The Importance of Fire Resistance in Concrete
Improved health and safety measures, including an increase in the number of smoke alarms, mean that commercial fires are now much less frequent than they were a few years ago. However, government figures suggest there are still more than 22,000 fires in the workplace every year in the UK.
The risk of a commercial fire can be mitigated by using concrete as a primary construction material.
One of the most important advantages of concrete is its high levels of fire resistance. Here Madmix, who supply commercial ready mix concrete from our base in Cambridgeshire, look at the reasons behind this – and why it makes concrete such an excellent construction material.
The Appliance of Science
Concrete is classified as an inert material, which means it is not chemically active and therefore doesn’t react easily with any other materials such as rain (and any acidity which may be present in it), oxygen, fire and water.
The cement and aggregates which, when chemically combined within the remaining elements of the admixture, remain inert to ensure that your concrete has little chance of being affected by environmental factors.
For more details on the key constituents of concrete, check out our page here.
This inertness gives concrete the following fire resistance properties:
- It is very difficult, if not impossible, to set it on fire i.e. it is classified as a non-combustible material;
- It is non-toxic;
- And it has low thermal conductivity.
What This Means
Not only is concrete highly unlikely to catch fire, its low thermal connectivity means it also acts as an excellent insulator, which can help your business potentially reduce your utility bills.
As well as preventing the fire from taking hold, the fundamental structure of the building is likely to remain intact so, in the event of a fire, there’s less risk of collapse and threat to human life (or to any surrounding buildings). The Concrete Society has pointed out that the concrete itself is only likely to be damaged at temperatures of 300C and above, as its compressive strength will be reduced, and the surface of the concrete may crack and spall. At 1000C most, if not all, of the strength of the concrete will be lost
Another benefit is that the concrete won’t give off any toxic fumes in the event of a fire and, even if there is fire damage, most concrete structures can be successfully repaired. As the Society points out, this is typically much cheaper than wholesale demolition and reconstruction.
There’s likely to be much more fire damage to any other materials used in the building – and they may not be as easy to repair.
Why Concrete is So Popular
Everything detailed above means that concrete is the ideal material to use in any commercial or industrial structures which are likely to be used by large numbers of people, as there’s little-to-no risk to life.
It also means that concrete is suitable for industrial locations which, because of their very nature, are likely to be subjected to high levels of heat – utilising tools such as furnaces, kilns, ovens, and any business that uses welding torches.
Ready Mix Commercial Concrete in Cambridgeshire from Madmix
Madmix can supply specialist concrete to meet all these needs, including sulphate resistant concrete, waterproof concrete and pumpable concrete, from our base on the edge of Cambridge.
You can be sure that all of our concrete is of uniformly high quality, as all our concrete is accredited, and has received the BSI kitemark, showing that our assured concrete has been tested and fully meets the BS EN 206 and BS 8500-2 standards.
If you’d like to know more about our admixtures, follow this link and fill in the online form; you can also call us on 01954 212212 or email us at email@example.com.
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