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FP7

HEFEST — Result In Brief

Project ID: 222263
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Spain

Novel coatings for fire protection

Fires cause substantial property damage in Europe every year as well as suffering and even death. Novel fire-retardant coatings for steel structural components should enhance safety.
Novel coatings for fire protection
Fire-retardant (intumescent) coatings for steel structural members swell and create a protective layer when exposed to heat, thus preventing structural collapse. However, available coatings are plagued by several limitations such as poor ageing behaviour, inadequate liquid stability and difficulty in application. Scientists sought to overcome some of these with new intumescent coatings employing nanoparticles with EU funding of the project 'Smart fire-retardant coatings based on intumescent nanocomposites' (HEFEST).

Project activities included development of the coatings with formulation activities focused on type and amount of nanoparticles and other additives as well as the thickness of the final coatings. Researchers worked on increasing the lifetime and thermal insulation of the coatings and reducing the generation of smoke and toxic gases. In addition, the team developed novel characterisation methods to evaluate the efficacy of the newly developed coatings and the coating process.

Methods were used to show that the modified nanoparticles fully meet established requirements even at low content. The best nanocomposite-based coating system was tested in a full-scale validation protocol. The system performed just as well in fire-resistance tests as conventional intumescent systems. In addition, it was classified as durable enough to be applied in semi-exposed conditions.

Most intumescent coatings are produced by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As such, HEFEST technology is expected to significantly increase the competitiveness of European SMEs while contributing to the safety of European structures in the event of fire. Finally, reduction of toxic gases will enable fast regulatory compliance of a new generation of fire-retardant coatings for steel structural components.

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