FSA FIRECOAT Invention by CI Prof Guan Yeoh and his team

New paint protecting homes from fires

A new fire-retardant paint, formulated by engineers led by CSI Chief Investigator Professor Guan Yeoh, has become the first to pass a stringent Australian standard test that simulates a bushfire attack.

The paint, which is now on sale at selected Bunnings stores, achieved the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 40 standard which assesses the bushfire resistance of buildings and construction materials. BAL-40 indicates that a building or material has been tested and approved to withstand higher levels of radiant heat (up to 40kW/m2) and ember attack during a bushfire, and therefore provides increased protection against bushfires in areas prone to extreme fire conditions.

The resulting product is a type of intumescent paint which means it is designed to expand as a result of heat exposure. The specific chemicals in the paint also produce a thick layer of char which offers an insulating barrier and effectively deflects the heat from the fire away.

One of the key ingredients of FSA FIRECOAT is Carbon thus the product is only available in grey. But any standard coloured topcoat can be applied without affecting the fire-retardant properties.

Professor Yeoh led the team that spent nearly five years perfecting the formula to ensure the paint incorporates the best fire-retardant properties. Prof. Yeoh says the new fire-retardant paint could help prevent bushfires from spreading over a wider area, given the fact it protects buildings from burning down.

“If a building is not protected in any way and it starts to burn then it can become a source of heat for the fire to continue, like a chain reaction,” he say, “So we can say this paint assists in limiting the spread of bushfires because it prevents a building from igniting and therefore compounding the original fire. Many people are saying that we are currently experiencing a dry season. But when it is a dry season, that often means that bushfires are just around the corner. We wanted to push the boundary with this paint so we did tests on probably 200 different formulas in the first couple of years of research before we arrived at the best one. That was using very high-grade materials, which would have made the paint too expensive to produce, so we then tested again with more commercially available ingredients to ensure we got the same performance in a final product that people can afford.”

Find out more about FSA Firecoat on FSA Firecoat – Ground-breaking, fire-retardant undercoat paint




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