does not deal with the use of these relatively sophisticated statistical
methods. Instead, it focuses on the use of the very basic statistical tools and graphical
representation, which are widely used in the cement plants, helping to visualize some of
the complex interactions between the parameters being relevant to refractory material
performance. It aims at making the huge amounts of data gathered by modern process
control systems much easier to understand. That may help to improve the refractory
material performance in the cement plants. In doing so, it is not intended to discuss
the underlying statistical or process-technical considerations applicable. Instead, some
practical examples are given showing how the data available is turned into some useful
information, which help to identify and to propose solutions to some practical problems
being faced in current cement plant practice. Unless raw data is somehow turned into
information helping to take sensible decisions, it is useless.

The reader is referred to a comprehensive handbook that is available on the web for free:
Engineering Statistics Handbook, link: www.itl.nist.gov/div898/handbook/dtoc.htm.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 103

Changing coating conditions
and lining requirements

Coating conditions are related to a number of parameters, but are particularly strongly
dependent on the amount and the viscosity of the clinker melt. Figure 3 shows
the percentage of clinker melt and of the alumina ratio (AR) vs. time, each colour
corresponds to a different type of clinker being produced in the kiln over a one year
period. The AR gives an idea of the viscosity of the clinker melt.

clinker liquid phase
at 1450 °C
12�02�2006 13�04�2006 12�06�2006 11�08�2006 10�10�2006 09�12�2006
clinker AR
12�02�2006 13�04�2006 12�06�2006 11�08�2006 10�10�2006 09�12�2006

Fig. 3: Changing coating conditions and lining requirements

Coating is the best protection for the refractory lining in the burning zone [3], [5].
However, conditions causing instable coating may lead to accelerated refractory wear
due to coating falling down and building up of cycles. If this coating drops down, it
tears off the layer of the brick it is attached to. So, if these cycles repeat during a
longer period of time, (instable) coating may be the source of accelerated wear of the
refractory lining.

The coating conditions can be represented in a two dimensional graph with liquid phase
(LP) on the horizontal axis and the alumina ratio (AR) on the vertical axis (Fig. 4).

2�9 thin coating thick coating
2�8 dusty clinker nodular clinker
2�7 low melt quantity
high melt quantity
2�5 high melt viscosity high melt viscosity
1�9 good
1�8 coating
1�4 thin coating thin coating
1�3 dusty clinker high melt quantity
1�1 low melt quantity low melt viscosity
1 low melt viscosity high infiltration of
0�9 high infiltration of refractories refractories
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

% melt 1450 °C

Fig. 4: Coating conditions

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 104

Coating conditions may lie within 4 different regions shown as rectangles in figure 4.
Optimal coating conditions are shown by the green square at the centre. On this graph,
the behaviour of the clinker over the selected time period is drawn, in this case the
one year period shown in the previous figure. This yields the area enclosed by the blue

Now one can literally see the actual operating conditions in comparison to the optimal

Insufficient raw meal preparation

Figure 5 shows the time behaviour of the lime saturation factor (LSF) and the silica
ratio (SR) over a period of 14 weeks. Each point corresponds to the clinker analysis of
samples taken every two hours at the kiln outlet. The highlighted area (red shadow)
corresponds to the theoretically allowable limits for the LSF.

kiln feed; SR; LSF

3�2 140
3 135
2�8 125
2�6 120


2�4 110
2�2 105
2 95
1�8 90
13�01�2006 28�01�2006 12�02�2006 27�02�2006 14�03�2006 29�03�2006 13�04�2006
SR (silica ratio) LSF (lime saturation factor)
Fig. 5: Insufficient raw meal preparation

The clinker burnability chart offers the possibility of closer watching the behaviour of
the raw meal over time (Fig. 6).



more difficult to burn
lime saturation factor

0�93 normal burnability


easier to burn

1�75 1�95 2�15 2�35 2�55 2�75 2�95 3�15 3�35
silica ratio

Fig. 6: Clinker burnability chart

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 105

In the clinker burnabiltiy chart the silica ratio (SR) is plotted on the horizontal axis. The
lime saturation factor (LSF) is plotted on the vertical axis. The blue grid at the centre
encloses the area of “normal burnability” [4]. Above and below there are regions that
may be described as being of more difficult or easier burnability. If one now plots the
corresponding values for the LSF and SR from figure 5, the following can be observed
(Fig. 7):




lime saturation factor

hard to burn

0�9 to burn

1�7 1�8 1�9 2 2�1 2�2 2�3 2�4 2�5 2�6 2�7 2�8 2�9 3 3�1 3�2 3�3 3�4 3�5 3�6 3�7 3�8
silica ratio
Fig. 7: Burnability graph

The yellow rectangular area at the centre is the region of normal burnability.

One can see that the burnability of the raw mix moves over a wide range mostly within
the hard to burn region, shown as a light brown ellipse in the burnability plot (Fig. 7).
This causes huge difficulties to the kiln operation team: huge changes in the burnability
of the raw mix require continuous, big adjustments of the operating parameters,
especially with regard to raw meal, air and fuel flows, making it impossible to attain
steady kiln operating conditions. As a result, not only the quality of the clinker shows
some extreme fluctuations. Parameters, which strongly influence the refractory
material performance, are also subjected to huge changes: temperature and thermal
load in the burning zone, thermal shock loads to the bricks as well as liquid phase
quantity and viscosity. All these parameters do also change continuously under the
given circumstances. Under these conditions it is not a surprise that refractory bricks
in the burning zone wear down prematurely.

The ultimate reason for these big fluctuations in chemical composition is an insufficient
preparation of the raw mix. Quarrying, mixing, grinding and blending procedures have
to be improved in order to control the situation. Choosing a better brick quality, with
improved properties, such as refractoriness, thermal shock resistance and the like,
must be seen as a palliative temporary measure, which can help to improve the lifetime
marginally for a while. A long term solution answering the problem of accelerated brick
wear however is achieved by controlling the relevant chemical parameters of the raw
meal [11].

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 106

Combustion conditions

Good quality clinker requires production under oxidizing conditions [7], [10]. An

incomplete combustion leads to fuel waste, low quality clinker and may also result
in increased wear of refractory materials [8], [11]. Figure 8 shows the plot of carbon
monoxide vs. time, on gas samples taken at the riser duct of a kiln.

% CO in flue gases*
01�07�2006 08�07�2006 15�07�2006 22�07�2006 29�07�2006
* sampled in riser duct

Fig. 8: Combustion conditions

The reasons for an incomplete combustion can be manifold and related to important
operating parameters of the system. However, by monitoring the carbon monoxide
(CO) it is not only possible to detect any incomplete combustion, but it may also
assist in identifying possible reasons when plotted in a time chart with other related

In the aforementioned case, the investigation of the reasons for the observed
CO fluctuations pointed to an injection of filter dust through the kiln discharge end. The
injection was made via pneumatic transport. The dust was conveyed to the air stream
with a rotary valve. The dust feed rate was very irregular, causing changes in the
density of the kiln gases. As a result, the amount of combustion air drawn by the ID fan
reflected the fluctuations in gas density created by the irregular dust input: the bigger
the dust feed, the bigger the gas density and the lower the amount of fresh air uptake
by the ID fan. The result was a cyclically recurring reducing atmosphere signalled by
CO fluctuations.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 107

As shown in figure 9, cyclically recurring redox conditions are associated with some
chemical changes.

burning conditions reaction equations inside the bricks

reducing MgFe2O4 + CO 3(Mg,Fe)O +CO2

oxidizing 3(Mg,Fe)O +CO2 + 1/2 O2 MgFe2O4

reducing K2SO4 + 4CO K2S + 4CO2

reducing K2SO4 + 8CO +2SO2 K2S3 +8CO2

oxidizing 2KFeS2 + 8O2 K2SO4 + Fe2(SO4)3

Fig. 9: Redox conditions

These reactions are associated with volume changes and premature refractory wear
(Fig. 10), [8], [11].

these reactions are associated

with volume changes

Fig. 10: Redox conditions: premature refractory wear

Accelerated wear of refractories

in the lower transition zone

Figure 11 illustrates the time behaviour of lime saturation factor, silica ratio, alumina
ratio and free lime over a short period of time. Each point corresponds to the clinker
analysis of samples taken every two hours at the kiln outlet.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 108

Observation chart clinker

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240


Fig. 11: Accelerated wear of refractories in the lower transition zone

due to concurring action of various factors

The highlighted period corresponds to about 3 days of kiln operation and shows the
simultaneous occurrence of the following changes:

• the lime saturation factor increases: that means increased difficulty in burning
• the silica ratio decreases: that means higher amount of liquid phase
• the alumina ratio decreases: that means lower viscosity of the liquid phase
• the free lime increases: that confirms the difficulties in burning the kiln feed

This constellation of phenomena creates extreme conditions for the refractory bricks;
clinker being harder to burn requires additional energy, that means higher temperature
in the burning zone. But this happens at a moment, in which we also have higher
amount of liquid phase of lower viscosity, which translates into higher infiltration rates.
Thermochemical load is severely increased.

Each one of these conditions represents a burden on the refractories, which in and by
itself should not lead to a catastrophic failure of the lining. However, their simultaneous
action can be very damaging, even during short periods of time.

Disturbances in chemical composition

due to introduction of alternative fuels
or raw materials (AFR)

The introduction of alternative fuels or raw materials (AFR) may have an impact on the
chemical composition of the clinker being produced by the kiln [4], [6], [7], [10].

Figure 12 shows the behaviour of the lime saturation factor of raw meal leaving the
mill (upper graph), raw meal fed to the kiln (middle graph) and clinker (at the bottom).
One can see in figure 12 that the plant does a very good job regarding raw meal mixing
and blending up to the point where it is fed to the kiln. It is easily appreciated that
fluctuations in chemical composition are significantly reduced from the raw mill to the
kiln feed, a prerequisite to steady kiln operation. However, the clinker shows again
increased variability of the lime saturation factor (LSF), caused by the introduction of
alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR).

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 109

104 LSF raw mill
98 LSF kiln feed
102 LSF clinker
13�04�2006 12�06�2006 11�08�2006 10�10�2006 09�12�2006 07�02�2007
sample time

Fig. 12: Disturbances in LSF due to introduction of AFR

The alumina ratio (AR) of clinker also shows greater fluctuations than those observed
at the kiln feed point (Fig. 13).

2�8 AR raw mill
2�2 AR kiln feed
2�6 AR clinker
13�04�2006 12�06�2006 11�08�2006 10�10�2006 09�12�2006 07�02�2007
sample time

Fig. 13: Disturbances in AR due to introduction of AFR

The greatest impact however is appreciated in the silica ratio (Fig. 14). In view of the
significance of the silica ratio with regard to the amount of clinker melt, it is easy to
imagine the huge changes in burnability, coating behaviour, thermal load and thermal
shock acting on the refractory lining under these circumstances.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 110

2�9 SR raw mill
2�5 SR kiln feed
2�8 SR clinker
13�04�2006 12�06�2006 11�08�2006 10�10�2006 09�12�2006 07�02�2007
sample time

Fig. 14: Disturbances in SR due to introduction of AFR

It should be stressed that the preparation of a homogeneous kiln feed is normally

associated with important investments in plant equipment and control procedures. All
these efforts may easily be destroyed by uncontrolled introduction of AFR.

Figure 15 shows the behaviour of the alkali sulphur ratio (ASR), [8], [10], [11] in the hot
meal of a 4-stage preheater kiln fired with heavy oil as main fuel and different types
ASR hot meal
of AFR.

18�04�2005 18�05�2005 17�06�2005 17�07�2005 16�08�2005 15�09�2005 15�10�2005 14�11�2005 14�12�2005


Fig. 15: ASR hot meal

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 111

As a reminder, the alkali sulphur ratio (ASR) reflects the molar weight relationships
between alkalis, chlorine and sulphur, the so-called circulating elements in the kiln
being calculated according to the following formula (Fig. 16), [3]:

Na2O K2O Cl
+ −
ASR = 62 94 71
Fig. 16: ASR definition

AFR are fed to the kiln directly in the riser duct, through a volumetric conveyor. Hot
meal samples (meal entering the rotary kiln after leaving the preheater) are taken and
analysed every 4 hours. The blue line in figure 15 shows the trend over the period.

Due to the nature of the internal circulation phenomena within the system [9], changes
in the chemical composition of the kiln atmosphere – particularly those affecting the
circulating elements – are more likely to be reflected in changes in the value of the ASR
in the hot meal. In this case, the wide sudden fluctuations of the values for the ASR are
related to the changes on the type of AFR being fed to the system.

As one can see, this system is chronically unbalanced with a relative excess of alkalis
(ASR >1) and shows cycles of bigger/smaller alkali overload in connection with the type
of AFR being used. The bricks located in the upper transition zone of the kiln shown
are subjected to huge thermochemical stresses, alkali salt infiltration and are prone to
spalling (see Figs. 17 to 19).

Fig. 17: Alkali spalling in upper transition zone: from above nothing is evident.

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 112

However, after lifting the fractured layer at the surface of the bricks, the solidified salts
are evident (Fig. 18).

Fig. 18: Alkali spalling in the upper transition zone: solidified salts

The mechanism is the following: alkali salts penetrate as gases or liquids through
the porosity of the bricks and condense, as they reach colder temperatures in their
way towards the cold face. This causes filling up of the pore microstructure and
densification of the affected volumes, with the corresponding reduction of elasticity.
As the physical properties of the infiltrated horizons are also different, temperature
changes cause varying volume changes in the infiltration horizons. This normally leads
to spalling along the contact lines between the layers: the thermal shock resistance
of the bricks is severely reduced by infiltration. In this case, essentially pure sylvine
(potassium chloride) was found. Due to its melting temperature (772 °C) sylvine is a
usual guest in the upper transition zone of alkali loaded kilns.

Figure 19 gives a lateral view of the refractory lining where the broken, infiltrated
horizon is visible.

Fig. 19: Alkali spalling in the upper transition zone: broken, infiltrated horizon

The installation of ALMAG® AF, a dense, low porosity brick, improved the lifetime

©Refratechnik Cement GmbH 113


[1] N
 IST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of statistical methods

[2] M
 ason, R.; Young, J.:
Multivariate statistical process control with industrial applications
American Statistical Association und Society for Industrial and Applied
Philadelphia, 2002

[3] Refratechnik Cement GmbH

Refratechnik manual, Göttingen 2002

[4] P eray E., Kurt

Cement manufacturers' handbuch
Chemical Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1979

[5] Peray E., Kurt

The rotary cement kiln,
Chemical Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1986

[6] Walter H. Duda:

Cement Data Book
Bauverlag GmbH, Wiesbaden and Berlin 1988

[7] Sprung, S.:

Technical problems when burning cement clinker, reasons and solution
Beton Verlag 1982

[8] Bartha, P; Södje, J.:

Degradation of refractories in cement rotary kilns fired with waste fuel
Refratechnik Report No. 61, Reprint by CM Refractories,
Special edition volume no. 5, 2001, pp. 61-72

[9] Filippich, M., Laschek, D.:

Alkali, sulfur and chlorine circulation phenomena in cement kilns
Refratechnik Report no. 62, Göttingen 2006

[10] Ordóñez, H:
The Clinker Burning Process
REFRA Training, Göttingen, September 2002

[11] K ilb, L.:

Chemical and thermochemical aspects for optimized performance
of refractory lining concepts
Refratechnik Report no. 63, Göttingen 2006