Fire and flame protection

Novel ceramizing and foam-forming coating materials and high-temperature insulation materials are developed for fire protection. Protection from fire and heat is provided by intumescent, ablative, ceramizing and cooling processes. Intumescent coatings swell at increased temperatures and form an insulating foam which protects thesubstrate. In addition, endothermic reactions can generate a cooling effect.

In the field of flame protection, established halogen-containing flame retardants are increasingly being replaced by halogen-free alternatives. Besides their performance, the effects of these substances on the material properties also play a decisive role. Current research topics include halogen-free flame retardants for epoxy resin systems which have minimal influence on the glass transition temperature.

Fire protection coatings

Fire protection coating before the fire
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Fire protection coating before the fire

Fire protection coating after the fire
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Fire protection coating after the fire

Fire protection coatings are intumescent materials, which means that they swell when heated. They are applied to the surface of the substrate requiring protection. Under normal conditions they behave like decorative coatings. However, when exposed to heat or fire the materials swell, forming an insulating foam that protects the coated material from the effects of the heat. The foam is stabilized by the formation of ceramic-like structures. Beside applications in the construction sector, these coatings can also be applied to plastics for smoke suppression, or to replace flame retardants. The layers are suitable for use in the fire protection of wood and steel as well as composite materials.

High-temperature insulation

Fire protection coating before the fire
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Fire protection coating before the fire

High-temperature insulation after the fire
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

High-temperature insulation after the fire

An efficient heat protection for metallic carrier materials at high temperatures (> 1200 °C) can be achieved by using coating systems that combine intumescent (swelling) and ceramizing properties. These coatings are applied in the same way as normal coating materials. When the surfaces are exposed to high temperatures (>1200°C), however, the materials swell to up to 30 times their original volume and form a porous ceramic. This protects the carrier material from temperatures up to 2000 °C for several minutes. Applications include emergency insulation systems for reentry bodies in the aerospace industry or special fire protection applications.

Ceramic fire protection compounds

The material involved is inert, fireproof and has a strong cooling effect. Fire protection is achieved via endothermic chemical and physical reactions. Depending on the application, the material can be used as a filler or coating material. Applications include fire protection doors and windows, fire protection fillers, mortars or joint sealers, cooling coatings and cooling granules.

Ceramic fire protection compound
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Ceramic fire protection compound

Ceramizing elastomers

Combustion chamber insulation materials developed for rocket technology protect substrates from thermal damage and hot gas currents at temperatures of up to 3000 °C, using ablative and ceramizing processes. Ceramizing elastomers are elastic coating materials and serve as insulation materials for single-use protection applications. On exposure to high temperatures they form a continuous, porous, ceramic protective layer which withstands even high gas flows caused by the combustion of a rocket propellant. The elastomers are characterized by the high strength of the pyrolysis and intermediate layers at increased temperatures, but under normal conditions they are elastic enough to follow the stretching movement of the coated material. Examples of applications are protection against hot gas flows, nozzle materials, sealants or in brake pads for fading stabilization.

Ceramizing elastomers
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Ceramizing elastomers

Flame retardant, dimensionally stable foams

Non-combustible foam
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Non-combustible foam

Cross-section of a window profile with a fire protection foam filling
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Cross-section of a window profile with a fire protection foam filling

Wall element with power outlets fixed with an installation foam
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Wall element with power outlets fixed with an installation foam

Foamed plastics made from conventional materials (for example from polystyrene or polyurethane) degrade on exposure to fire and heat and, in the case of fire, lose their insulating and therefore also their protective effect. New, plastic-based foam formulations maintain their dimensions in a fire test without burning. These foams can be used in various applications as:

  • insulation systems for facades
  • filling profiles for fire protection windows and doors
  • assembly foams.

Ceramic-reinforced foams are characterized by high strength on exposure to fire, and can help to maintain the stability of fire walls built in sandwich constructions, if the honeycomb core is foamed.

Our offer

  • Intumescents
  • Coatings
  • Casting compounds
  • Flame-resistant foams
  • Ceramic coatings
  • Ceramizing elastomers
  • Ceramic fire protection fillers
  • Design of formulations for flame retardants