Fire protection coatings

  • Fire protection is typically applied to structural steel elements to maintain the integrity of a structure in the event of a fire
  • Steel loses half of its load bearing capacity at around 550°C, and this is often referred to as the critical failure temperature
  • There are two main types of wet applied fire protection: cementitious and intumescent coatings (sometimes referred to as passive fire protection). AkzoNobel provides both types of coatings
  • Intumescent coatings work by forming a high volume of insulating char that reduces the amount of heat transferred to the steel, thereby slowing down the time taken to reach the critical failure temperature
  • Intumescent coatings fall into two categories which relate to two different fire scenarios 
  • Cellulosic fire protection products are designed for steel components in buildings which contain combustible materials derived from wood, plastics, etc.
  • Hydrocarbon fire protection products are designed for structures which may be subjected to the combustion of materials derived from petroleum and other highly flammable materials 
  • The rate of temperature rise of a hydrocarbon fire is significantly faster than for a cellulosic fire and hydrocarbon fires create more turbulence 
  • Cellulosic fire protection products are typically based on thermoplastic resins and produce a very high rate of expansion
  • Hydrocarbon fire protection is usually based on epoxy which doesn’t give a particularly high volume of char, but the char produced is more dense and able to remain attached to the steel under highly turbulent fire scenarios. Thicker dry films of coating are usually required
  • Different products are produced by AkzoNobel which have different ratings depending on the time required for the coating to maintain the steel temperature below the critical failure temperature

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