Passive fire prevention, commonly referred to as fireproofing, is the method of making objects or structures less prone to fire. The word “fireproofing” does not necessarily suggest that the item will not be influenced by the flame or will never catch fire.
The word “fireproofed” refers to a product’s capability to resist fire for a specified duration or time depending on the test results of the material used to prevent fire during tests and evaluations.
Passive and active protection against fire are the two fields of fireproofing. Industrial process plants employ passive fire protection to stop structural damage and pressure vessel heat from turning to the possibility of a fire. The damage caused by a fire that happens too fast can cause significant damage to the fire.
The application of concrete or gunite around the object that had to be protected from fire was the traditional method for fireproofing. These systems for fireproofing are too heavy and challenging to put in at higher altitudes or in areas like offshore where heavyweights are banned. The fireproofing industry has created the most modern fireproofing accessories. The company has also come up with an answer by creating an epoxy-based system and vermiculite instead.
While vermiculite-based fireproofing solutions can be put in place at any level and are less weight, however, the systems are not as durable as concrete-based fireproofing. They should not be employed at lower levels or in zones that are vulnerable to mechanical damage. From the ground upwards to a single millimeter the construction-based concrete protection against fire is becoming the standard and is then followed by vermiculite-based protection for all the other structures.
The Purpose Of Fireproofing
Fireproofing is mostly used to protect the steel structure that houses risky or valuable equipment. The temperature that steel is at where it loses about 50% (or 50 percent) of the strength it has is known as the breakpoint or 535 degrees Celsius. The goal is to keep the steel from achieving 535 degrees Celsius for a specified period of time. Between 15 and 24 hours are required for the purchase or request for fireproofing in order to ensure the steel’s strength in the eventuality of an incident of fire. The time rating, also known as the”fire resistance” (FRP) is the amount of time it takes to finish a fireproofing after it has passed some test in the independent laboratory.
To make sure that in the incident of a fire the properties of fire resistance remain in place as designed to function, it is essential to safeguard and keep the protection to ensure that it doesn’t degrade or be damaged in the course of time because of the elements found in the everyday life of plants.
The plant’s exposure every day is comprised of the following, but is not restricted to the following:
A lot of people may get deceived by the phrase “fireproofing” because no material is 100% fireproof. The materials used in construction are each prone to fire. When we talk about “fireproofing,” we mean “fire-resistant,” which means that we take steps to be able to handle fire-related situations for a long period of the course of time.
The process of fireproofing is performed with the goal to minimize the destruction caused by the fire. We are capable of stepping in during the period of resistance to fire because of the fireproofing. We are able to take time during the time of resistance to put out the fire and shut off the supply of fuel to the flame, and research possible options for evacuating people and stop this process (fire).
Risk analysis informs the decision for making the plant safe from fire. Consider the necessary fire protection for different equipment, including the structural steel of the plant, pressure vessels exchangers, pipes, similar equipment, considering the type of fire that could occur. A facility’s location in the context of nearby facilities is equally important in the same way as location of the equipment it houses.
The Fire Resistance Period And Test Methods
There is no single fire testing method that accurately represents an actual fire scenario Therefore, there is no the most efficient test method. Tests that are standard serve as an initial basis for comparing the performance of fire-resistant buildings and materials.
The amount of fire resistance that is required in process plants is defined by the specific application. The following are the typical requirements for protection in the oil refinery and process plant
Installing structure steel may require the use of a fire resistance period (FRP) of between two and three hours. To attain the mentioned FRP an average thickness of 50-75 millimeters could suffice. Common materials include Epoxy-based Intumescent or light cementitious (based on vermiculite) However, the traditional concrete-based fireproofing materials may be a good alternative as well.
Equipment may require anywhere between 1 and 2 hours of FRP, with a thickness of between 40 to 50 millimeters. To shield your equipment against fires, fireproofing material with a comparable time of fire resistance may be employed.
Because of the gasket made of rubber material which is used in between plates, heat exchangers constructed from frames and plates are particularly interesting. The cover that protects this type of heat exchanger is made to restrict the heat exchanger’s maximum operational temperature down to around an hour. Materials for Fireproofing Passive protection usually falls under one of three categories:
Concrete’s ability as a material for fireproofing has been well-known since the beginning of time.
- Dense concrete
- Lightweight cementitious, based on vermiculite exfoliated
- Intumescent that is based on acrylic or epoxy
Prior to World War II, dense concrete was extensively used to shield refineries from the threat of fire. The material is recognized for its resistance to high temperature and is affordable. However, problems arose rapidly the steel structures needed to handle loads of stress due to the use of the weighty concrete. The long and tedious process of creating concrete around steel resulted in high cost of labor.
In addition, it has been found that the rapid cooling after an incident can cause the concrete to break and, in certain instances, it severely affects the strength of the material. This type of damage can cause danger to people who work on the site and can often be difficult to identify. The use of thick concrete for fire protection has generally gone in favor of modern methods that offer higher performance, but with less negatives.
Lightweight cementitious fireproofing has the benefits of being based on cheap material (vermiculite) and is not excessively heavy. The product is considerably smaller than concrete just as the name suggests, which means it does not require the same requirements for design. But, fireproofing that is lightweight can help reduce the high cost of labor.
The main drawback to using light Cementitious Fireproofing is its possibility that the product can fail if it is applied incorrectly it may leave a gap between the surface of the fireproofing. The fireproofing’s corrosion is caused by the tendency of this space to hold water.
Intumesce which translates to swell, is the tendency of fireproofing to expand multiple times in the intense heat of fire. This results in increasing in volume and an increase in density slows the process of heating, and extends the time until the steel is melted or loses the load-bearing capacity. The expansion, referred to as the char, creates a stronger barrier between the steel and the flame.
In general, epoxy intumescent fireproofing causes the char to expand, which is at least five times thicker than fireproofing. However, acrylic-based intumescent fireproofing can grow up to 50 times its initial thickness. The duration of the fire resistance is measured by the size of the char as well as the length of time the fireproofing char stays in place.
Intumescent fireproofing offers the benefit of being the tiniest fireproofing that is available, as well as having the ability to fight corrosion in the same way as the traditional protective coatings.