SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2009 > Fire Protection

Sparky, the Dalmatian, is the mascot of the fire department in the u.s. and now also for the new glass-ceramic from SCHOTT that was developed to meet North American fire protection requirements: Pyran® Platinum. Photo: SCHOTT

Glass Bodyguard for Sparky’s Heroes

The world’s first transparent glass-ceramic has now been produced with the microfloat process. Pyran® Platinum holds all the trump cards for use in the North American fire protection market.

Andrew Hemingway

Firefighters are the undisputed heroes in the U.S. This can be seen not only in countless action films, but also be traced back through history. Fire protection traditionally plays an important role in America. For instance, the standards for materials used in fire protection require that special glasses pass extremely rigorous tests. In the case of a fire, they must not only offer protection from smoke, fire and hot gases for a specified minimum amount of time, but also ensure that they do not break suddenly and cause injury as a result of the shock caused by the cold water from a fire hose. The so-called hose stream test is conducted to ensure this.
1000 degree Celsius temperatures in the heat test chamber (above), then shock-like cooling with a high-pressure water jet from the fire department hose during the hose stream test (below): Pyran® Platinum stands up to it and offers protection from direct fire, smoke and hot gases. Photo: SCHOTT
SCHOTT developed a glass-ceramic to meet the special demands of the North American fire protection market and launched it under the name Pyran® Platinum at the beginning of 2009. The new product offers a unique combination of properties that commercial glass-ceramics have not been able to offer before; it is manufactured without using the environmentally harmful heavy metals arsenic, antimony and barium and is extremely durable. But most importantly, this glass-ceramic offers excellent surface quality and unprecedented color neutrality thanks to a unique manufacturing process. For the first time ever, efforts to produce a glass-ceramic using the microfloat process have now been successful. The surface of the glass becomes so smooth that there is no longer a need for difficult and costly polishing. It is then subjected to ceramization and is processed to meet the special needs of fire protection. ”With this development, aligning the glass composition, the system and the manufacturing process in a successful manner posed a special challenge. In addition, the task was to identify the right parameters for ceramization,” explains Klaus Schneider, Managing Director of SCHOTT Technical Glass Solutions. Several years of development were needed to achieve this. Indeed, the innovation behind the product and the technology has received the ultimate accolade within SCHOTT – patent of the year – just reward for the hard work and expertise.

Today, Pyran® Platinum fire-rated glass-ceramics are available in monolithic, as well as filmed and laminated forms for sophisticated fire protection and safety glazing applications. This portfolio enables the product to meet the code requirements for various fire-rated applications. Installed in windows, it offers up to 90 minutes of protection from smoke, fire and hot gases in accordance with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) classification, and in doors, as long as 180 minutes. The glass-ceramic also stands up to the thermal shock of the hose stream test. This test calls for the glass-ceramic to be heated up to as high as 1000 degree Celsius inside a large furnace and then, depending on its classification, be subjected to stress and the defined pressure of a standard water jet.

Distributors say these new qualities also set standards in the North American architecture market (see also interview). Jordan Richards, President of Glassopolis, a newly formed subsidiary of ProScience, is convinced: ”Pyran® Platinum is without doubt the best choice among glass-ceramics for fire protection.” ProScience, a large, well-known supplier of technical flat glass from Toronto, Canada, provides the North American architecture market with special-purpose glasses through Glassopolis. Pyran® Platinum is expected to drive the business forward mainly because new building regulations open up new market opportunities. For instance, safety regulations in most states now prohibit conventional wired glass from being used in the U.S. market for fire protective and safety glass, where impact resistance is required.
Godley Intermediate School in the U.S. state of Texas uses the laminated premium product version Pyran® Platinum L in its windows and doors for fire protection. Photo: C. Mann
Pyran® Platinum benefits from this and has already been used successfully in several construction projects. For example, the glass-ceramic has been used for the fire-rated windows and doors in the renovation and expansion of the Godley Inter­mediate School, a secondary school located near Dallas, Texas. Still other schools, an exclusive sports club and a medical professional building are among the current Glassopolis projects that utilize Pyran® Platinum. The glass-ceramic is marketed the American way. Sparky, the Dalmatian, the traditional mascot of the nation’s fire department, helps people recognize the product. Now the spotted animal that once supposedly escorted horse-drawn fire engines and chased away stray dogs will be getting help. Pyran® Platinum will protect its masters, the firemen, in their often dangerous quest to save lives, preserve property and protect the environment. <|
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