3M Fire Safety - Fire Barrier Pillows, Putty and Foam
Fire safety is important during construction projects and one of the most useful tools you can use to help make a given building or area safer from fire is 3M Fire Barrier Pillows (medium and large). 3M Fire Barrier Pillows can be used in conjunction with 3M’s Fire Barrier Moldable Putty Stix MP+ and MPP+ (pads and one more type here) as well as Fire Barrier Rated Foam FIP 1 to seal up open areas in between walls and utility conduit and thus create a seal that prevents smoke, fire and gasses from spreading. In its inert state, the fire pillows already create a relatively tight seal, but when activated by the intense heat of a fire, the Fire Pillow’s intumescent properties activate and it expands to create an even tighter seal buying much needed time to escape from the fire.
But how does it work?
The Fire Barrier Pillows work in a number of ways, both while being installed and then when in action during a fire. First, when being installed, the Fire Barrier Pillows are incredibly easy to use, they can be stacked on top of each other and compressed to fit into a small space. Interlocking strips secure the pillows to each other so they stay in place and if needed, the Fire Pillows can also be cut lengthwise then sealed up with two-inch-wide packing tape. Once stacked and cut to the proper size to seal up fire stop openings you can also add some 3M Fire Barrier Moldable Putty Stix MP+ and MPP+ for added barrier protection.
Once installed 3M Fire Pillows will muffle noise and most importantly provide protection from fire and smoke in an emergency. You can see a different brand of fire pillow in action here and firestop here to get a general idea of how it works. The basic level of safety comes in the standard blocking that comes with installation, however, once the 3M Fire Barrier Pillows heat up to 392°F/200°C with a fire, their intumescent properties kick in and they start to expand. This of course starts sealing any leftover openings and makes existing seals even more secure. Substantial expansion from heat begins at 536°F/280°C and at that point the pillow forms a char that creates an incredibly tight seal preventing further spread of flames, smoke and gases. This specific product is firestop tested for up to 3 hours of protection in compliance with ASTM E 814 (UL 1479). Once activated, expanded and once a char has formed, the room being protected by the fire pillows will enjoy a certain amount of protection from the hazards of a fire and smoke which, again, will help you have extra time to get to safety.
The 3M Moldable Putty + and MPP+ pads provide a cold smoke seal and are Firestop tested up to 4 hours (it helps create a firestop penetration seal for 4 hours in a fire) to comply with ASTM E 814 (UL 1479) & CAN/ULC S115 standards and the MPP+ are Firestop tested for 4 hours to comply with ASTM E 814 (UL 1479). At maximum capacity, the putty is capable of expanding a minimum of 3 times at 1000°F! The putty sticks are flexible, can fit into nearly any opening and don’t get dry or crumble and, under normal conditions, they are not corrosive to metal or cable jackets. The Moldable Putty Stix appear to be relatively safe in that they have a low VOC, are free of halogen and are made of a solvent-free formula which produces minimal odor. The MPP+ is more or less the same as the sticks, just in the form of a pad giving you another option for installation. The pads are good for something like covering a voltage box or to cover other uniquely shaped surfaces that the pillows and putty would otherwise be unable to.
An alternative to the putty, or something to use in conjunction with it, is 3M’s Fire Barrier Rated Foam FIP 1. This foam expands after installation and creates a seal much like the Putty Stix. During a fire, the FIP 1 foam is Firestop rated for 2 hours according to ASTM E 814 (UL 1479) and CAN/ULC S115 and like the Fire Barrier Pillows the FIP 1 foam expands when exposed to fire. These three options can help you create a virtually perfect seal and fill in the gaps that remain after installing the Fire Barrier Pillows.
When used properly, the 3M Fire Barrier Pillows, the Moldable Putty Stix, pads and FIP 1 foam will help provide added safety during a fire emergency. They expand to create an incredibly secure seal which prevents smoke, gases and flame from spreading which will keep the air more clear and allow everyone ample time to escape to safety. 3M Fire Barrier products are an incredible safety tool that can potentially save lives and reduce damage in a fire.