The European Ceramic Society


Sep 6, 2022

Report on the 2022 FIRE ECerS Summer School on Refractories

ECO-DESIGN OF REFRACTORIES - E for Ecological, Economic, Eco-energetic - FIRE - ECerS SUMMER SCHOOL for students and industrialists



The 2022 FIRE-ECerS Summer School: Eco-Design of Refractories was held at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany from June 28th to June 29th. A visit of Tata Steel plant in Ijmuiden, The Netherlands was planned on June 30th. This summer school was jointly organized by EcerS and Fire (The Federation for International Refractory Research and Education).


The theme of the school was : Eco-design of refractories, E for Ecological, Economic, Eco-energetic

A Face to face and virtual Summer School which

  • integrates 3 aspects: fundamental approaches, industrial needs, new approaches on innovations
  • considers the diversity of participants (students, junior and senior engineers, academics, industrialists,) and the diversity of participant’s expectations (basic refractories training, consolidation of knowledge, innovation…)
  • proposes a good balance between the courses, an industrial tour (visit of Tata Steel plant) and exchanges and conviviality between participants and participants/speakers.

There were 18 lecturers (9 professors, 9 senior experts) internationally recognized in the refractory field:

  • Dr. Andus Buhr – ALMATIS, Germany
  • Dr. Erwan Guéguen – RHI MAGNESITA,  Austria
  • Dr. Bruno Touzo – CALDERYS, France
  • Dr. Hong Peng – ELKEM, Norway
  • Prof. In-Ho Jung – Seoul National University, South Korea
  • Dr. Thorsten Tonnesen – RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • Prof. Harald Harmuth, Montaniniversität Leoben, Austria
  • Dr. Chris Parr – Imerys, France
  • Dr. Chistoph Wöhrmeyer – Imerys, Germany
  • Prof. Jacques Poirier and  Prof. Emmanuel de Bilbao – Cemhti /  University of Orléans,France
  • Matheus Santos and Prof. Victor C. Pandolfelli – Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil
  • Dr. Carmen Baudín – Instituto de  Cerámica y Vidrio, CSIC, Spain
  • Margarita  Alvarez – Alfran, Spain
  • Prof. Christos Aneziris – University of  Freiberg, Germany
  • Dr. Paul van Beurden, Dr Rinus Siebring – Tata Steel, The Netherlands


The courses were divided in 5 sessions :

 SESSION 1: Refresher course of basic knowledge

  • Raw materials
  • Shaped refractories
  • Monolithic refractories

 SESSION 2: The fundamentals

  • Thermodynamic and kinetics
  • Fluid and gas reactive transportation
  • Fracture and creep of refractories

 SESSION 3: Industrial and economic needs

  • Refractories values in use
  • From industrial needs to industrial implementations, how to innovate?

 SESSION 4: Future challenges for refractories

  • Sensors, instrumentation and refractory needs : at the scale of laboratory and industrial installations
  • Challenges for data mining and machine learning in the refractory industry and Circular economy: ecology, energy,  economy

 SESSION 5: Refractories for Steel Making

  • Refractories for steelmaking: critical wear factors and optimum choice
  • Improvement of steel cleanliness
  • The new face of the steel industry (electric x blast furnace)
  • CO2 management and Production of iron by H2 – consequences for refractoriesThe exhibition called Cerami°K created by ETN ATHOR : ATHOR Refractory linings was visible during the Monday evening.

The evening of the first day was devoted a moment of discussion, brainstorming and conviviality between students, industrialists, and professors. A poster session was organized, and each student had to present his research activities. A first, second and third prize was awarded to the three best posters. These awards were announced during the gala dinner

A training course took place in two places: Aachen (RWTH Aachen University - Germany) and Ijmuiden (the visit of Tata Steel, Ijmuiden, Netherlands  is planed 30th 2022).


The Summer School was organized as both a face-to-face and virtual format:

  • The training courses and conferences were memorized using video documents,
  • For the filming/recording of the oral presentations, RWTH Aachen University had also quite good experience with the voice recording during the lectures.
  • The face-to-face sessions were extended with different videos available to all, to improve the overall content within the framework of this summer School.   Pre-recorded presentations (video) were inserted in virtual sessions, during the breaks.
  • These videos concern different themes: virtual animations, fundamental knowledge, specialized subjects, exercises, case studies, quizzes


This Summer School aimed to promote cooperation on educational programs in refractories among the major institutions and companies of the sector:

  • This school has favoured networking between young scientists and experimented professors and experts.
  • The participation of American and Asia professors was promoted as well as the presence of international students to allow scientific exchanges between the registrants and create links between different scientific communities (from refractory manufacturers, metallurgy, mechanics, thermodynamics, instrumentation, sustainable development) and between industrial and academic researchers.



  • 105 registered participants from universities, research centres and industry from all over the world
  • 72 face to face registered participants
  • 33 online registered participants
  • 18 lecturers (16 face to face and 2 online)
  • 29 students (17 face to face and 12 online)
  • 4 organisers not already counted in the lecturers
  • 22 countries represented!


Publication in Open Ceramics : A Special Issue E-design (Ecological, Economic, Eco-energetic) of refractories is dedicated to this school and the latest research and development in refractory ceramics in terms of fundamentals, design of refractories, applications, and future challenges.

Topics of interest (among others) include:

  • Raw materials, shaped and monolithic refractories
  • Design of refractories, microstructures
  • Advanced laboratory experiments
  • Thermomechanical behaviour, fracture, and creep
  • Corrosion, thermodynamic and kinetics, fluid and gas reactive transportations
  • Applications and industrial needs: how to innovate? What approach?
  • Futures challenges for refractories:
  • Sensors, instrumentations
  • Data mining and machine learning
  • Refractories and steel and glass cleanliness
  • Recycling, circular economy
  • Environment aspects, hydrogen
  • The future of refractory engineer education

Deadline to submit a paper: March 31st 2023


This course was a great success for several reasons:

  • a very large number of participants
  • perfect organization (rooms, catering, hotels, planning, etc.) 
  • the courses at excellent levels with a balance between fundamental and industrial applications. Associating academic professors and industrial experts is very positive
  • the industrial case study presented by Rinus Siebring and the visit of Tata steel were appreciated
  • important topics for the future
  • the refractory exhibition, the poster session, the presentation of the videos had created pleasant and interesting moments
  • breaks, the gala dinner, lunches bus travel, allowed friendly and useful exchanges

Last news

May 16, 2024
New YCN Special Issue on Open Ceramics - Young Ceramists leading the Future

The special issue will accept hitherto unpublished original results submitted both in the form of full-length scientific papers and short communications, but also review papers on the topics in the list.

May 6, 2024
Results of the 1st Bioceramics Student Speech Contest

The ECerS Bioceramics Network is delighted to announce the winners of the 1st Bioceramics Student Speech Contest, which took place online from 17 to 18 April 2024!


Contact us for any information: - We will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.


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