A Comprehensive Review of Acousto Ultrasonic Echo Technique For Furnace Refractory Lining Assessment
Monitoring the refractory lining integrity is essential to assure the safety of the operators and to determine the remaining campaign life of a furnace. Early detection of refractory lining degradation is essential to avoid sudden furnace failures and prevent unscheduled shutdowns. In the mid-1990s a stress wave propagation technique was developed and since then it has been utilized by Hatch Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Group to evaluate furnace linings. For the last 17 years the AU-E technique evolved in terms of hardware, software and signal acquisition and interpretation. Most importantly, based on more than a decade of commercial applications, an extensive database of various failure modes, refractory deterioration trends and material properties has been created. This knowledge base is an integral part of AU-E which progressed from a NDT technique towards a comprehensive approach for furnace condition monitoring. All of the improvements introduced over the last several years have greatly improved the accuracy of the measurements. The data analysis process has also become more time efficient making the critical results available to the furnace operators in a more timely manner. Today the AU-E technology is used on a variety of process vessels in non-ferrous, glass, chemical and iron and steel industries.
In this paper we are reviewing the available techniques for furnace refractory lining measurement and discussing the pros and cons of each method. The need for continuous improvement and development of new techniques for refractory monitoring is also emphasized. Finally, we are presenting a number of case studies and comparisons between the physical verifications and the AU-E measurements.