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Salamander versus dragon - coatings to resist fire and high temperatures

SpecialChem / Aug 3, 2005

The salamander is a type of lizard which, in mythology, was able to live in fire, cooling it with its breath. Coatings which achieve similar effects are more reliable, and are found in several related yet distinct applications: * High-build surface insulation coatings for industrial use and to improve the thermal efficiency of older buildings; * Heat-reflecting (using IR-reflective pigments, not necessarily high-build) coatings, particularly useful for roofing systems in hot climates; * Coatings resistant to high temperatures during service; * Coatings which retard the spread of fire or minimise fire-related damage to structures. In this article, I shall examine the technologies used in the last two systems. High-temperature coatings are required to protect metal surfaces such as barbecues, cookers, non-stick cookware, engine components, boilers, vehicle exhausts and even the working parts of rockets from oxidation over an extended period. These materials are usually liquid coatings, but powder coatings have also been developed which will resist temperatures above 450°C, sufficient for most of the applications listed above.

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