Thermal barrier coatings are an essential element of the construction process when it comes to fire safety measures in commercial and residential buildings. Thermal barrier coatings act as a shield for structural steel and other building materials, providing temporary resistance to flames and high temperatures.
These coatings slow down the rapid spread of fire, giving inhabitants enough time to evacuate the building. Explore these various types of thermal barrier coatings used in fire prevention so that you can supply your building with the best protection available.
One of the most common types of thermal barrier coatings is intumescent coatings. These coatings create a char layer that expands when exposed to heat, protecting the materials beneath them from ignition. At Flame Seal, we carry insulation thermal barriers that form a thick, protective layer of carbon char that yields an extra layer of defense. Since the char expands in response to heat, the coating won’t hinder the visual appeal of the building once you apply it.
The char layer only prevents heat from penetrating the coating and reaching the underlying material for a certain amount of time. Make sure you always know how long your thermal barrier will withstand heat so that you can act appropriately during emergencies. Whether the coating provides 15 minutes of protection or more, you should know how much time you have to react.
Intumescent coatings are the most common coatings for a reason—they provide the best fire prevention experience, given modern technology. However, when deciding to coat building materials, such as steel, in a thermal barrier, you may come across both intumescent and cementitious solutions. Cementitious coatings are composed of cement and other materials such as silica and fibers.
Upon application, this coating creates an insulation layer around the surface, protecting it from high temperatures and flames. Although cementitious coatings are effective in some cases, the intumescent solutions offer a better balance of weight and strength. Some cementitious coatings are very heavy, whereas the lighter cementitious solutions offer less durability. Intumescent coatings still offer the best of both worlds for building owners.
Ceramic coatings are manufactured using ceramics, making them ideal for fire prevention. Ceramic coatings form a protective layer that prevents penetration and heat transfer when exposed to high temperatures and flames. However, there are a few performance characteristics that hold it back when compared to some alternatives, such as intumescent coatings.
For instance, ceramic coatings are expensive and require complex application techniques, making them less common in building construction. The complex application process involves plasma sprays, which complicate construction efficiency, but you may see this coating in applications such as spraying cars and engine parts.
With the right type of thermal barrier coating, you can provide a safe and secure environment for your building inhabitants, allowing them to live and work with peace of mind. Use your new understanding of the types of thermal barrier coatings used in fire prevention to take action today.