The global refractory market is expected to reach the market value of more than $37 billion by 2025 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 3.4% in terms of revenue during the period 2018 – 2025. Refractories are inorganic nonmetallic material which can resist at high temperature without undergoing physical or chemical changes while remaining in contact with molten slag, metal and gases. It is essential to manufacture range of refractory materials with different properties to meet range of processing conditions. In construction application, refractories are useful with specific high temperature surfaces, mainly in furnaces or boilers, as the structure of refractories minimize heat losses. Refractories need to be resistant to thermal shock, specific ranges of thermal conductivity, chemically inert, and the coefficient of thermal extension depending on the operating environment. The most important materials used in manufacturing of refractories are alumina, silica and magnesia. Another oxide generally found in refractories is the oxide of calcium. Fire clays are generally used material in refractories. In developing countries, the rise in infrastructural developments is the major factor driving the market growth. In addition, non-metallic minerals industry is anticipated to witness high growth rate owing to the increasing demand from iron & steel industry for high grade refractories. Furthermore, growing concerns regarding environment and monopoly of China over raw material supply are the factors hindering the market growth. Moreover, the opportunity for the market players lies in the recycling of refractory materials.

Rising Demand Of Unshaped Refractory Materials

Monolithic refractories are those which have no definite shape and hence known as unshaped refractory materials. The unshaped refractory materials are cost-effective and require less manpower for their installation. Also, rapid installation of these significantly reduces the down time of a given application which further adds to the growth of market. Furthermore, rising demand in glass, cement and ceramic industries due to its effective and significant usage is booming the demand for unshaped refractories. However, presence in variety of compositions and morphologies is expected to drive its demand, globally.

Insights on Market Segments

Global refractory market is segmented by type, application and geography. Based on different types, the market is segmented into shaped refractory materials, and unshaped refractory materials. Also, application is further bifurcated into iron & steel, cement /lime, nonferrous metals, glass, ceramics, teeming ladle. Based on geography, market is further classified into North America, Europe, China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and Rest of the World.

Increasing Demand from Iron & Steel Industry for High Grade Refractories

Refractories is the primary material used by steel industry. It is used in internal linings of furnaces for making iron and steel, in furnaces for heating, in vessels for holding and transporting metal and slag. Globally, iron & steel industry consumes approximately 75% of the refractories manufactured and has very high consumption speed. Additionally, consumption figure of refractories around the globe is calculated to be 10 kg per ton of liquid steel manufactured and this figure of consumption may shift up and down depending on each country. Furthermore, it is possible to evaluate the performance life of refractories, both in years and days, depending on the unit processors they are used in. As refractory products have diversifying characteristics and structures are being installed during the steel production process, it takes place in integrated and mini mill plants alike. Moreover, materials required for construction of refractories are able to withstand temperatures from 260-1850ºC. Therefore, refractories are in increasing demand in iron & steel industry.

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Uses of Refractories In Industry

  • In non-metallurgical industries, the refractories are mostly installed on stacks, cracking furnaces, catalytic cracking units, hydrogen reformers, fired heaters, ammonia primary and secondary reformers, utility boilers, coke calciner, air heaters, sulfur furnaces, ducting
  • Furnace temperatures have to raise over 2800ºF due to the extremely high melting point of common metals like iron, nickel and copper
  • The metallurgy industry use refractories in the internal linings of kilns, furnaces, reactors and other vessels for holding and transporting metal and slag. The refractory materials are therefore needed to resist temperatures over and above these temperatures.

Refractory Material and Their Melting Point

Compounds Melting point (ºC)
MgO 2800 ºC
CaO 2571 ºC
SiC pure 2248 ºC
MgO (90- 95%) 2193 ºC
Cr2O3 2138 ºC
Al2O3 2050 ºC
Fireclay 1871 ºC
SiO2 1715 ºC
Kaolin (Al2O3.SiO2) 1816 ºC
Chromite (FeO.Cr2O3) 2182 ºC


Environmental Issues Due To Refractories Is Curbing the Market Growth

The increasing environmental problems caused by refractories have become important issue in recent years. For metal producers, a major problem is the disposal of exhausted refractory materials and the main issue is elimination of hazardous components of refractory. Disposal mostly includes bauxite, magnesite, copper, and chrome-bearing materials in cement industries. The re-designing and reuse of the refractory is an important approach to eliminate waste and prevent pollution. The main objective of re-design is to recycle and reuse the used refractory material, and energy resources to save the rebuild costs, and global environment.

Some of the key players operating in the global refractory market, profiled in the report include RHI AG, VESUVIUS, Magnesita, KROSAKI, SHINAGAWA, Imerys, HWI, MORGAN CRUCIBLE, Resco, Qinghua, Puyang Refractory, Sinosteel, Lier, Jinlong, Sujia, and among others.


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