Comparison of an industrial- and a laboratory-scale furnace for analysis of hydrocarbon intumescent coating performance

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Due to increasing demands for fire protection in high-risk environments, such as petrochemical processes and offshore platforms, so-called hydrocarbon intumescent coatings are increasingly used to protect structural steel in the event of a hydrocarbon fire. For these coatings, the fire-resistance performance is typically evaluated in a series of costly experiments with industrial-scale (i.e. 1-10 m3) furnaces, programmed to follow a standard hydrocarbon fire test curve. In the present work, we propose a laboratory-scale furnace for coating evaluation, which can simulate the conditions of a typical hydrocarbon fire curve, i.e. the standard UL1709. In a case study with five hydrocarbon intumescent coating formulations, the correlation between the laboratory- and the industrial-scale furnace was investigated and a good agreement was found for the temperature progression of the coated steel plates. The physical and chemical properties of the intumescent coating chars were also similar for the two furnaces. In summary, the low-cost, time-efficient laboratory-scale furnace can provide reliable screening of hydrocarbon intumescent coatings, and is recommended as a complementary tool for industrial fire tests.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fire Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Structural steel
  • Hydrocarbon intumescent coatings
  • Standard fire-resistance test

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