‘Fuels, Furnaces and Refractories’ are important subjects for metallurgical engineering students. The knowledge of these subjects is necessary for understanding various phenomena of extractive metallurgy (ferrous and non-ferrous). The fuels are used as energy source in various metallurgical operations (e.g. raw materials preparation, smelting, refining, shaping and treating). The furnaces serve as a unit to perform various metallurgical operations, where the refractory lining renders furnaces to operate at elevated temperatures. Thus, fuels, furnaces and refractories play important role in many metallurgical activities.
The importance of these subjects could be realised by the fact that many important metallurgical operations have undergone radical changes due to the availability of fuel at given time. The most classical example is iron making. In early 19th century, the iron was produced in blast furnaces using wood char. Later, the non-availability of wood char led to the use of coke in the blast furnaces, which is being used even today. In the mid of 20th century, it was realised that coke may not be available in future due to limited global reserve of coking coals. This led to the development of DRI technology using coal and natural gas in the mid of 20th century. At the end of 20th century, it was felt that solid DRI produced may not get sufficient electrical power in future to melt it, and this led to the development of smelting reduction (SR) technology of making hot iron which is still under development. In the early 21st century, excessive use of fossil fuels (coal, coke, natural gas) causing global warming germinated the thought of making iron using eco-friendly fuels like wood char and hydrogen. The development of eco-friendly fuel for iron making may take time, but the importance of fuel for the development of metallurgical processes remains unquestionable in light of the given example.
In many metallurgical engineering courses, these three subjects are covered in a single course titled “Fuels, Furnaces and Refractories”. This book, divided into ten chapters, is presented to cover the entire syllabus of the subject. The 1st chapter on ‘Fuels, Furnaces and Refractories–Need and their Significance’ highlights the importance of the subjects.
Chapter 2, on ‘Solid Fuels–Coal and Coke’ gives the origin, classification, preparation, properties, testing, and selection of coal and coke for use. The 3rd chapter on ‘Liquid Fuels’ deals with the sources, preparation, properties, testing and applications of oil in plants. The 4th chapter on ‘Gaseous Fuels’ describes the sources (natural, prepared and by-product), properties, testing and applications of gaseous fuels. Chapter 5, on ‘Combustion of Fuels’ introduces the combustion system, combustion mechanism (solid, liquid and gas), and burners. Chapter 6, on ‘Furnaces and its Accessories’ describes furnaces using solid, liquid and gas, design factors and instrumentation. Chapter 7 concerns with ‘Refractories’ giving their properties, preparation (shaped and monolith), testing and selection for furnaces. Chapter 8, on ‘Heat Transfer and Energy Management’ emphasises on heat transfer modes, furnace heat losses, waste heat use and energy audit. Chapter 9, on ‘Furnace Atmosphere Control and Environmental Issues’ describes the types of furnace atmosphere, its selection, monitoring, environmental issues and safety. The last chapter on ‘Fuels, Furnaces and Refractories–Indian Scenario’ discusses the India’s energy (coal, oil, gas, electricity) resources, production and demand along with a picture of refractory and furnace industry in India. The useful data, bibliography and subject index are provided at the end of the book.
Thus, this book aims to provide information to the undergraduate students of IITs/NITs and other engineering colleges as prescribed in their course. This book would also be useful to plant managers and research scientists in knowing the fundamentals and test procedures. It would serve as a reference to students preparing for AMIIM, AMIE and other competitive examinations requiring knowledge of the subject.