The Hole Problem with Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire protection measures do not require water, energy or maintenance. Effective immediately after installation, they limit the spread of flames and thereby improve the protection of people and property. Passive fire protection measures are much more than the materials used in construction. Here are some examples.

Registers and fire damper

Fire registers and dampers maintain the integrity of the fire separation by closing automatically during a fire. The damper prevents the spread of fire through the vent duct and the damper prevents heat from reaching the upper floor and damaging it. The requirements of the fire stop sealants vary depending on whether the building is combustible or not, and whether the fire separation is vertical or horizontal, with or without a degree of resistance to fire.

Fireproof coatings

The purpose of fire penetration seals and coatings is to convert a flammable material into a non-flammable or flame-resistant material. The application of fireproof coatings can be done on the following materials:

  • Wood and its derivatives (paper, cardboard)
  • Natural textiles and some synthetic textiles
  • Some plastics
  • Steel, metal structural elements and reinforced concrete

The choice of fire retardant coating influences the behavior of the burning material. For example, some coatings will absorb the heat of the fire by evaporating the water contained in its components. Others will form a charred surface layer on the material, thereby protecting it from heat. Fireproofing textiles can delay the inflammation, prevent or delay the spread of flames on them and prevent their afterburning.

Glazed elements

It is possible to integrate fire safety glasses with fire and flame arrestors. These glasses are designed to not collapse and not let the flames through. Their insulation properties limit the transfer of heat and protect the ignition of nearby materials.

Caulking products

Cableways and ducts must be equipped so that the transfer of fire and smoke is delayed as much as possible. Fireproof caulking is usually made of materials that create a foam in contact with fire. Mortar and incombustible firewall caulking associated with non-combustible insulating materials may also be used.

In conclusion, whether active or passive, there are requirements for fire protection measures.

The objectives of the current regulations for passive fire protection are, on the one hand, to guarantee the stability of the building and limit the development and damage of a fire and, on the other, to guarantee fire control while facilitating evacuation of people.

To this end, the current regulations are very strict with regard to passive fire protection systems. To begin with, the products used for this purpose must pass a series of tests to demonstrate their effectiveness. These tests, carried out by accredited laboratories, involve tests with real fire in which said products must pass reaction tests, luminescence, resistance and stability. If they pass the tests, these products can be installed. Said installation must be done according to various parameters that must take into account issues such as thickness, application or supports, among others.

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