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In the present article, the authors have conducted a review on some of the recent developments given in the literature pertaining to the passive protection of concrete structures using intumescent coatings. Here, the main thrust is placed on the spalling phenomenon of concrete elements when exposed to elevated temperatures and fires.Design/methodology/approachIn this context, it has been long established that prolonged thermal insult on concrete members will lead to egress of water, both physically bound as well as those present as water of hydration within the concrete matrix, in the form of steam through microchannels and associated pathways of least resistance, often resulting in the flaking of the surface of the structure. The latter process can ultimately lead to the exposure of the ferrous-based reenforcement elements, for instance, to higher temperatures, thus inducing melting. This, in turn, can result in substantial loss of strength and load-bearing capacity of the structural element that is already undergoing disintegration of its base matrix owing to heat/fire. Even though spalling of concrete structures has long been recognized as a serious problem that can often lead to catastrophic failure of infrastructures, such as buildings, bridges and tunnels, the utility of intumescent coating as a mitigation strategy is relatively new and has not been explored to its fullest possible extent. Therefore, in the latter parts of the review, the authors have endeavored to discuss the different types of intumescent coatings, their modes of actions and, in particular, their wider applicability in terms of protecting concrete elements from detrimental effects of severe or explosive spalling.FindingsGiven that spalling of concrete components is still a very serious issue that can result in loss of lives and destruction of critical infrastructures, there is an urgent need to formulate better mitigating strategies, through novel means and methods. The use of the intumescent coating in this context appears to be a promising way forward but is one that seems to be little explored so far. Therefore, a more systematic investigation is highly warranted in this area, especially, as the authors envisage a greater activity in the building and commissioning of more infrastructures worldwide incommensurate with augmented economic activities during the post-COVID recovery period.Originality/valueThe authors have conducted a review on some of the recent developments given in the literature pertaining to the passive protection of concrete structures using intumescent coatings. The authors have also included the results from some recent tests carried out at the facilities using a newly commissioned state-of-the-art furnace.
Journal of Structural Fire Engineering – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 15, 2023
Keywords: Concrete; Heat and fire; Intumescent coating; Passive protection; Spalling
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