There are various resinous materials used in the formulation of intumescent coatings (acrylics, various epoxies, etc). The paper would examine the uses and features of these materials and also compare their starting point for appearance. It would then examine the means and methods and effort required to change (improve) that appearance to align with an expectation. It would do this in the context of comparing to other specified standards (Drywall finishing standards, AISC AESS Standards) and propose the development of an industry standard methodology for specifying finishes.


When choosing a Fire-Protection material to meet building code requirements to insulate steel for a prescribed period to facilitate safe evacuations and emergency response from commercial buildings in the event of a fire, there are many factors that influence the selection of an Intumescent Fire Resistive Material (IFRM) over a Spray Applied Fire Resistive Material (SFRM). It could be a concern of the weight of the system; Portland Cement based SFRM's are typically much heavier and bulkier than IFRM's. Another factor could be durability, based on either corrosion resistance or the ability to withstand considerable physical or environmental damage. Cleanliness is yet another reason why IFRM's are chosen over SFRM's. But the primary reason for the choice of an IFRM over an SFRM is usually the enhanced appearance of the finish product.

If finish is such a critical factor in the selection of a fire-proofing material, especially one of a decorative nature, it would be a natural assumption that we would have a mechanism to accurately convey what the expectation of that finish would be. Furthermore, when we do, how do we align that with the limitations of the materials and the design of the structure?

The Relationship of the Substrate, Material Selection, and Finish Type

Architecturally expressed structural steel can be a remarkable feature in architectural design. Not only can it create an aesthetic that is completely unique, but it is a complimentary feature to many modern, post-modern, and neo-futurist designs. Sought after and lauded building designers such as Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Santiago Calatrava have embraced the use of Architecturally Expressed Structural Steel in some of their signature structures and advances in IFRM materials have benefitted from these designs. Furthermore, it can remove the cost and spatial constraints associated with including things such as bulky column covers and drop ceilings which are used to conceal unsightly SFRM's, reducing the impact financially and environmentally by eliminating the need for or use of these materials.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.