Refractories, ceramics and raw materials


IDONIAL Ceramics Department is focused on the study, development and testing of ceramic materials, either technical or traditional ones.  It counts with staff highly specialized in the development of functional materials, especially those incorporating nanoparticles.  The laboratory can synthesis almost any type of inorganic nano-compound.

Highly specialized physical testing is carried out up to 1750ºC.

The unit has semi-industrial capacity Labs for processing ceramics powders, comprising semi-industrial scale milling equipment (down to 1 micron), several spray-dryers, uniaxial press, isostatic press, extrusion unit, precision machining and thermal treatment up to 1800ºC under different atmospheres.

Lines of activity:

  • Thermo-mechanical and physical-chemical characterization.
  • Post-mortem studies.
  • Formulation design.
  • Characterization, conditioning and treatment of ceramics raw materials: powders and binders.
  • Rheological studies of slips.
  • Forming by uniaxial press, isostatic press and extrusion.
  • Additive manufacturing – 3D printing.
  • Design and evaluation of thermal treatments: drying and sintering.
  • Precision machining.
  • R&D Project development.


IDONIAL has been active in the characterization and testing of refractory materials since 1992.  It also has extensive experience in the development of both shaped and unshaped refractories, either dense or insulating.

IDONIAL has proven capacity to research and develop refractories for its clients at World class level, be it finished products, raw materials, additives or application methods.

Shaped refractories

Shaped refractories are constructive elements with a precise shape, be it standardised or special, which are used in the construction and lining of industrial vessels that operate at very high temperatures (>1000 °C).

Unshaped refractories

Unshaped refractory products are an alternative and/or complement of shaped ones in the execution of refractory linings, for instance when the final shape needs to be adapted at the point of application.  This category includes materials such as concrete, plastic masses, mastics, mortars, paints, etc.

Unshaped refractories have acquired great industrial importance and their consumption already exceeds that of shaped refractories.

Activity Lines:

  • Thermo-mechanical characterization.
  • Physical-chemical and mineralogical characterization.
  • Post-mortem studies.
  • Design of formulations.
  • Conditioning and treatment of raw materials: aggregates, fines and binders.
  • Forming by uniaxial or isostatic press or extrusion.
  • Design and modelling of refractory linings.
  • Placing by casting and gunning.
  • Additive manufacturing – 3D printing.
  • Design and evaluation of heat treatments: drying, tempering and sintering.
  • Machining of shaped parts and test specimens.
  • Development of R&I projects.
  • Study of rheological behaviour.

Cluster of Refractories of Asturias A.I.E.

The Area coordinates the Cluster of Refractories of Asturias A.I.E. (CRAIE), a knowledge community network legally inscribed as an Economic Interest Group, whose purpose is to promote innovation and technological development of the refractory sector.


Raw Materials. Sustainability and Circularity

The unit focuses its activity in the study, characterisation and development of the raw materials with special focus on their sustainability and circular use.  The area has experience in the study and characterization of a great number of raw materials used in several industrial value chains, including most of the industrial ecosystems identified as relevant by the European Union.  Its aim has always been to achieve the highest possible circularity in the use of primary raw materials, especially of those identified as critical by the EU.

Since 2008, when the first regional tractor project was set up under the guidance of the Asturias Government and the participation of the main local industrial enterprises, a wealth of experience has been gathered by the unit in the study, treatment and valorisation of industrial and urban waste generated in our heavily industrialized surroundings.  Therefore IDONIAL counts with invaluable experience in the symbiotic valorisation of industrial waste as secondary raw material between industrial partners and can provide valuable insights to achieve an environmentally sound treatment of waste products.

Main activities focus on:

  • Physical-chemical and mineralogical characterization of primary and secondary raw materials.
  • Development of new raw materials for ceramics and refractories.
  • Industrial waste recycling and valorisation as secondary raw materials.
  • Valorisation of industrial and urban waste as energy sources.
  • Processes of raw materials recovery by concentration and separation.
  • Critical raw materials recovery technologies, especially those involving high temperature treatment and evaluation of emissions.
  • CO2 capture technology of mineral carbonation.
  • Waste inertization through encapsulation


Construction materials. Sustainability and Circularity

Research on non-metallic construction materials is also an historical activity of Ceramics, Refractories and Raw Materials department.

IDONIAL has traditionally worked for many construction companies, especially materials suppliers, and is a member of the Spanish Construction Platform (PTEC) where it leads two WGs: Sustainable Materials and Additive Manufacturing.

Lines of activities:

  • Design of special concrete formulations (i.e.: high thermal insulation and energy efficient requirements) geared to achieve energy efficiency, sustainability and circularity.
  • Development of new application technologies: Shotcreting, Gunning, Additive manufacturing-3D printing.
  • Chemical, Physical and Mechanical characterization of construction products.
  • Characterization, processing and conditioning of construction raw materials: aggregates, cements and additives.
  • Construction waste recycling.
  • R&I projects.