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The Development of Novel Latexes for Fire-Resistant, Intumescent Coatings

SpecialChem / Oct 13, 2004

Intumescent coatings are coatings that react under the influence of fire and swell to many times their original thickness, producing an insulating char that protects the substrate from the effects of the fire.1,2 Steel, as we know, does not burn, but it does have a serious weakness as a construction material, in that it loses its structural strength at temperatures above approximately 550 °C. The primary function of an intumescent coating applied to structural steel is thus to protect the steel, generally for periods of up to two hours, from structural collapse during a fire, enabling fire fighters to safely evacuate people from the building. Its secondary role is to provide a smooth, aesthetically pleasing finish, which is durable and easy to maintain. The latter function is one of the main reasons why intumescent coatings are increasingly preferred over other types of passive fire protection. Thin film intumescents enable architects and designers to maximize the creative design possibilities of the steel itself, which is not possible with traditional bulky, passive fire-protection systems, such as mineral sprays and boards.

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