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All you need to know about fireproofing materials

All you need to know about fireproofing materials

“Fireproof doesn’t mean that a fire will never come, but that when it comes you’ll be able to withstand it.”, Eric Wilson, Fireproof

Fireproofing makes something resistant to fire, or non-flammable. Some materials are used in making anything fireproof. It is a passive fire protection means. The term “fireproof” does not certainly mean that an item cannot ever burn; it associates to measured performance under particular conditions of testing and evaluation. Fireproofing does not allow managed objects to be entirely untouched by any fire. Conventional materials are not resistant to the effects of fire at enough strength and time.

Fireproofing is used in residential and commercial buildings to reduce the escalation of a fire that would occur due to an electric failure or human negligence. Fireproofing is used to buy time for response. The conventional method of fireproofing has been poured-in-place concrete or gunite. Other fireproofing materials, such as prefabricated cementitious board, lightweight cement, and intumescent coatings, are used to a low degree. Mainly, they are used in areas considered less critical and where weight loss is a vital advantage.

What materials are fireproofed?

Fireproof materials

Fireproof materials, also called fire-retardants, can resist very high temperatures and are meant to reduce the spread of a fire. Fireproof materials can decrease the flow of heat through the depth of the material. Although the materials may be called “fireproof,” but no material can be 100 percent fireproof. Because all materials ultimately are affected if the temperature is high enough.

Let’s discuss the materials which we use for fireproofing:

Refractories: Refractories are dense, heat-resistant materials such as bricks, fire clay, cement, ceramics, and precast shapes. The minerals we use to make refractories are fire clays, alumina, magnesite, chromite, and silicon carbide. Refractories are commonly used in high-temperature situations such as reactors, furnaces, and other processing units. They are also used in electrical or thermic conduction. Refractories can resist higher temperatures than metal (more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit) and can endure physical damage and chemical agents.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass is primarily a mixture of glass and sand. The raw materials used to make fiberglass are soda ash, limestone, and silica sand may include feldspar, nepheline syenite, magnesite, calcined alumina, and kaolin clay. We produce fiberglass by pushing the molten glass into a sifter machine, which rotates it into strings, which are bonded together. Fiberglass is reliable, secure, and is typically fire-resistant because it is made from recycled glass and sand. We can make it to work for specific purposes. Fiberglass is usually used for automobiles, furnaces, ship hulls, and air-conditioning units.

Mineral wool and glass wool: Mineral and glass wool are insulators of heat or sound. They are non-flammable and have high melting temperatures, which makes them excellent fireproofing materials. Both are also insect-proof, which makes them the right building materials too. Mineral and glass wool is made from rock glass, slag, and minerals that have been yielded and turned into threads. Typical uses of mineral and glass wool are fireproofing, automotive gaskets thermal insulation, and brake pads.

Concrete:  Concrete can be regarded as an excellent fireproofing material. The great mass and high-thermal insulation of concrete make it very efficient at decreasing heat flow to the underlying structure. Poured-in-place concrete, using molds, is ideal for columns and beams. Gunite is applied to spheres and other buildings where the use of molds for poured-in-place concrete is impossible. The main disadvantage of gunite applications is that it is very messy.

Post-fire inspections have shown that concrete chips to varying degrees, but the overall conclusion is that concrete/gunite functions adequately with the steel structures well preserved. Support does not stop fracturing and chipping of the concrete, but it does reduce the loss of cracked material during the fire.

Why is fireproofing used?

guard structural steel

Generally, fireproofing is intended to guard structural steel, which carries a high risk or expensive equipment. The failure point is usually considered to be 1000°F, as this is the point where steel has lost nearly 50% of its structural power. The purpose then is to stop structural steel from reaching 1000°F for some time. Containers, pressure vessels, and heat exchangers may feel a vital cooling effect from liquid contents, and therefore, minimum fireproofing is generally needed. Some thermal insulation systems may serve a double purpose as fireproofing, and this is normal with some pressure vessels. Piping may be insulated, but it is not usually regarded to be fireproofed.

Fireproofing needs to be tough to withstand the difficulties of everyday life in a building. If a fire does occur, the fire resistance features have been maintained, and the fireproofing can be relied on to use adequately. As a cover for steel, fireproofing may give a reasonable degree of corrosion protection. When fitted directly to steel, concrete may activate the steel surface by providing a high pH. Corrosion under concrete fireproofing can be notable. Distended coatings give better corrosion protection than concrete by their low permeability, but critical corrosion under fireproofing (CUF) has been reported with these materials.

Fireproofing materials market:

It was estimated USD 2.7 billion last year, the global fire protection materials market size is predicted to reach USD 4.0 billion by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 8.5%. The growing need for passive fire protection systems fueled by harsh building codes and fire safety policies drives the fire protection materials market. North America is the leading market for fire protection materials worldwide, followed by Europe and APAC.

Key market players:

The key players of this market are as ETEX (Belgium), Hilti Group (Liechtenstein), Morgan Advanced Materials (UK), 3M (US), Sika AG (Switzerland) Specified Technologies Inc. (US), Akzo Nobel NV (Netherlands), Jotun (Norway), and Rolf Kuhn GmbH (Germany).

Hilti is the leading player in the fire protection materials market. The company is growing its business via development in countries such as APAC and North America. It primarily focuses on direct selling and development to sustain its position in the market.

ETEX is another major manufacturer of fire protection materials. The company is one of the best innovators in this market. It is anticipated to have the largest number of UL-listed products according to experts. This company is expected to fight for the leading spot in the global market in the coming years.

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Name: Samira H.

Revised Date: 26-07-2020