Scientists' High-Tech Paint Keeps Steel Beams from Melting

Callaghan Innovation’s team spent more than a year working with a paint firm to develop a fire-resistant coating known as intumescent.

Callaghan Innovation in New Zealand has developed a paint powder that stops steel framing collapsing in fires.

According to Radio New Zealand, Callaghan group manager Conrad Lendrum said the company’s team spent over a year working with a paint company to develop a fire-resistant coating known as an intumescent coating.

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“In a fire, wooden structures are pretty good in that the wood chars and that black charring slows the combustion processes down, gives people time to get out of the building before it collapses,” he says. “With conventional steel framing if you don't coat it, then the steel quickly gets to a temperature where it can no longer support its own weight and then it collapses. It's not burning per se, but it's softening.”

Read more about the innovation HERE