Australia’s national science agency says it has developed a new, strong fire-blocking material. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization calls the material HIPS (‘hybrid inorganic polymer system’).
According to the Melbourne-based CSIRO, construction materials given a coating of HIPS can withstand temperatures of over 1000°C.
CSIRO describes HIPS as a geopolymer: It contains an inorganic geopolymer resin and small amounts of polymer additives. “Geopolymers are an emerging class of ceramic-like inorganic polymers produced at room temperatures that have the potential to transform the building products industry,” says Damian Fullston, the project leader of the group developing HIPS, in a document on the CSIRO website.
Fullston goes on to note, “[Geopolymers] are not only fire-, blast- and acid-resistant, they are also strong, castable, sprayable and extrudable, making their potential uses almost limitless. The polymer additives in HIPS improve the flexibility and waterproofing properties, and provide stronger adhesion, which are important properties for a coating.”
CSIRO is now looking for partners in the manufacturing sector to develop and market HIPS applications. According to the agency, HIPS is would be ideal for fire-resistant coatings on wood, structural metal and brickwork. It can be applied by means of a brush or spray and cures at ambient temperatures.
The material also seems to be environmentally friendly. The agency says,”HIPS coatings are free of volatile organic compounds, do not burn or produce heat and do not release smoke or toxic chemicals at temperatures up to 1200°C.” Further, the feedstock can be derived from fly ash and blast furnace slag.
CSIRO has a podcast about HIPS.