Within Sulfur Recovery Units (SRU), many equipment and piping items are built with internal refractory linings, but between the various process areas, the refractory is being used for completely different functions. Understanding the “purpose” of the refractory is important for both the initial selection of the optimum type of refractory, and also for repair decisions whenever refractory damage is found during turnarounds. This paper will describe each area where refractory is used, the operating and turnaround conditions, and the four unique purposes of the refractory to provide a mechanistic understanding of the function of refractory. It will also discuss the relationship between the purpose and repair philosophies for use as a general guideline.

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