Considerable research goes into developing more effective fire prevention systems. Fire resistant paints and coatings are a valuable part of a building fire safety plan, and manufacturers are constantly pushing their performance.
How do paint manufacturers judge the performance of a fire resistant paint? Simple: fire resistance tests.
The effective properties of fire protective coatings are often measured by comparison testing. First, fire resistance tests are performed on standardized materials that have not been coated with the special paints. Once the data has been gathered the tests are run again, this time on materials that have received a coating of the fire protective paints.
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) developed this standard test for building materials. ASTM E119 measures the amount of time that building materials can contain a fire and/or retain their structural integrity. The test notes various factors, such as how much heat and hot gasses are transmitted through a material. The effects of fire on the material’s load-bearing capacity is also measured.
This test alone does not measure the amount of smoke and other combustion products through the material, nor does the test measure the degree of flame spread. To see how materials affect these important properties of a fire, and how well a fire protective coating enhances the properties of the coated material, other fire resistance tests are required.
Coming Up: More Fire Resistance Tests