Hydrothermal environments are expected to adversely affect the erosive resistance of castable refractories intended for use in high wear areas of coal gasification plants. The erosive wear behavior of two grades of refractories proposed for such use was studied at room temperature after exposure of the refractories to high-pressure steam. Wear occurs primarily in the cement phase that bonds the more wear-resistant aggregate. The wear resistance of the refractories depended on chemical interactions between the cement and the high pressure steam. Although chemical changes were observed to occur in both refractories, the wear resistance was found to decrease only in those cases for which the strength of the cement phase was substantially reduced.

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