Experience in:



  • Integrated Steel mills
  • Mini mills
  • Specialty steel/alloy producers
  • Coke ovens



  • Solar Si
  • Aluminum melters
  • Induction melting (Al, steel, iron, Cu, alloys, other)
  • Glass furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Kilns

Services provided:

  • Process analysis for improved refractory life
  • Refractory failure analysis
  • Development of application specific refractory specifications
  • Trial design and analysis
  • Refractory testing, microscopy analysis
  • Site specific training
  • Quality assurance
  • Legal, expert witness
  • Expert for insurance

I provide refractory analysis based on over 35 years of experience by addressing usage, installation and theoretical parameters for a smooth operation, improved refractory life or determination of failure.

I am thoroughly familiar with alumina (alumino-silicate, alumina-SiC-C, etc.), basic (magnesia, dolomite, mag-chrome, etc.), zirconia, alumina-magnesia-carbon, silica and other refractories either in brick or monolithic form. This knowledge is used to solve refractory problems, design refractory solutions for experimental processes, analyze refractory failures in the field and in the laboratory, and develop new applications to address special needs.

My extensive use of microscopy to determine refractory and process interactions has led to novel solutions in several different areas. In addition, my work in the use of insulation, either as initial installations or as retrofits, has resulted in extensive energy savings in furnace applications.

I have developed and presented many refractory and metallurgical processes training seminars at client's locations and at the invitation of technical societies.

Numerous professional publications, extensive experience developing and conducting continuous education seminars and training for plant personnel.

Fluent in English, Spanish and German.

For more information, send inquiries to ruthengel@refractoryexpert.com

Download CV



"Metal Anchors: An Abbreviated Review", UNITECR, Chicago, USA, 2022


"Refractory Challenges in Furnaces", Glass International, February 2019


“Anti-oxidant Additions to Refractories: Roles and Effects”, The Refractories Engineer, May 2016


“Refractory Considerations”, Aluminium International Today, V 27, # 3, May/June 2015


“Refractory Considerations for Aluminum Melting and Holding Furnaces”, The Refractories Engineer, Jan. 2015


“Magnesia-Carbon Brick: a Retrospective”, The Refractories Engineer, July 2013


Changes in Raw Materials – History Repeats Itself”, Refractory Applications and News, V 15, No.5, p. 6, 2010


“Chrome Bearing Refractories: Is there a Future?”, The Refractories Engineer, May 2010


“Spinels and Refractories”, Refractory Applications and News, V 15, No.3, p. 9, 2010


“It’s a Refractory Failure”, Refractory Applications and News, V 15, No.2, p. 5, 2010


“Silica Refractory: Something Old that is New” ”, Refractory Applications and News, V 14, No.6, p. 19, 2009


“Lining Design Considerations”, Refractory Applications and News, V 14, No.2, p. 17, 2009


“Insulation: Friend or Foe”, Refractory Applications and News, V 13, No.2, p. 7, 2008


“Resolution of Clogging at Armco Mansfield Slab Caster”, Electric Fce. Conf. Proc, V 56, p. 553, 1998, with A. McKague, M. Suer, D. Wolf, M. Garbowsky and L. Reed.


Published a Keeping Current Series in the Iron and Steelmaking Bulletin based on the Ladles and Ladle Furnace Slags 1996, short course with U. Pretorius and R. Marr


"Ladle Sands: Testing and Application", Electric Fce. Conf. Proc., V. 48, p. 451, 1990, with F. S. Cox.


"Use of Design of Experiments to Improve the Performance of Degasser Nozzle Refractories", UNITECR Proceedings, p. 708, 1989, with K. McKeever.


"Armco’s Experimental 184 Mile Hot Metal Shipment", Ironmaking Conf. Proc., p. 3, 1988, with J. Niedringhaus, J. Blattner


"Microstructural Characterization of Commercial Hot Pressed Boron Nitride", Adv. Cer. Mat., V. 3, No. 5, p. 452, 1988, with J. H. Steele.


"Non-Destructive Testing of Boron Nitride", Ceramic Transactions, V. 4, Advances in Refractories Technology, p. 595, 1988.


"Refractories for the Steel Industry - A Diagnosis and Prognosis", Fall Meeting of the Refractories Division of the Am. Cer. Soc., Oct. 1986, with R. Shultz, R. Brenneman, B. Baker


"Laboratory Testing of Boron Nitride Break Rings", Electric Fce. Conf. Proc., V. 43, p. 329, 1985.


"Evaluation of Zircon Brick for Ladle Slag Lines", Cer. Soc. Bull., V. 63, p. 880, 1984, with B. Brezny.


"On the Laboratory Testing of Insulating Fiber Products", Interceram Special Issue, V. 31, 1982, with P. Schroth and F. S. Cox.


"A New 5C Pyrrhotite", Am. Min., Nov.-Dec., 1978, with W. Kelly, D. Peacor.

Training Seminars


Presented refractory, slag and process training seminars to management, professional and hourly personnel addressing site specific topics: steel companies and refractory manufacturers in the US and other countries (1980 to present).


Invited speaker: Ladle Refractory and Secondary Steelmaking training: Tempe, AZ, Oct. 3-5, 2023, Orlando, FL, Oct. 4 to 6, 2022.


Invited presenter: Ladle Refractory and Secondary Steelmaking training seminar, AIST Specialty Conf.: Colorado Springs, CO, Oct. 5 to 7, 2021, San Antonio, TX, Oct. 14-17, 2019 Charleston, SC, Oct. 22-25, 2018, Milwaukee, WI, Oct. 23-26, 2017, Birmingham, AL, Oct. 11-13, 2016, Memphis, TN Oct. 5-8, 2015 Indianapolis, IN, Oct. 6-8, 2014, Charleston, SC, Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2013


Invited presenter: Refractory and Slags, Modern Electric Fce. Steelmaking – A Practical Training Seminar: Specialty Steelmaking break-out section, AIST Specialty Conf., Charleston, SC, Feb. 6-10, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA, Oct. 19-22, 2009


Chair and presenter: Ladle Refractory Training Seminar, AIST Specialty Conf., Oct. 2-3, 2012, Jacksonville, FL, Oct. 25-26, 2011, Merrillville, IN, Oct. 12-13, 2010, Birmingham, AL, March 1-2, 2010


Presenter of the Refractory section, Stainless Steelmaking and Casting Training Seminar, AIST 2007 Specialty Conf., Cleveland, OH, Oct. 21-23, 2007


Conducted quality training classes for replacement workers during a strike (2006 and 2007)


Presented refractory, slag and process seminars to management and hourly personnel on an as needed basis at Armco, AKSteel, steel and iron making companies. (1980 to present)


Organized and taught: Ladle Refractories and Slags at the ISS Chicago Section Meeting, Merrillville, IN, with U. Pretorius and R. Marr; Jan. 1996 and Jan. 1995, and at the ISS Off the Record meeting in Pittsburgh, PA, Nov. 1995


Taught part of the Armco Mansfield Works start up training courses for meltshop, caster and masonry personnel, 1994


Organized and taught: Refractories for Reheat Furnaces, at the Globetrotters Meeting, St. Charles, Illinois, Sept. 1991


Organized and taught: Melt Shop Refractories, at the Off the Record Meeting, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Oct. 1990, with B. Brezny



Refractory Sustainability and Steel Challenges”, AIST Refractory Systems Committee Oct.2022


The Time has Come for Refractory Sustainability”, Am. Ceram. Soc. St. Louis Section/Refractory Ceramics Division 58th Annual Symposium, March 2023


“Metal Anchors: An Abbreviated Review”, UNITECR Chicago, USA, 2022


“The Elkem Furnace, a Submerged Arc Furnace Used for Copper”, AIST Refractory Committee, Febr. 2020


“Refractories: Yesterday’s Challenges / Today’s Opportunities”, AK Steel Research, 2018


“Glass Furnaces: Refractory Challenges”, Am. Ceram. Soc. St. Louis Section/Refractory Ceramics Division, 54th annual symposium, 2018


“Microscopy of Steel Mill Refractories”, Micrs. Soc. Ohio River Valley Spring Meeting, April 2016


“Antioxidants: Role and Effect or what we call metal additions”, Am. Ceram. Soc. St. Louis Section/Refractory Ceramics Division, 52st annual symposium, 2016


“Failure Analysis”, Missouri Univ. of S&T, Materials Science & Engr., Refractory Seminar, 2009


“Ladle Sands: Testing and Application”, ISS Electric Fce. Conf., 1990


“Laboratory Testing of Boron Nitride Break Rings”, ISS Electric Fce. Conf., 1985


“Evaluation of Zircon Brick for Ladle Slag Lines”, Am. Cer. Soc. Fall Meeting, 1983


AIME Oral History Participant, 2022

The oral history project aims ”to preserve and promote achievements in our fields and share prominent member stories with future generations”.


The Benjamin F. Fairless Award (AIME/AIST) 2021

For a lifetime of contributions to the steel industry; and for her tireless and enthusiastic dedication to the support of steelmakers, the Iron & Steel Society and AIST, and to educating the next generation of refractory specialists in understanding the importance of refractories and their use.


Distinguished Member and Fellow, AIST 2021

For her exceptional tenacity in maintaining the industry’s focus on the importance of, and dependence upon, refractories within the steel production process routes; for her valuable contributions to improving these steelmaking processes; and for her service as a dedicated committee member and educator for the past 35 years. Engel is an outstanding role model and mentor for women engineers around the world.


The T.J. Planje St. Louis Refractories Award 2021

For distinguished achievement in the field of refractories


35 Year Life Member AIST 2019

Write up published April 2019 Iron and Steel Technology


Armco Research Technical Achievement Award 1997

for “Improvements to the AOD Refining Process”, with W. Beltz and L. Evans


Clarence E. Sims Award 1994

In appreciation of long and continuous support of the Electric Fce. Division of the ISS


ISS Electric Furnace Conference 1991

Honorable Mention for Best Paper in the Melt Shop Refractories Session


Please contact us with any additional questions or inquiries.


We can be contacted during regular business hours (Eastern Standard Time, GMT+5) by E-mail or phone.