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Theinformationbelowprovidesabriefbackgroundtosomeof
thetechnicalaspectsrelatingtointumescentsandfire
protectionincluding:

ResourceCentre
Services

FireTypes
Thebehaviourofstructuresinfire

Sustainability

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Establishingathicknessofintumescentpaint
Fireresistanceratings
Sectionfactorconcept
Limitingtemperatureconcept
Mechanismsofintumescents

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CellulosicFire

HydrocarbonandJetFires

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Cellulosicfiresarefuelledbycombustiblessuchaswood,
paper,textiles,etc.Thecellulosicstandardfirecurve
reaches500C[932F]within5minutesandrisestoin
excessof1100C[2012F]overtime.

Hydrocarbonfires,orpoolfires,arefuelledbyoilandgas
andhaveaveryrapidheatriseto1000C[1832F]within5
minutesandrisesto1100C[2012F]shortlythereafter.
Hydrocarbonfiresarealsoextremelyturbulentasthefire
entrainsoxygentomaintaincombustion.Jetfiresarea
particulargroupofhydrocarbonfuelledfiresexpelledfrom
anorificeunderpressuresof2barorgreater.

FireTypes
Realfirescanhaveaninfinitenumberofvariationswith
respecttogrowthphase,peaktemperatureandduration.
However,toallowforbenchmarkingbetweenfireprotection
products,theindustryhasadoptedstandardfirecurvesfor
differenttypesoffires.
Thestandardfirecurvesaimtoreplicatethesevereexposure
conditionsofafiresuchasthosethattypicallyoccurfollowing
flashoverwithinacompartment.

TheBehaviourofStructuresinFire
Theresponseofasteelstructureinafirecanbeinfluencedby
themaximumtemperatureattained,thedegreetowhichitis
loaded,thedegreeofsupportandrestraint(geometryand
design)andthetemperaturedependentmechanicalproperties
ofthesteel.
ThetermFireResistanceRatingisassociatedwiththeability
ofabuildingelementtoperformitsfunctionasabarrieror
structuralcomponentforaspecifiedtimeduringthecourseof
afire.Theratingistypicallyspecifiedinaccordancewith
structuraldesignguidancedocumentsandstandardsin
combinationwithacriticalcoretemperature.Themost
commonperiodsare60minutes,90minutesor120minutes.

SectionFactorConcept
Thesectionfactorisaveryimportantconceptwhenusing
passivefireprotectiononstructuralsteelwork.Thesection
factor(Hp/A)istheratioofthefireexposedperimetertothe
crosssectionalareaofthesteel.
Essentiallyitisameasureofhowquicklythesteelsectionwill
heatinafire,andthereforehowmuchfireprotectionis
required.

SectionFactors:RatesofHeating
Alowsectionfactorequatestoastockysectionwhichwhen
unprotectedwilltakelongertoheattoasetcriticaltemperature
thanarelativelyslendersectionofhighsectionfactor.The
inherentfireresistanceofastockysectionthereforerequires
thissectiontohavelessfireprotectiontoachievethesame
fireresistancerating.

Typicallybeamswithaconcreteslabontopareexposedon3
sides,whilecolumnsareexposedonall4sides.Thecovering
ofonesidecanhavealargereductionintheamountoffire
protectionrequired.

IntumescentCoatings

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FireProtectionTechnicalInformation|InternationalProtectiveCoatings
Intumescentcoatingsreacttoheatbyswellinginacontrolledmannertomanytimestheiroriginalthicknesstoproducea
carbonaceouscharwhichactsasaninsulatinglayertoproductthesteelsectiontowhichitisapplied.
Intumescenceisacomplexprocessinwhichchemicalreactionstakeplacetoconvertthecoatingtoaviscousliquid.Atthe
sametime,gasesareproducedandtrappedwithintheliquid.Thiscausestheswellingandformationoftheinsulatingchar.
Theintumescentmechanismandsubsequentcharformationabsorbsheatfromthefirehelpingtokeepthetemperatureof
thesteelbelowitslimitingtemperatureandtoprovidetherequiredperiodofstructuralfireresistance.

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