Intumescent Fire Protection Technology
What is ‘’Intumescent Substance Technology’’?
An intumescent substance is a material that swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically used in passive fire protection fire retardation.
Intumescents are basically divided into 2 types.
These intumescents produce a light char, which is a poor conductor of heat, thus retarding heat transfer. Typically, these materials contain a significant amount of hydrates. As the hydrates are spent, water vapour is released, which has a cooling effect. Once the water is spent, the insulation characteristics of the char that remains can slow down heat transfer from the exposed side to the unexposed side of an assembly. This application’s aim is to create a layer of insulation.
Harder chars are produced with sodium silicates and graphite. These products are suitable for use in plastic pipe firestops as well as exterior steel fireproofing. In those applications, it is necessary to produce a more substantial char capable of exerting quantifiable expansion pressure. In the case of firestops, a melting, burning plastic pipe must be squeezed together and shut so that there will be no opening for fire to propagate to an otherwise fire-resistance rated wall or floor assembly. In the case of exterior fireproofing, a hydrocarbon fire must be held off with quite potentially more kinetic energy than a house fire.
Intumescents are used to achieve passive fire protection for such applications as firestopping, fireproofing, gasketing and window casings. Such applications are relevant and beneficial for buildings, offshore constructions, ships and aircraft.
What is Passive Fire Protection (PFP)
Passive Fire Protection (PFP) is an integral component of the three components of structural fire protection and fire safety in a building. PFP attempts to contain fires or slow the spread, through use of fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors (amongst other examples).
Structural Fire Protection code Mandates in most industrialised countries:
- Active fire protection, which can include manual or automatic fire detection and fire suppression (ie Sprinklers).
- Passive Fire Protection, which includes compartmentalisation of the overall building through the use of fire-resistance rated walls and floors. Organization into smaller fire compartments, consisting of one or more rooms or floors, prevents or slows the spread of fire from the room of fire origin to other building spaces, limiting building damage and providing more time to the building occupants for emergency evacuation or to reach an area of refuge.
- Fire prevention includes minimizing ignition sources, as well as educating the occupants and operators of the facility, ship or structure concerning operation and maintenance of fire-related systems for correct function, and emergency procedures including notification for fire service response and emergency evacuation.