In terms of fire protection, a distinction is made between active and passive fire protection. Fires are actively fought through committed combating of a fire, for example by the fire brigade and fire-fighting measures. Whereas, passive fire protection provides preventive measures which are intended to avert the development and spread of a fire. Fire prevention is another term which is used.

Passive fire protection starts right from the planning of a building. In the planning phase, the fire protection requirements are set out, structural fire protection provisions taken into account and concepts for fire prevention and protection worked out.

To do this, the fire and smoke behaviour of building materials along with the fire resistance time of building components are analysed. Integrated fire protection concepts are developed on this basis. An important component of these concepts is structural fire protection. The use of flame-resistant building materials and preventive coatings is designed, for example for the protection of steel elements. Building safety is increased and human lives are protected by structural fire protection in combination with plant-specific and organisational fire protection.

Intumescent coatings in structural fire protection

A proven method in extending the endurance of building components is the use of protective coatings, known as intumescents. The coatings foam up when there is a major heat impact and multiply their actual volume. This leads to a formation of a thermally insulating layer around the building component. The intumescent (foaming) fire protection coatings act as heat-absorbent insulation and significantly delay a critical temperature being reached. While the newly formed insulation layer carbonises very slowly, the structure of the building component is preserved.

A major smoke development is also prevented: fire protection coatings only generate a small amount of smoke. This is not toxic, corrosive or harmful to the environment. Escape routes remain passable due to the reduced smoke generation.

Intumescent coatings are used to ensure the fire safety of steel structures. The coatings start to foam at approx. 200°C, steel reaches a critical temperature at 500°C.

Nullifire: our passive fire protection experts

With Nullifire tremco illbruck is a manufacturer of passive fire protection products with over 40 years’ experience. Find out all about our range of coatings: Fire protection coatings: intumescent coatings, base coats, primers and top coats.