High Temperature Coatings: Heat Resistant vs Intumescent

September 5, 2022

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High temperatures are present in many of today’s industrial facilities and processes. All vessels, valves, pipework and other equipment operating at high temperatures mostly require a special coating. These specialized coatings are designed to protect against corrosion while withstanding temperatures from 300 degrees to over 760 degrees. This type of coating allows for increased efficiency at elevated temperatures and insulates and protects your machinery against high heat loads. It also reduces thermal fatigue while improving your machinery performance.

What is High Temperature Corrosion?

High temperature corrosion is a chemical attack from gases, molten metals, solid or molten salts at high heat typically above 400 degrees Celsius. It is a major issue in industrial settings since nearly all significant components are exposed to high temperatures daily. High-temperature corrosion usually occurs on gas turbines, diesel engines and furnaces in the following industries:

  • Heat treating
  • Mineral processing
  • Metallurgical processing
  • Chemical processing
  • Automotive
  • Power generation
  • Refining and petrochemical
  • Waste incineration

How can Thermal Barrier Coatings Help?

Thermal barrier coatings, also referred to as heat resistant paint, can effectively protect industrial steel components because they form a protective layer against external elements. This added protection prolongs the service life of machinery and enhances its performance. Usually, fire resistant metal paint formulations use silicone resins that resist very high temperatures. Contractors can also include appropriate additives and catalysts if required. 

There are two main types of high temperature coatings: heat resistant and fire protective intumescent.

Heat Resistant Coatings

A specialized, heat resistant coating is perfect for machinery, smokestacks, pipes and vents. They are the ideal coating solution for the extreme environments found in most industrial settings. These high temperature coatings will keep their finish, even as the heat levels would cause most other sealants to melt, bubble or drip away. They do not act as a fire protector, but more like a heat glove between the source and the structure. This is the main difference between a heat resistant coating and an intumescent.

Common Types of Heat Resistant Metal Paint

There are numerous high temperature resistant paint options available in the market, but the following are the most commonly used when it comes to industrial applications.

Epoxy Coatings

Epoxy extreme temperature coating provides a high standard of impact, abrasion and heat resistance. The main characteristic of protective epoxy is that it does not melt under extreme heat, making it an excellent option for the oilfield and petrochemical industries.

Silicone Coatings

Silicone coating is another type of heatproof paint designed for industrial and electrical applications. It adheres well to metals and a wide variety of substrates. Silicone heat resistant concrete paint provides the following physical benefits:

  • Flexibility
  • Moisture and corrosion protection
  • Non-slip
  • Waterproofing

Epoxy vs. Silicone High Heat Coatings Comparisons

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re wondering which flame resistant coating to use for your next industrial project. Silicone coatings have a higher heat tolerance, and they are less prone to discoloration. However, epoxy-based paints are more oxide resistant, making them the preferred option for settings with harshly corrosive environments exposed to oxidizing or non-oxidizing acids.

Intumescent Coatings

Intumescent paints are used to create fire barriers and they save lives as well as structures. Under high heat, an intumescent coating will mix with oxygen, increasing in volume and density. This chemical reaction allows it to act as an insulated firebreak. 

Their primary purpose is to slow the spread of a workplace fire, making it the coating of choice for offices, underground facilities, parking garages and other workspaces. As it expands, the coating will retain a layer of charring. Since this char doesn’t conduct heat, it prevents the spread of fire while protecting the structure beneath. 

There are two different types of intumescent paint:

Soft Char Coatings

Soft char coating is the most common type of intumescent fireproofing found in commercial settings. When exposed to fire, this high heat brick paint will expand and keep a fire from heating and damaging a structure from 30 minutes up until over three-and-a-half hours. This could mean the difference between getting everyone out of the disaster.

Hard Char Coatings

A hard char solution is found more in industrial settings. This coating is commonly used on the insides of pipes or vents. While a soft char will bubble out and be a malleable fire break, a hard char will form a solid barrier – similar to an epoxy coating. It creates a quick, substantial firewall to prevent fire from spreading through the plant by traveling in pipes or other industrial parts.

Key Considerations When Selecting an Intumescent Coating System

When choosing intumescent coating systems for commercial or industrial applications, there are several factors to consider. The choice you make can potentially save lives in the event of a fire, by giving more time for evacuation and emergency response. 

When inspecting intumescent coatings, the fire duration – the time that the layer will enable the steel to maintain its load-bearing capacity in a fire – is the main aspect to consider. The usual fire duration for most structures ranges from 30 minutes to 120 minutes, and most intumescent paints can withstand high temperatures within that time range. 

Another critical consideration is the durability of the intumescent coating. The protective layer may be subject to environmental conditions that affect its performance during its lifetime. Therefore, a proper application process is necessary to prevent premature weathering that may negatively impact the coating’s fire protection properties.

Regardless of whether you choose a heat resistant coating or an intumescent, the key to proper protection is appropriate application. The surface needs to be prepared before the contractors apply the protective layer.

What is the Best Heat Resistant Coating Suited for Structural Metals?

The type of paint that should be used also depends on the environment and the surface. Each high temperature coating has its pros and cons, and every product has a different temperature tolerance. Some coatings can withstand 300 degrees, while others can tolerate more than 700 degrees. Thus, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of professionals when it comes to heat resistance. Experts will evaluate the surface before recommending the proper fire proof spray paint and other protective coatings. This assessment allows them to determine the maximum temperature the surface reaches during its operation. With this information, contractors will recommend the best product that is suitable for a specific application.

Enhance Steelwork Heat Resistance With the Help of Raider Painting

At Raider Painting, we have extensive industry knowledge of these specialized coatings, including how they need to be primed or how many coats are needed to achieve the proper fire rating. 

For tips on keeping your hot equipment, surfaces, and environments looking and operating optimally, call the experts at Raider Painting. We are the leading painting and coating company in the U.S, providing commercial and industrial facilities tailored solutions for various concerns. Aside from high resistance coatings, we also offer waterproofing, tank lining, FDA/USDA approved coatings and heat resistant deck paint applications.

When you choose to partner with us for your next heat resistant coating project, rest assured that you are in good hands. Our contractors have numerous years of hands-on experience providing hundreds of facilities with high-temperature coatings, whether high-resistant paint or intumescent. 

Since 1983, we have proudly serviced clients from various geographic locales and weather conditions. From the initial consultation to project completion, the experts at Raider Painting are with you every step of the way, aiming to provide the best possible service that guarantees your complete satisfaction. Our work doesn’t end unless our clients are 100 percent happy with the project’s outcome.

Please feel free to browse our website to learn more about our company, our services and the industries we serve. 

Trust us to protect your staff and your structure. Call us today at 877-724-2474. You can also fill out our online form to get in touch with our estimating department to get your free estimate.

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