Safety has always been a major concern in the building industry. With skyscrapers dotting the contemporary cityscape, fire-related risks are on the rise continuously. Aludecor, a leading manufacturer of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) and colour coated coils, has truly acted as a responsible corporate citizen in contributing to minimizing the quantum of loss in incidents of fire. Its revolutionary fire-retardant product Firewall has already won praises galore.

In recent years, fire has indeed been one of the most alarming threats to urban life across India. In November 2012, Hyderabad experienced one of the worst fire accidents ever when a high-rise in the city centre caught fire, killing 6 people including new-born babies. A sizeable crew of fire fighters fought for two hours to bring the flames under control. There are a plenty of such examples across India. Fire casualties have taken too many lives in our country, and it calls for serious action. Lack of safety measures for the building in the planning and design stage, non-conformation to the norms laid down by the National Building Code and wrong selection of building materials have  proved to be the real causes behind such mishaps, time and again. Many projects, which had overlooked the usage of fire-retardant ACP, faced drastic consequences. Leading architects, facade consultants and Project Management Consultants have unanimously advocated the use of quality materials which are fire-retardant and have proper international certifications. They also feel that due to lack of awareness, majority of the builders in India have been compromising on fire safety norms to keep costs in check. It is an ominous sign.

Since ACPs are widely used in high-rises today, Aludeor has launched its fire-retardant variant Firewall which has been tested as per the guidelines of ASTM E119-12 and the result says that the fire resistance performance of Firewall is 120 minutes. Also its reaction to fire performance is in accordance with EN 13501-1 and the classification is B-s1, d0 which clearly indicates negligent or zero smoke emission levels and zero flaming droplets in an event of fire.  Time is extremely crucial in case of fire disasters. The usage of Aludecor Firewall gives occupants sufficient time to evacuate the building. In incidents of fire, people are most vulnerable to the smoke generated, as smoke kills faster than fire. Therefore, simply put, Aluedecor Firewall resists fire for 2 hours, prevents fire propagation, suppresses smoke and produces zero flaming droplets or particles. Every Aludecor ACP can be fire rated and fall under the Firewall brand.

In case of FR ACPs, the core material which is sandwiched between the two layers of aluminium plays a pivotal role. The core material used in a normal ACP, comprising LDPE, is highly inflammable. It can produce smoke and molten droplets. In order to make the LDPE core fire-retardant, either Magnesium Hydroxide (or Aluminium Tri Hydroxide) should be added to it. Magnesium Hydroxide or Mg(OH)2 is used as a functional additive to enable flame and smoke resistive performance of many polymer compounds, particularly in non-halogen, low-smoke applications. Mg(OH)2 has a dual functionality of flame retardation and smoke suppression when heated to its decomposition temperature of about 340°C. At this temperature, Mg(OH)2 gives off bound water  amounting to about 31% of its weight. This endothermic decomposition reduces the heat generated by fire while the released water also suppresses smoke and dilutes potential fuel supply. MgO formed as a result of the Mg(OH)2decomposition acts as a charring layer that helps insulate potential fuel from heat and oxygen. The relatively higher thermal stability of Mg(OH)2 makes it more desirable for use in polypropylene and other engineering thermoplastics which often require the compounding and processing temperatures of well above 200°C.

Firewall is already making its presence felt in the real estate segment. As fire safety awareness spreads in society and decision-makers show greater interest in paying that extra bit for the premium product, the future of Firewall gets to look brighter than ever before.

 

For any queries about FR-grade ACP, please contact our technical team atinfo@aludecor.com

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