Wood is an important construction material (over 70% of people in the developed world live in timber frame housing) as it performs well as an engineering material and compared to other commonly used construction materials it is more sustainable. However, timber is combustible, unlike concrete or steel, and this has significant implications for how it is used within the construction industry as the fire performance (surface spread of flame and structural integrity) must be considered for all building applications.
In Europe there have been a number of serious fires involving buildings based around structural timber frame (~2.5 million reported fires p.a. causing 20-25,000 deaths and 250-500,000 injuries of which over 50% is attributed to fires in timber frame buildings in Europe at a cost of between 0.2-0.3% of GDP or ~€100 billion in Europe ).
There is significant industry concern that existing protective wood coating products do not provide the levels of performance (fire resistance) needed to satisfy the increased use of timber for structures due to sustainability benefits.
Therefore there is a need to develop protective coating systems with enhanced fire resistance which will help to maintain or prolong structural integrity of timber in a fire situation, thus increasing time available for safe evacuation and increased potential to keep structure/time for fire service to arrive.
The REACTAFIRE project aims to overcome the limitations associated with currently used fire protection coatings by developing a unique advanced timber coating which will act to provide at least 60 minutes resistance to fire. This will be done by forming a durable wood char layer which will provide sufficient insulation to prevent further char damage. The result of which will serve to prolong the remaining timber integrity thus increasing the time available for safer evacuation from a building.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs
TW12 2NP Hampton
W1T 4BQ London