The thermal resistance of resin floors is a complex issue that should always be considered in a broader context, in conjunction with the mechanical and chemical loads present in the room. Due to the nature of food production, which involves the storage of raw materials in cold and freezer rooms, followed by processing at high temperatures and intensive cleaning of floors with hot water or steam, it is in the food industry that the resistance of flooring systems to low and high temperatures and so-called thermal shock is of particular importance.
Experts from the Flowcrete brand, a leading manufacturer and supplier of resin flooring, including solutions for food plants, outline the 5 most important issues regarding the thermal resistance of these materials and technologies.
1. high temperature increases the strength of mechanical and chemical interactions
Mechanical and chemical loads combined with the effects of high temperatures are much more dangerous for the floor. This is because, among other things, floors unsuitable for such conditions can become soft and plastic, in which case the strength of the floor decreases and more damage occurs under the same loads. In addition, many chemicals under the influence of high temperatures act much more aggressively, so that the degradation of the floor occurs faster.
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2. the most dangerous for floors is the so-called thermal shock
Thermal shock is a sudden, dynamic change in temperature. It occurs, for example, when washing a cold floor in a cold room with warm water or, for example, when a heated bakery cart is transported from the oven to other areas of the plant. Thermal shock is particularly dangerous because of the shear stresses that occur at the interface between the resin floor and the concrete substrate, which can lead to delamination or the floor separating from the substrate. Flooring systems that exhibit increased resistance to thermal shock are characterized by increased flexibility to transfer the resulting internal forces.
3 The thickness of the floor translates into the extent of its thermal resistance
Floors used in food establishments, i.e. Flowfresh antimicrobial systems, designed on the basis of polyurethane resins and specially selected aggregates and cements, have resistance to low and high temperatures. For example, the 6-mm-thick floors (Flowfresh HF, Flowfresh RT and the Flowfresh SR anti-slip variant developed for wet production) can withstand temperatures ranging from -25°C to +90°C. The same floors, but with a thickness of 9 mm, already have a temperature resistance from -40°C to +120°C.
4 Distinguish between heat resistance for permanent and intermittent exposure
In the case of thermal loads, it is necessary to distinguish between permanent and periodic exposure. Permanent exposure means continuous contact with high-temperature media, while intermittent exposure is a situation of short-term contact, such as an occasional spill of a hot substance on the floor. As a rule, when manufacturers provide a single temperature value in degrees Celsius in their technical data tables, this indicates the upper limit of the temperature to which the floor is resistant in the case of long-term exposure. Periodic resistance is generally higher - by up to 20 degrees Celsius.
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5. floors with the highest thermal resistance include chemically resistant systems
Floors in the form of non-shrink putty systems, which are based on vinylester resin with the addition of quartz sand, are resistant to constant temperatures as high as +185°C at thicknesses of 10-15 mm. Due to their very high chemical and mechanical resistance, they are mainly used in heavy industry.
One of the first steps in selecting a floor for a particular project is to determine the conditions of use. If the room will be subject to low or high temperatures or the risk of so-called thermal shock, the expected chemical and mechanical loads should always be taken into account as well. In this regard, it is worthwhile to take advantage of the support of technical advisors - experts in resin flooring, who, based on their knowledge and experience, will suggest what issues to pay attention to and propose an appropriate solution.
For more information, visit the company's Tremco CPG Poland Sp. z o.o., posadzki Flowcrete page on the A&B portal.