Masters Thesis Defense Announcement
Master of Fire Protection and Administration
Name: Babak Bahrani
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 10:00 am
Location: Smith 322
Thesis Committee Chair: Dr. Aixi Zhou
Title: Effects of Weathering on Performance of Intumescent Coatings for Structure Fire Protection in the Wildland-Urban Interface
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of weathering on the performance of intumescent fire-retardant coatings on wooden products. The weathering effects included primary (solar irradiation, moisture, and temperature) and secondary (environmental contaminants) parameters at various time intervals.
Wildland urban interface (WUI) fires have been an increasing threat to lives and properties. Existing solutions to mitigate the damages caused by WUI fires include protecting the structures from ignition and minimizing the fire spread from one structure to others. These solutions can be divided into two general categories: active fire protection systems and passive fire protection systems. Passive systems are either using pre-applied wetting agents (water, gel, or foam) or adding an extra layer (composite wraps or coatings). Fire-retardant coating treatment methods can be divided into impregnated (penetrant) and intumescent categories. Intumescent coatings are easy to apply, economical, and have a better appearance in comparison to the other passive fire protection methods, and are the main focus of this study.
There have been limited studies conducted on the application of intumescent coatings on wooden structures and their performance after long-term weathering exposure. The main concerns of weathering effects are: 1) the reduction of ignition resistance of the coating layer after weathering; and 2) the fire properties of coatings after weathering since coatings might contribute as a combustible fuel and assist the fire growth after ignition.
Three intumescent coatings were selected and exposed to natural weathering conditions in three different time intervals. Two types of tests were performed on the specimens: a flammability test consisted of a bench-scale performance evaluation using a Cone Calorimeter, and a thermal decomposition test using Simultaneous Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) method (also known as SDT). For each coating type and weathering period, three different radiative heat flux levels were used in the flammability tests. Data obtained from the tests, including flammability and thermal properties, were gathered, analyzed, and compared to non-weathered specimens.
The results revealed visible effects of weathering on pre (and up to)-ignition flammability and intumescent properties, especially decreases in Time to Ignition (TTI), Time to Form Intumescent (tintu.), and (maximum) Intumescent Height (Hintu.) values in weathered specimens. These results validated that ignition resistance of the coating layers decreases according to weathering exposure. On the other hand, the obtained results from weathered specimens for the post-ignition flammability properties, especially Peak Heat Release Rate (PHRR) and Effective Heat of Combustion (EHC) did not show a significant difference in comparison to the non-weathered samples. These results did not support the second concern, and consequently the coating layer did not act as a combustible fuel in the weathering period.