How does polyurethanes work in fire safety?
A broad perspective needed
Fire safety encompasses a set of practices and measures intended to prevent fires as well as to limit harm that fires can cause once they have started. The behaviour of those occupying the building is equally crucial to building and product design – including insulation materials – in order to guarantee the highest level of fire safety.
Improving fire safety requires ongoing engagement by all relevant actors. Everyone, from the architect to a building’s residents, has a role to play in making sure all potential risks are proactively addressed.
Polyurethanes industry commits to HIGHEST fire safety LEVELS
The polyurethanes industry contributes actively to fire safety: firstly, it makes sure polyurethanes-based solutions comply with European and national fire regulations. In addition, companies within the industry work hard to improve their products’ and profiles’ fire performance.
Polyurethanes are often part of building products and elements specifically designed to enhance fire safety, as they can be chemically modified in order to further improve their fire performance. As a result, polyurethanes can satisfy even the most stringent of standards. Fire resistant wall and roof panels or protective coatings are only some examples of the highest performing and safest innovations which the industry provides.
MYTHS VERSUS FACTS: LET’S GET THE STORY STRAIGHT ON INSULATION AND FIRE SAFETY!
MYTH: Fire starts and spreads faster with plastics-based insulation such as polyurethanes.
FACT: The choice of material is only one amongst many factors determining fire safety. Product design, building design (e.g. layout of fire doors, sprinklers, emergency exits) as well as active and passive fire protection measures all play an important role in fire safety. Fire safety issues are extremely complex and all aspects – both material and behavioral – have to be considered when analyzing cases.
MYTH: Non-combustible insulation materials are the best alternative to polyurethanes.
FACT: While fire safety is one aspect considered when building a house or facility, other attributes like sustainability, thermal performance, service life, and affordability play a role in deciding which material to use. In a holistic discussion, polyurethanes present clear advantages over other materials. The potential of polyurethanes to burn may or may not be considered depending on many factors, including the end-use configuration of the building products as well as fire protection measures in the building and the environment that contain the material.