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We cracked the toughest requirement in fire safety of composites - flame spread

31.05.2021

Many industries have standards for fire safety. All the standards consist of similar parameters, among which Flame Spread is the toughest to reach with fire resistant composites. We solved this problem because our approach to protecting composites from fire is very different from competition.

Why is Flame Spread so difficult to pass with composites?

Traditionally, when fire protection is required for a composite, the protection is built in the composite itself with different available methods, e.g. by adding specialty resins or intumescent gelcoats. Mostly, there is also a need for some esthetic appearance for the fire protective composite material and here comes the problem. If you paint the composite with organic paint, you will not pass the Flame Spread requirement of any standard, because fire spreads rapidly on a painted surface.

Fire protection without changing the composite material

We started looking at this problem from the outside layer, and solved it with a ceramic fire protective coating. Our unique ceramic technology is the first to cover all necessary parameters in fire protection so that you don’t have to do anything to the composite material it covers. When exposed to fire the coating forms a ceramic shield which does not produce a flame. Unlike intumescent fire protection solutions, the ceramic shield keeps its fire-protective properties even outdoors.

Preventing Flame Spread is not enough

The coated composite structure needs to pass a range of other parameters as well. The RED coating solution also prolongs ignition times and gives the substrate a low heat release rate, withstanding temperatures up to 1000°C without losing the structural integrity. Having achieved all this with a coating, the coated composite still has all its original properties required for the application.

Benefits beyond fire protection

Fire protection as such is never the only requirement when material choice is evaluated. Composites have many advantages, they are lightweight, easily processable, strong, and require little maintenance. When fire protection is included in the composite material itself, with any method, all these original advantages are weakened considerably. With RED coating, the original material is not compromised and furthermore, the substrate is covered with a surface that also gives protection against weather conditions and vandalism. And as a decorative solution it offers a smooth and gloss finish with a variety of colours.

RED passes the toughest fire standards first in the world

We are constantly finetuning and testing our product in our own fire lab and after years of development work, we are extremely proud to announce that our RED coating solution passes all the toughest requirements for fire safety, as the first in the composite world! RED coated composites can be used for applications requiring IMO Part 5 in marine, EN 45545-2 HL1-3 for passenger rolling stock in all categories and EN 13501-1 class B for construction. For more information about our solutions and test results, do contact us. 

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The information contained in this publication is, to be best of our knowledge, true and accurate, but any recommendations or are without guarantee, since the conditions of use are beyond our control. Copyright 2021 © Finnester Coatings Oy.
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