In this study, the effects of the type of alumina on the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of the ultralow cement castable (ULCC) refractories were investigated. Brown fused alumina, tabular alumina and rotary bauxite-based ULCC refractories were prepared by mixing each type of alumina with silicon carbide, carbon, cement, metallic silicon and microsilica. The density, porosity and cold crushing strength (CCS) of the refractory castables were measured after drying at 110 degrees C for 24 h and firing at 1450 degrees C for 5 h. The slag penetration resistance of the refractory castables was determined using slag corrosion tests. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and X-ray diffractometry (XRD) were used to characterize the castables. It was found that all three refractory castables had strong slag penetration resistance and that the tabular alumina-based refractory castable had the largest specific cold crushing strength with an acceptable percent of porosity among the refractory castables. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd and Techna Group S.r.l. All rights reserved.