Fire protection coatings are coating systems that are required to be applied on structural elements in building & construction on various industries to provide adequate rescue and evacuation time in the event of a fire. Fire hazards are basically of two types which are hydrocarbon fire (that originates from burning of hydrocarbon based materials such as crude oil and natural gas) and cellulosic fire (that originates from cellulosic materials such as wood and paper).

In this study, fire protection coatings are majorly classified as Hydrocarbon Intumescent Coatings, Hydrocarbon Cementitious Coatings, Cellulosic Intumescent Coatings and Cellulosic Cementitious Coatings. Intumescent coatings are materials that when exposed to fire expands to more than 60 times their original thickness and form a charred exterior to create a barrier between the external environment and the substrate. Cementitious coatings are materials based on cementitious raw materials such as Portland cement and gypsum that are inherently fire resistant and provide adequate fire insulation for a period of time.

Hydrocarbon fires typically reach temperatures of over 1,100 °C within a time span of 5 minutes and hence, demand highly effective fire-proofing solutions. Cellulosic fire protection systems are developed for civil construction and infrastructure projects. Cellulosic fires are caused by the burning of materials such as wood, paper, or textiles. The temperatures of cellulosic fires are slow to rise and can reach a peak of 950°C.

The thickness and the number of coating layers applied on a substrate depend on the fire rating required by the end customer. Fire rating is the minimum duration of fire protection expected of the coating which is typically 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3 hours. The higher the fire rating, the more the thickness required and more the number of layers of coating applied.

End customers select the appropriate coating system based on certain specifications such as the substrate steel’s properties, location of the structure, aesthetic requirements, duration of fire protection required, and probability of physical damage. The major industries affected by hydrocarbon fires are oil & gas, chemical & petrochemicals, marine, and power while cellulosic fire can occur at land based commercial and industrial constructions.

The fire protection coatings market is at present highly competitive due to significant number of large and small market participants. Manufacturers are compelled to maintain prices at low levels due to high price sensitivity of customers in the developing countries Asia Pacific, which is the largest market for the overall fire protection coatings industry.