Singapore-developed fire-resistant coating Firoshield cuts costs, application time by half, say scientists

A plate of steel coated with a new fire resistant coating, even after being exposed to a 900 deg C flame, allows the plastic be on the other side to be touched.ST VIDEO: JOSE HONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore scientists and engineers have invented a fire-resistant coating that they say costs around half as much as conventional coating and takes around half the time to apply.

The new corrosion-resistant coating, called Firoshield, was developed by scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and engineers from national industrial developer JTC Corporation. They unveiled their invention on Tuesday (Oct 31) at NTU.

Conventional coating, known as intumescent paint, and fire-resistant outer claddings are two main ways to slow down the spread of fire, with intumescent paint being used in 70 per cent of anti-fire materials worldwide, said Assistant Professor Aravind Dasari from NTU's School of Materials Science and Engineering, who led the research team.

Firoshield can be applied to structural materials such as steel, timber and concrete.

Crucially, Firoshield will keep building materials structurally intact for two hours, to allow a building's occupants to escape. This is the industry standard in Singapore.

It can be used indoors and outdoors, and requires five layers to be effective, compared with 15 layers for intumescent paint.

Weathering tests showed a dip of only 2 per cent in performance, compared with drops of up to 65 per cent for conventional intumescent paint coatings, say the scientists. A drop of 65 per cent means the coat will last only 35 per cent of the original time when exposed to flames.

Prof Dasari said: "In a fire, our coating forms a compact charred layer that acts as a protective barrier against the heat."

The coating will be sent to Britain for industry certification, which should be completed by April 2018.

Assistant Professor Aravind Dasari touching the other side of plate of steel that has been coated with a new fire resistant coating and is exposed to a 900 deg C flame. ST PHOTO: JOSE HONG 

The team aims to make it commercially available by the end of 2018.

It will be used within the upcoming JTC Logistics Hub before being rolled out to other buildings within Singapore.

JTC expects to save at least $2.5 million, thanks to Firoshield.

Mr Koh Chwee, director of JTC's technical services division and co-director of the JTC Industrial Infrastructural Innovation Centre, said: "We are confident that the new coating will be able to reduce both paint material and labour costs, and become a new alternative to other fire protection products."