DAMAGE AND FIRE INTEGRITY TESTING OF ALUZINC

Fire Integrity is of prime concern for many clients.

In any hydrocarbon fire...oil or gas...temperatures climbs to 660°c within minutes. This is beyond the melting point of aluminium and as the temperature continues to climb, all protection for pipework and ductwork is lost. This allows the fire to wreak havoc at the joints on the newly exposed pipes and ducting, thus further fuelling the fire or allowing smoke ingress into the ducts.

Results of independent tests carried out by the Warrington Fire Research Centre, showed that aluminium cladding and foil cladding melt within three minutes in a typical hydrocarbon fire. Even in a standard building fire, aluminium and aluminium foil will melt within eight minutes. However, Petrochem Dobelshield® Aluzinc jacketing still protects the insulation and pipework after thirty minutes. 

During the 30 minute test it was found that aluminium cladding, foil cladding and PIB all melted within three minutes, PVC ignited within 30 seconds.

BS 5970: 1992 32.12.4 “Aluminium clading. It should be noted that, under certain conditions, aluminium clading may constitute a hazard in the event of fire in large process plant or the immediate vicinity, when it is possible for the aluminium to melt and ignite adjacent materials. In a major fire, molten incandescent aluminium can be scattered over a wide area”

Agrément Certificate 93/2971 relates specifically to Aluzink and states “The product is non-combustible with an AA classification surface and makes no contribution to fire or its spread”

More than twice the strength, half the thickness, in an independant test an insulated pipe with Aluzinc fitted with end caps to the correct specification, clad in 0.4mm thick Petrochem Dobelshield® with our Petrochem ZX® profile was hardly even dented when pressure was applied equivalent to someone weighing twenty two stone (139.7 kg) standing on it. Whilst the same test showed that 0.7mm thick aluminium over a correctly insulated pipe with end caps, was very badly damaged when pressure was applied equivalent to an eleven and a half stone (73 kg) person standing on it - not only ruining its appearance but also its thermal efficiency.

BS 5970:1992 26.6.4 advises not to use aluminium sheet in areas of potential mechanical damage.

BS 5970:1992 26.6.4 advises that “Aluminium, being relatively soft, should not be used for protection in areas where it is likely to be exposed to substantial mechanical damage, particularly when applied over flexible insulating material”