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Abstract: Preventing steel from losing its strength during fires is crucial for safe evacuation and effective fire fighting. One of the most common protective coatings applied to steel and other construction materials today is intumescent paint. In this study, researchers created a potential new protective coating using a curable silicone base and varying volume amounts of expandable graphite between 5-25%. The key characteristic of these coatings is that they swell to create a foam in high temperatures to protect the structure. The swelling velocity, expansion %, and thermal conductivity of the experimental materials were measured to evaluate its effectiveness. Results showed that the silicone coating containing 25% expandable graphite provided better fire protection than the intumescent paint. The Hot Disk TPS 2500S was used to measure the thermal conductivity of the materials up to a temperature of 500°C. Extensive analysis of charring was performed after the experiment to understand how the compound reacted.

Reference: Polymer Degradation and Stability. 98:5 (2013) 1052-1063

DOI: 10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2013.02.001