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New Fireproofing Technology Increases Building's Support Structure

A report on the collapse of the World Trade Center released this week by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) calls on government agencies and organizations that develop fire safety standards for tall buildings and other steel structures to update building safety codes to require new fireproofing technology that will significantly increase the time a building's support structure remains intact during a catastrophic fire, allowing occupants a chance to evacuate.

Interchar, an epoxy-based fireproofing technology developed by International Paint, a global company with U.S. headquarters in Houston, TX, is a prime example of what the NIST report recommends.

When applied to steel, this next-generation intumescent coating looks and applies like a typical paint product. But when exposed to extreme heat fires, the coating undergoes a thermal chemical reaction that causes it to swell and form a thick insulative barrier called "char," preventing even the hottest fires from undermining the critical steel support structure of the building. Interchar's epoxy base provides a strong, durable bond that will keep the protective material in place even in the event of a violent explosion scenario.

And because the thin-film fireproofing dries to a smooth finish, in can be painted to make it aesthetically acceptable even in exposed steel designs.

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