The movie shows the performance of an intumescent coating layer when tested at the cone calorimeter.
(Courtesy prof. S. Bourbigot, University of Lille, 2008)

Reactive coatings

Intumescent coatings, also named reactive coatings, are based on the principle of intumescence, originally discovered in the 60s in the framework of space programs research. This peculiar chemical technology is used in a number of applications for fire protection of materials and structures since the 80s.While being one of the key technologies for fire protection of structural steel and being widely used worldwide to this purpose, the application of intumescent coatings is finding everyday new applications for different substrates, from different metals to reinforced concrete, to wood and polymers.

Intumescence means “swelling while charring”. The principle is that special reactive chemicals are incorporated into a thin coating film over the surface, and these chemicals react generating a char in the presence of fire or a flame (practically at temperatures in excess of about 200 °C).

This char will expand to a low-density foam up to 100 times thicker than the original layer providing a very effective barrier to heat transfer thus protecting the substrate from temperature increase and preventing the flammable material underneath to catch fire or even to melt and flow.

Our range of intumescent coatings include very-low VOC waterborne products which are at the top of the environmental friendly technology available today, as well as robust solventborne systems that stand for the maximum versatility in application. INTUMESCENT COATINGS AT WORK The movie shows the performance of an intumescent coating layer when tested at the cone calorimeter.

Normally an intumescent system comprises a primer, intended to protect the steel substrate from corrosion (e.g. an alkyd or a 2K epoxy coating, depending on the environment and specifications) and, depending on environmental exposure, a topcoat to protect the active layer from moisture and weathering agents and to improve aesthetic finishing.

Our product portofolio includes suitable primers and topcoats for different applications. In cases where a different primer is requested or has been already applied, or when a different topcoat is specified e.g. for local availability in various colours, our technical service will provide assistance to check compatibility.
Our intumescent coatings have been tested in combination with many primers and topcoats from the marketplace, both at official testing facilities and our own lab.

Our best seller CHAR 21 (waterborne) and CHAR 22 (solventborne) cover most of our customers’ application needs for steel and concrete fire protection. CHAR 17 is a clearcoat specifically designed for wood fire protection, which is finding more and more special applications, e.g. on polymers. Other intumescent coatings in our portofolio include CHAR 27 intumescent epoxy coating for special applications and use in harsh environment, CHAR 24 for special outdoor application to cable trays and others.

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