Novel Carbon-Containing Refractories Reinforced By In-situ Carbon Nanotubes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Materials Science and Engineering


Carbon-containing refractory bricks (CCRBs) are one of the most important materials for the iron and steel industry worldwide, e.g. Corus alone spends over 200M/annum on refractories of which 70-80% are carbon-containing refractories. However, their two critical drawbacks, poor oxidation resistance and poor mechanical properties (low mechanical strength and poor erosion resistance), significantly reduce their service life in many applications. Whilst the poor oxidation resistance can now be improved via additions of antioxidants and/or formation of refractory coatings on graphite, the issue of poor mechanical properties has yet to be solved. In this programme, based upon the applicants' extensive experience in R & D of refractories and expertise on nanofibre/tube fabrication, the design and development of a novel and commercially-viable catalytic-growth technique is proposed that can create large quantities of in-situ carbon nanotubes in CCRBs, aiming to improve substantially their mechanical strength and erosion resistance (by >50%) and service durability (by >25%). This programme, in addition to its academic significance for in-situ nanostructure design, will undoubtbly benefit the refractory and steel industries by providing high quality refractory materials at low-cost.
Description 1) new catalysts were prepared by using a new method and used to generate in-situ carbon nanotubes in carbon refractory composites.

2) new techniques were developed for forming a large quantity of in-situ carbon nanotubes.

3) model carbon refractories reinforced by in-situ carbon nanotubes were prepared.
Exploitation Route 1) the catalysts prepared by using the new method can be used by others to generate in-situ carbon nanotubes in other composite systems.

2) the techniques developed for generating a large quantity of carbon nanotubes can be similarly used to make other nanofibres.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Other

Description EPSRC
Amount £617,433 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J016926/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2012 
End 02/2016