When this current customer came to us saying they had to start looking for a new fire-retardant epoxy floor coating with a lower surface burning characteristic, we said give us a chance to make it happen. We were already supplying them with a coating holding a surface burning characteristic under 55. Now, they were requiring under 45 – a significant 10-point reduction.
In the business of commercial epoxy coatings, the surface burning characteristic of a material relates to cement and wood, with cement having the lowest score (O). The stuff just doesn’t light on fire and burn. Wood, of course, sits at 100, the highest score, since it goes up in flames in an instant. We had created an epoxy floor coating with a surface burning characteristic sitting right in the middle – you could throw a torch under it but it wouldn’t ignite into flames and the flame wouldn’t spread. Even so, the nuclear facility needed more — with requirements of ASTM E84 and NFPA 255 getting tougher.
We went to work in our test labs and after just six months we had reformulated our fire-retardant floor coating to meet these new specifications. We did multiple internal tests of surface burn behavior, watching for surface flame spread and smoke density. Then, we had to make sure we could reproduce the results outside our labs, so we shipped a large sample of our epoxy coating for third-party analysis for surface burning characteristics of a building material. We aced those tests and the under-45 score was ours.
Within a year after taking on the challenge, we were supplying our new fire-retardant epoxy floor coating to the nuclear facility. And they still use this Tri-Chem coating today.