Chartek 59, marketed the world’s first intumescent epoxy material, is a production from the Apollo Program conducted by NASA, in which spacecraft was tested in every aspect to ensure that the astronauts and the spacecraft themselves can withstand the harsh condition of space and the extremely high temperatures of re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The material is used in the heat shield of the Apollo.
When re-entering, the shield will burn because of the high temperature due to friction. However, Chartek chars, dissipates heat through burn-off and creates a protective coating which prevents the heat from penetrating anywhere further than the outer surface of the spacecraft, keeping the inside cabin at a comfortable temperature of 21oC. When exposing to high temperature heat or flame, Chartek expands in volume, acting as an insulating barriers.
Although there is not yet any serious fire accident reflecting its quality, Chartek is considered an effective material used in modern fireproofing systems, based on the results of tests on stability, integrity and insulation conducted by the Underwritten Laboratories (UL) and Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD). The following table shows some comparison fire endurance times for various composite panels. The black bar shows 60 minutes for the time endurance of a Chartek-coated panel, which is relatively long.
It is constantly improved and recently has been marketed out in form of intumescent paints and foams; its innovations are critical fire-proofing materials in such industrial facilities as oil refineries, petrochemical plants, as well as in commercial infrastructures and such public buildings as schools, hospitals, airports and shopping malls. Chartek and one of its innovations, Interchar, contribute largely to the development of safer workplace and public buildings.
In normal condition, Chartek coating provides a resilient and smooth finish to the exposed steel structure. In emergency fire events, the materials offer longer time of fire protection, slowing down the process of collapsing and providing more time for the building occupants to evacuate safely. The use of Chartek in fireproofing systems significantly benefits the economy. The infrastructures are so effectively protected in fire events that the cost of repairing the buildings is greatly reduced.
The material also acts as a corrosion protection layer, increasing the durability of the inner material, which can save a great deal of money on maintaining the buildings in good condition. In addition, human damage and injury payment can be considerably cut down since the workplace is much safer. Some of Chartek innovations, such as Chartek 3, Chartek 7 and Chartek 1709, are used in the fire-proofing systems of offshore structures as in the oil refinery platform of Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Caltex Lytton refinery in Brisbane, Australia.
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