The European Ceramic Society


Sep 6, 2022

Report on the FIRE ECerS Summer School 2022

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 is jointly organized by EcerS and Fire*.

The JecTrust has provided a financial contribution to this school of 15940 euros

Fire* is : The Federation for International Refractory Research and Educatio, n incorporated under the laws of The Netherlands, and having its registered office TATA Steel R&D, Building 3J22, P.O. Box 10.000, 1970 CA Ijmuiden - The Netherlands


Organizing Committee

The committee is made up of:

  • Véronique Huart, Donatella Clamot (ECerS)
  • Michel Rigaud (Fire and Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal)
  • Thorsten Tonnesen, Simon Etzold (Fire, RWTH Aachen)
  • Sido Sinnema (Fire and Tata Steel)
  • Jacques Poirier (Fire, CEMHTI Orléans)

Thank very much to the organization committee for the success of this school.


Theme of the school

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.
  • The 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 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 refractories

The detail of courses is presented here.

  • The 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 ), which requires travel and transport time.

The shortest driving route between IJmuiden and Aachen is 250 km. The driving time is approx. 3 hours.


The pedagogical guide line

The Summer School:   Eco-design of refractories, E for Ecological, Economic, Eco-energetic 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


Scientific benefits

This Summer School aims 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.


Number of participants

  • 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!

FIRE has supported 12 students grants for EcerS/FIRE Summer School, 28th to Thurday 30th June 2022:   

  • 6 Virtual grants
  • 6 Face-to-face grants  (equally between Asia/ South Africa : 2, Europe: 2, America 2 : North  : 1 and South 1)


Scientific dissemination

  • The young Ceramist network (YCN) was presented by Nicolas Somers, the second day of this summer school
  • All the course presentations slides were collected on a memory stick (USB key) which was given to all attendees The videos have been made available to all participants.
  • The professors will have the possibility to publish their lecture notes into publications of the “refractory special issue” of the open ceramics.    


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

Estimated number of articles to be published in the Special Issue :        

Total: 12-15

Review articles: 1 – 2

Original Research Articles: 6-10

Dead line: from now until March 31, 2023



This course was a great success for several reasons

  • a very large number of participants
  • perfect organization (rooms, catering, hotels, planning,  ..) Many thanks to Véronique, Donatella , Thorsten, Simon and other people
  • 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

One point would be to improve. The courses were too dense (probably too much)


Thank you to all the participants !

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Report on the FIRE ECerS Summer School 2022

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


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