Fireproofing Materials Database and Design Tool for Petroleum Refineries

Photo of Adam Dirth, Kenan Dokuyucu, Justin Toombs, Derek Wong (Team Leader) Students: Adam Dirth, Kenan Dokuyucu, Justin Toombs, Derek Wong (Team Leader)

Sponsor: Shell Global Solutions

Date: Fall 2012

The major requirements and constraints focus around the application process of each fireproofing material. The time it takes to apply, dry, and cure the material is important in determining the potential loss of profit that will occur due to parts of the plant being shut down. The cost to purchase the raw material and the necessary equipment to apply it is also considered. While process is very important to the quality and overall price of the material, its performance depends more on the physical properties. Mechanical variables such as hardness and fracture/bending resistance is key in determining just how long a material may last. For Shell, a Shore D hardness of at least 50 is desired. Thermal performance standards are governed by standardized tests outlined in codes UL 1709 and ASTM E119. UL 1709 is the guiding standard for Shell since it deals with fast rising temperatures similar to conditions found in a petrochemical plant fires.

In order to comply with following national fire codes, Shell Oil must have proper fireproofing material within their facilities worldwide. These fireproofing materials must be applied in such a way to maximize safety, minimize cost, and maximize the material's life span. A materials database that analyzes multiple application variables will assist Shell in selecting the optimal material and application method for their new and current facilities.

The most efficient way of selecting materials is to create a database. This is implemented as an Excel spreadsheet that includes all of the information and constraints considered gathered on fireproofing materials. A pivot table slices the spreadsheet into sections which can be analyzed based on the user's inputs. The user identifies specific variables that are most important to him/her and searches the database using only those factors. After constructing and running the pivot table function, Albi's CLAD® 800 and Grace Construction Products' Monokote® 156PC were the only materials left from the 50 that were inserted into the database. Economic analysis shows that Albi's material is a better time based investment since it has a simple application procedure (spray on) and is relatively cheap ($3.55/ft²) compared to cement based materials like the Monokote® ($8.00/ft²). Also, since Albi's material is classified as an intumescent coating, it is also naturally corrosion resistant which is ideal for harsh environments like those at a petrochemical facility or offshore platform.

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