What is an Intumescent Paint Coating?

Intumescent paint coating

You may have heard of the term intumescent paint coating but may not be familiar with what it really means.

 An intumescent coating is a protective layer that is created through a chemical reaction that comes from the application of heat. 

The heat creates an insulating layer on the surface of the object and does not require the presence of water to make it active. 

Intumescent coating is inexpensive and quite practical.

It is used to create protection against corrosion on objects made from steel and other metal alloys that are subject to rust. 

In addition to its rust protection, intumescent coatings are also fireproof and have been used for decorative purposes for certain objects. 

How Intumescent Coating Works?

The intumescent materials which are used in the paint will increase in overall volume and thus become reduced in density when exposed to heat sources. 

The result is a fire retardant and protector that is passive in nature.

This means that when exposed to heat or flame, it insulates the steel or similar materials from higher temperatures. 

The materials inside the intumescent coating or paint include graphite or sodium silicate that creates hard layers once exposed to heat. 

The result is that the hard layers make it more difficult to heat the materials underneath.

This not only protects steel and similar surfaces from the heat and flames of fire but also has other uses as well. 

  • Gasketing
  • Creating Window Casings 
  • Retarding or Slowing Down Advancement of Heat Sources 

Because graphite and sodium silicate are relatively cheap and easy to find, intumescent paint that contains such substances are widespread and used on a variety of objects created from steel and similar materials. 

  • Ships
  • Aircraft
  • Automobiles 
  • Buildings
  • Fireproof Doors and More 

In addition to its ability to stop heat, the coating that is created also provides protection against corrosion. 

This means that steel structures that have a layer of intumescent paint will be protected from rust if the paint stays in contact with the steel. 

As rust requires oxygen and moisture to take hold of the steel and similar metals, the intumescent paint prevents that from occurring. 

What Happens to Intumescent Paint During a Fire? 

The intumescent coating will start to soften when exposed to the intense heat of fire. 

As it softens, it will start to decompose and create a carbon barrier. In addition, a foaming agent is created which is accompanied by a non-flammable gas. 

The result is that the intumescent coating starts to expand and creates a fireproof layer that prevents the steel underneath from being damaged. 

This occurs if the layer is present. Once the layer chips or is removed, then the fire can start to damage the steel or similar substances underneath. 

Having intumescent coatings on steel extends their useful life, which is why buildings that have their steel support structures covered in such coatings last for a long time. 

It is also true of any steel product that has intumescent paint applied to the surface.  

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