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The Benefits and Drawbacks of Intumescent Coatings

There are several reasons to use an intumescent coating for residential and commercial properties. These reasons include protection from fire, improved passive fireproofing, and protection from hydrocarbon and cellulosic fires. Here are some details on the benefits and drawbacks of different intumescent coatings. 

Protection Against Fire

Intumescent paint layers are applied to steelwork and cast iron to prevent smoke and fire damage from spreading. They can be applied on small or large areas and come in two variations: water-based and solvent-based. Both of these systems have a pot life of 3 hours.

Experts in intumescent coating Boston, MA, mentioned that they can also be applied by brush or airless spray gun. The paint layer has excellent flow and leveling characteristics and cures at room temperature. UL-certified products exhibit excellent fire-retarding performance, maintaining adhesion and strength even in extremely challenging environments. These products are typically used to fireproof steel and plastic pipes but are not recommended for interior spray fireproofing.

Improved Passive Fireproofing

An intumescent coating is a paint that gives structural steel members an aesthetically pleasing finish. Unlike typical fireproofing that offers a thick, sponge-like surface, intumescent paint looks similar to normal paint. It is applied in layers; the final layer has pigments to provide a fire-resistant finish. This is an excellent solution for steel structures that would otherwise require a finished surround.

In a recent study, researchers in the Netherlands and Germany used sodium-rectorite to improve the fireproofing properties of intumescent coatings. This substance expands when exposed to extreme temperatures and acts as an insulator. This type of paint is one of the three major passive fire protection technologies, along with dense concrete and lightweight cementitious fireproofing. It provides a superior level of fire resistance and a cost-effective alternative to traditional fireproofing.

Protection From Cellulosic Fires

Despite its increasing prevalence, the cellulosic fire protection market is not completely free from challenges. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the EU-5, the US, Russia, Poland, and the Nordic countries. As a precautionary measure, many construction activities were suspended. In addition, travel restrictions affected the petroleum products and automobile sectors, which reduced the demand for these products. The disruption in the supply chain led to lower production and fewer construction projects.

Protection From Hydrocarbon Fires

Protecting your facility from hydrocarbon fires is crucial in protecting yourself and your property. This type of fire is a combustible liquid and is considered one of the most dangerous types of fire today. They can spread quickly and instantly and seriously injure people and damage equipment. Here are some ways to prevent fires in hydrocarbon facilities. You should also keep yourself and your employees safe by wearing protective clothing and fire extinguishers. Hydrocarbon fires are a constant threat to the industry; if they spread, the damage can be devastating. Whether fire starts at the point of extraction or in a storage tank, it can devastate the environment, human life, and equipment. 

Decorative Properties

Intumescent coatings are fire-retardant paints and are often required for specific building components. In addition to providing fire protection, these paints are durable and do not flake off when struck by flames. They can be applied on-site or off-site and are available in various colors. They can also be used as a decorative coating to highlight certain building features.

Intumescent paints are generally made from organic binders. Organic binders decompose when exposed to heat, which creates toxic gaseous products and reduces the thermal insulation of the coating. Another disadvantage of organic binders is that they have low melting points, which disturbs the formation of the sintered layer. During a fire, they may damage the coating. Therefore, it is vital to choose intumescent paints carefully.


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