Aim: Presentation of the possibilities of using silicone polymers as materials with unique properties in fire protection.
Introduction: In the field of fire protection, the predominance of silicones over organic polymers is mainly related to their good thermal insulation and resistance. It is common knowledge that plastic products used in interior furnishings are often the first to catch fire. Furthermore, in contrast to conventional polymeric materials accumulating electrostatic charges and posing a risk of explosion, silicones have very good antistatic properties. Silicones and silicon-containing hybrid polymeric materials are always located at the top of high performance polymeric materials since they offer the most economic solution to coating, sealing and protection problems.
Methodology: The review was prepared on the basis of selected publications. It discusses the influence of the chemical structure of silicones on their properties and the possibility to apply specific types of silicones, such as silicone ceramics rubbers, heat-resistant coatings, intumescent gaskets. Special requirements are imposed on safe cables. This is closely connected with the entry into force of the new PN-EN 50575 standard, which specifies the requirements for electrical wires as construction products. It imposes on cable and wire manufacturers the obligation to provide information about product class, confirmed by tests carried out in an independent research centre. In recent years, there has been an intense development in the field of coatings and paints used to protect steel structures which do not have fire resistance and require protection by applying appropriate coatings or other construction solutions to ensure their safety during a fire. Currently, products used for this purpose include intumescent paint which, when heated above a critical temperature, swells to form insulation foam.
Conclusions: Based on the synthetic review focused on the application of silicones in fire protection it can be stated that silicone polymers have a very large potential for wider introduction wherever materials with very good fire resistance and heat resistance are required. The need to meet the growing requirements will probably contribute to the further extension of their use also in personal protective equipment such as helmets, masks and gloves etc. used by firefighters during rescue and firefighting operations.
Keywords: silicones, fire protection, intumescent coatings, ceramisable silicone rubber
Type of article: review article