Application Drives Research

20 July 2016

When thinking about Fundamental Research and Product Development, most of us will have a process in mind that goes like this: you start with a clever idea, do the research and then develop products. Interestingly, the story of Ambitec (NZ) Ltd.’s decorative coatings takes the opposite direction: what started out as a simple testing request on a range of established products has now found its way into a scientific publication. This demonstrates how the NZ Product Accelerator is achieving positive outcomes in both the commercial and academic worlds, simultaneously.

Driven by changes of Fire Safety regulations in the New Zealand Building Code, Ambitec (NZ) Ltd. approached the NZProduct Accelerator to get their product range of water based plaster systems for decorative coating applications tested accordingly. The experts at the NZProduct Accelerator recommended the cone calorimeter testing method and facilitated tests done at The University of Auckland’s testing facilities. The test results indicated that the coatings are complying with the new regulations, which a subsequent test at an accredited laboratory confirmed.

From a scientific viewpoint, the test results were interesting, too: unlike other coatings containing volatile organics, the tested coatings did not have any fire retardant additives mixed into the formulation. Still, the coated samples demonstrated favourable results compared to the bare substrates, when looking at a number of fire related parameters. The study shows that the tested coatings can provide improved fire behaviour without the use of additional fire retardants. This is an important finding, as common fire retardants not only add cost to the product, but can also lead to other issues such as releasing toxic gases in the event of a fire.

The details of the study can be found in: K. de Silva et al, “Evaluation of fire performance of organic fire retardant free acrylic based coatings applied on various building materials by cone calorimetric method”, Fire and Materials, 2016, DOI: 10.1002/fam.2376.

Bone China Stepped Ceiling, at Sugar Club Restaurant, Sky Tower by Jasmax

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