Structural steel protection
Although steel does not contribute to fire propagation, it could lose its bearing strength. This could endanger the structural stability of the building. The temperature at which this happens is called ‘critical steel temperature’. Buildings that sit on a steel construction without fireproof treatment, will collapse very quickly.
Steel constructions can be made fireproof in 3 ways:
- Fireproof mortar (cementitious)
- Fireproof plate (fireproof plate material)
- Fireproof coating (Intumescent)
Certain applications ensure that steel maintains its bearing strength during a certain amount of time. Depending on the profile factor of the steel that needs to be treated and the critical steel temperature, it is possible to realise, for example with a coating, a fire-resistance of no less than 3 hours.
Cementitious fire hosing
Cementitious fire hosing offers in a quick and efficient manner 240 minutes maximum of fire protection to constructural steelwork. It is used in commercial and petrochemical industries and in tunnels. It is highly resistant to impact and wear and tear, but flexible enough to implement design changes without high costs or a delay in projects.
The mortar can be applied in areas with reduced exposure to the elements during the construction phase of the project. It can also be applied on steel and concrete frames, metal floors or roofing and return air plenums.
Fireproof Plate material
In case of fireproof plate material, the steel is encased with plates. This system is sustainable, waterproof, and can contribute to better acoustics. The somewhat heavier plates can be finished aesthetically without any pre-treatment (for example, with paint or plaster).
Applying fire protective plate material provides in a cost-efficient manner, 240 minutes maximum of fire protection to structural steelwork.
Intumescent coatings can offer 120 minutes maximum of fire protection to structural steelwork. At normal temperatures it looks like paint (it is nowadays even available in a glossy finish). When the temperature strongly increases due to fire, then the coating will expand through a chemical reaction no less than 50 times. The foam-like coating insulates the steelwork from the high temperatures.