General Electric’s newest multi-disciplinary research and development centre is located in Rio de Janeiro. Researchers and engineers from all over the world work here to solve the biggest challenges facing GE clients in Brazil and South America. In addition to a number of complex requirements in terms of the architecture, statics and building systems of the structure which was completed in 2017, another task was to meet the fire protection safety standards. The use of building materials was an important safety criterion, alongside regulations governing escape and emergency routes, and both fire alarm and fire extinguishing systems. This was precisely where AUDAX, based in Germany’s Black Forest, proved to be an important partner with the fire protection product RENITHERM®. RENITHERM® is a fire protection coating that is used throughout the world for coating purposes in large buildings with steel structures in particular.
Why fire protection coatings?
Steel does not burn, but it does lose its strength under load at temperatures in excess of around 500 °C. In particular, if the elements have no heat protection, fire can have a devastating effect on the steel girders that are supposed to safeguard a building’s structural integrity. Steel can lose its strength in a matter of minutes in the event of a fire, which is why it is all the more important to protect the steel structure for as long as possible and to prevent the critical temperature of 500 °C being reached.
The aim of the solution is to gain time so that people can reach safety and the fire can be extinguished. The high safety standards, particularly for large buildings, set out clear conditions for fire protection. As early as at the building planning stage, the basic safety requirements are clarified and must be fulfilled in accordance with strict safety criteria. To protect steel against too rapid overheating in the event of a fire, it is coated with intumescent fire protection paint. RENITHERM® fire protection paint preserves the resilience of supporting steel structures for longer, so that people can leave the danger areas in time. At the same time, fire protection coatings meet many special aesthetic requirements. This allows visible steel profiles such as supports, girders and frames to be adapted to any building concept as design elements with surfaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and smooth.
How does RENITHERM® work?
RENITHERM® is a ready-to-use material that can be applied in a specified coating thickness. In the event of fire, the protective coating reacts and forms a foam barrier in order to significantly reduce the advance of the heat flow to the material core. The thin coating acts as insulating armour and expands to between 30 and 50 times its volume when subjected to heat. This highly efficient protection delays the time at which steel reaches its critical temperature and loses its structural properties. This effect extends the time frame to enable people to reach safety. RENITHERM® systems are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and guarantee good workability with a smooth surface finish.
What were the paramount requirements?
When the building was being planned, one of the main requirements was for safety and environmental compatibility to be in harmony. The product RENITHERM® PMA 600 from AUDAX scored points there, because PMA 600 is water-based with a low VOC content (volatile organic components). RENITHERM® PMA 600 also achieved the specified fire resistance rate of 60 minutes, a coating thickness of 500 and 1,500 µm being applied with airless spraying. This meant that a total of 5 tonnes of material were used on the building’s entire 6,000 square metres. RENITHERM® PMA 600 meets the specifications laid down in British Standard 476 (BS 476).
Other arguments in favour of RENITHERM® PMA 600 were its rapid availability and a familiar infrastructure. The company CKC, whose Managing Director is Rogerio Lin, was tasked with the consultancy, development and engineering, and applied the entire coating in collaboration with Engenharia, a company that specialises in working with fire protection products. The team of three companies working in partnership ensured that the product was rapidly available, met a high quality standard and that the work was done by qualified specialists.
RENITHERM® made in Germany
RENITHERM® is manufactured in Germany to ISO 9001 and complies with numerous international standards such as EN, BS, GOST etc. With many years of experience in the field of construction chemistry, AUDAX has specialised in individual solutions for fire protection systems. Extensive testing and validation procedures, verified by independent international testing laboratories, guarantee maximum reliability in building fire protection. When it comes to RENITHERM® products the focus is on, among other things, environmental compatibility and sustainability. In line with the principle of “Green Building”, RENITHERM® is water-based, and is free of VOC (non-VOC in accordance with ISO 11890-2, LEED confirmation), halogens, APEO, borates and plasticisers.
AUDAX fire protection coatings backed by over 30 years of experience
AUDAX is regarded as a reliable partner throughout the world when it comes to fire protection coatings of a high quality standard. Projects such as the Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates are two of the company’s many reference projects, alongside the Baltic Pearl in St. Petersburg and the world’s largest hangar at New Doha International Airport. In the words of Günther Keck, Managing Director of AUDAX-Keck GmbH: “With trained and experienced staff on location, good technical support and high product quality to the latest state of the art, we have guaranteed quality, reliability and safety in fire protection coatings for over 30 years”.
Günther Keck goes on to explain: “Only high-quality raw materials from leading manufacturers are used in the manufacture of RENITHERM®, and production and global marketing are based exclusively at the Börnsen plant near Hamburg in Germany”. In March 2016, AUDAX-Keck GmbH merged with Rudolf Hensel GmbH in order to further extend the use of existing synergies in research and development in the field of fire protection coatings to the benefit of their users.
This enables all clients to take advantage of the full range of fire protection coating systems such as RENITHERM®, HENSOTHERM® and HENSOMASTIK®.
For more information, go to www.renitherm.com