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Endothermic Products are defined as follows in the Glossary:

Endothermic (or subliming) fire resistive materials: contain chemically bound water, in solid form. The concept is fundamental and taught in high school level chemistry. It can also be seen at rock concerts, where the use of dry ice (CO2) is a common part of stagecraft. The chemically bound water is turned from solid directly to steam. The steam, at about 100°C is significantly colder than the fire. Thus the released steam is sent as a cooling vapour towards the energy source (fire). If one places an endothermic substance between the fire and something, which one desires to protect from the fire, the endothermic material will slowly but surely be spent. The more fire, the more steam is released and the less is left to protect the unexposed side. While any quantity of bound water is still left to protect the unexposed side, the temperature of the unexposed side cannot be raised above 100°C. Once the endothermic layer is spent, the heat on the unexposed side will rise. Thus, particularly in fireproofing tests, where one plots thermocouple readings of the unexposed side, one can immediately see a rise in temperature, from the ambient room temperature, towards the 100°C mark, where readings will sit and hover until such time as the water in the assembly is all spent. The trick in such testing is to guesstimate this timing such that one uses just the right amount of the protective endothermic material, to keep the unexposed side below the 140°C average rise as well as the maximum single hot spot rise of 180°C, which parallels many test procedures for assorted fire resistive products and systems, including firestops.

You may look up the other terms written in italics in the Glossary as well.

Most intumescents are at least somewhat endothermic also. Although somewhat contrary to the true definition, both intumescents and endothermic products are categorised as passive fire protection measures. After all, there is motion, during the intumescing as well as the subliming process and lots goes on chemically as well.

Uses for Endothermic Products

Firestops

Spray Applied Fireproofing

structural steel (indoor or outdoor, available in thin-film as well as exterior grades now)

LPG Vessels (thick, epoxy based, exterior grade systems qualified to hydrocarbon fire testing)

Pipe Bridges (thick, epoxy based, exterior grade systems qualified to hydrocarbon fire testing)

Vessel Skirts (thick, epoxy based, exterior grade systems qualified to hydrocarbon fire testing)

Space Craft (space shuttle, missile and rocket tiles/paint can contain ceramic as well as endothermic products)

Problems with Endothermic Products

New Thermo-Lag/Nu-Chem, Inc. related Links!

DOE Notice of Failure of Thermo-Lag Fire Barrier System   http://tis.eh.doe.gov/docs/sn/nsh9202.html

Federal Register Notification about Thermo-Lag 330-1

NRC INFORMATION NOTICE NO. 91-47:  FAILURE OF THERMO-LAG FIRE BARRIER MATERIAL TO PASS FIRE ENDURANCE TEST

NRC: THERMO-LAG 330-1 FIRE BARRIERS (GENERIC LETTER 92-08)

NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 92-82:  RESULTS OF THERMO-LAG 330-1 COMBUSTIBILITY TESTING

NIRS: THERMAL SCIENCE FINED $900,000 FOR "DELIBERATE MISCONDUCT" ON THERMO-LAG STATEMENTS

WISE/Netherlands: U.S. $900,000 fine on Thermo-Lag statements

WISE/Netherlands: NSP refuses to replace faulty fire barriers at Prairie Island

North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network : COMBUSTIBLE FIRE WALL AT SHEARON HARRIS 

Hanford News: NRC fines retardant manufacturer

NIRS: Annual Report 1996

TIME Magazine: Near Misses March 4, 1996 Volume 147, No. 10

NNI: Braidwood Thermo-Lag Backfit Costs ($21600 per meter installed!!)

The classic fire protection whistleblower case known all over the world, and particularly in the nuclear business, has to do with inoperable endothermic fire barriers used to protect safe-shutdown wiring between control rooms and reactors in nuclear generating stations in the US. This was and remains the mother of all fire protection bamboozles, the result of which underlines the complete indifference our society harbours towards fire protection. Picture the 100 odd reactors in the US, a majority of which had Thermolag 330-1 installed to protect safe-shutdown wiring. This was no cheap undertaking for these plants. Then, one Mr. Gerald W. Brown finds out and informs the USNRC that all of these barriers are inoperable and that the testing the installations were based upon was bogus! Of course, this killed Mr. Brown's career in this business. No one wanted this known. No one. Apart from Mr. Brown that is. The USNRC ran tests to ascertain whether or not Mr. Brown was right. Several of the power plants that had purchased substantial quantities of this product also ran tests and tried various methods to get the product to pass. Nothing worked, including putting on more of the same stuff. Finally, the USNRC informed its licensees of this generic problem. The licensees had to spend enormous amounts of money to fix the problem. Fixes included overlays as well as replacements and re-routing of wiring. Large sums of money were also spent in qualifying overlays as well as stand-alone wraps to replace the Thermo-lag 330-1. The manufacturing company, TSI / Nu-chem, Inc. and its owner, Mr. Rubin Feldman were indicted. The testing company was found guilty. TSI/Nu-chem/Feldman went free. Then the USNRC levied a $900,000.00 civil penalty against TSI/Nu-chem/Feldman. They settled out of court for $300,000.00, with neither side agreeing with the other.

What does this have to do with endothermic products in general? Nothing. In fact, although The Federal Republic of Germany mandates the use of DIBt approvals for intumescents, no such legislation exists for endothermic products, apart from a new standard concerning reactive spray fireproofing materials. The reason why, is because Thermo-Lag 330-1 was never used over there and no problems with any of their own endothermic products were known. Problems with their earlier intumescents, however, caused them to take legislative action. Problems with domestic North American intumescents caused us to ignore them. In fact, even in cases where the basic property of intumescence or endothermic effects are quantified, the environmental effects to which the products are resulted in the field are ritually withheld from North American testing in order that products may pass this testing and meet code, thus producing revenue and jobs at the potential cost of lives, which may be wiped out by such complicity. See the definition of the term 'skuzzbucket'.

But the problem here is usually adequately addressed with bounding. If the nuclear industry were regulated at least in terms of building construction, by the local municipalities, who actually enforced the local building code, the testing company that had to plead guilty in the Thermo-Lag case would not have appeared ever. They were not accredited for certification purposes. In non-nuclear building construction, both in Canada and the US, the testing that led to the above mentioned problems would have been dismissed out of hand and the products would never have been purchased, let alone installed on this basis.

Straight from the horse's mouth: http://ens.lycos.com/ens/may99/1999L-05-06-09.html

MAKERS OF THERMO-LAG FIRE BARRIER FINED $900,000

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff, over company protests, has ordered Thermal Science, Inc., (TSI) of St. Louis, Missouri, to pay a $900,000 fine proposed in 1996 for misrepresentations made to the NRC concerning its Thermo-Lag fire barrier products used in nuclear power plants. A 1995 investigation found the company misrepresented the level of involvement of a test laboratory, Industrial Testing Laboratories, Inc., (ITL), in fire barrier and other tests. Investigators found that Thermal Science provided test reports and other documents knowing that they contained inaccurate and/or incomplete information. Results of the NRC investigation went to the Department of Justice. A grand jury indicted TSI and its president on charges of conspiracy and making false statements to the NRC. The company and its president were acquitted in a criminal trial that ended in August 1995. In 1996, the NRC filed a civil suit, citing TSI for nine violations. Each violation consisted of one or more statements made to the NRC which were either knowingly "inaccurate or incomplete." The NRC staff told TSI that it intended to impose a fine of $100,000 for each violation, for a total proposed penalty of $900,000. U.S. District Court and an appeals court have denied the company's appeals. Thermal Science has 30 days to pay the fine or request another hearing. The NRC declared the fire barrier "inoperable" in 1992 after independent fire tests revealed that the barrier was as combustible as "treated plywood" and consistently failed NRC fire endurance requirements. "Working with an industry whistleblower, we challenged this dangerous fire hazard in U.S. nuclear power plants five years ago," Paul Gunter, head of the Washington, DC based Nuclear Information Resource Service's Reactor Watchdog Project said in 1996. "Thermo-Lag was falsely promised to the nuclear industry as a way to suppress and retard fire to protect vital electrical cables for up to three hours," Gunter said.

AND MORE, Straight from the horse's mouth: http://www.nrc.gov/OE/rpr/ea95009.htm

UNITED STATES

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

In the Matter of                                      ) 

                                                            )                                                              EA 95-009

Thermal Science, Inc.                            )  

 

 

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

 

     WHEREAS, on October 1, 1995, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") issued a "Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalties -- $900,000" (EA 95-009) (the "NOV") to Thermal Science, Inc. ("TSI"); and

     WHEREAS, on May 3, 1999, the NRC issued an "Order Imposing Civil Monetary Penalty" (the "Order") to TSI; and 

     WHEREAS, TSI has denied and continues to deny the factual and legal allegations set forth in the NOV and the Order; and     

     WHEREAS, there has been prolonged litigation of this case in both the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; and

     WHEREAS, TSI has now requested a hearing in the present enforcement case; and

     WHEREAS, it is in the public interest and the parties' interest to resolve this enforcement action without the additional cost and burden of further litigation;

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS STIPULATED AND AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

     1. This Settlement Agreement constitutes final disposition of all actual or potential disputes and differences between the parties pertaining to the NOV. In consideration for the terms of this agreement, the NRC will assert no further claims, demands, penalties or causes of action against TSI or any of TSI's present and former officers, directors, shareholders, employees or affiliates which arise out of or are in any way related to any of the matters which were or could have been addressed by the NRC in the NOV; and TSI will not pursue any further administrative hearings on, or judicial review of, this matter.

     2. TSI reaffirms that it did not intend to mislead the NRC in any of its communications and expresses its full agreement with the NRC that it is essential for those dealing with the NRC to provide the agency with accurate information.

     3. The Order is hereby withdrawn, and any and all ongoing litigation between the parties is finally and conclusively terminated by agreement of the parties.

     4. A.  TSI agrees to make three payments, totaling $300,000.00. Such payments shall be made by check, draft, money order, or electronic transfer, payable to the Treasurer of the United States and shall be mailed to R. W. Borchardt, Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-2738. TSI will make these payments in three equal installments as follows:

     1. $100,000.00 concurrent with the full execution of this Agreement;

     2. $100,000 one year after the date of execution this Agreement; and

     3. $100,000 two years after the date of execution this Agreement.

     B.   TSI further agrees that if it fails to make timely payment of any of the above-specified amounts, the total amount then remaining unpaid shall become immediately due and payable ten (10) days after TSI has received written notice that the Director, Office of Enforcement has not received any of the required payments on or before the dates specified for payment unless TSI has by that time made all payments then due. Notice to TSI shall be given to Rubin Feldman, Thermal Science, Inc., at 2200 Cassens Drive, Fenton, MO 63026, and a copy to Gordon Ankney at Thompson Coburn LLP, One Mercantile Center, St. Louis, MO 63101.

     5. The parties continue to maintain their respective positions in regard to the NOV and the Order. The parties agree that there remain differences of opinion on many of the issues raised by the NOV, the resolution of which involve factual and legal issues upon which the parties continue to disagree. Accordingly, the parties understand and acknowledge that this Settlement is the result of compromise and shall not for any purpose be construed as an admission of any regulatory violation by TSI or as a concession by the NRC that no such violations occurred. Instead, this Settlement Agreement has been entered into in order to terminate all litigation between the parties without attempting to resolve the alleged violations disputed by TSI. Each party shall bear its own fees and costs.

THERMAL SCIENCE, INC.                                                                   UNITED STATES NUCLEAR

                                                                                                          REGULATORY COMMISSION

 

 

Original signed by                                                                                Original signed by

Rubin Feldman                                                                                    William Travers

President                                                                                            Executive Director for Operations 

So what happened to Thermo-Lag, TSI and Rubin Feldman?

Links to TSI: This page used to contain hyperlinks to TSI directly. Then came the new and improved name "Nu-Chem, Inc." This name probably sounded less controversial after all the history, which is by now all over the internet. There is also another American Nu-Chem Company, which appears to be unrelated as it is involved in optical products, as opposed to fire protection. So, the only TSI/Thermo-Lag site for the longest time was http://www.nu-chemusa.com/index.html. However, this site suddenly disappeared from the radar screen (last check 14. August 2001) and only led to error messages. It has, apparently returned (last check 25.08.2001). In Europe, Thermo-Lag appears to be traded by the 'Hempel' company. Here is a link to them:

http://www.hempel.com/usr/hempel/hempelcom.nsf/vALLBYDOCID/RBON-4LSBGP?OpenDocument

Another old link to the previously disappeared site is this:

http://www.hubble.net/other.htm

 

Solutions to Endothermic Troubles

Simply follow common procedures in terms of BOUNDING, as the code demands. Add test requirements from UL1709 or DIBt concerning reactive fireproofing materials. Some caution is always warranted, the more organic the products are that we desire to use in fire protection. The more inorganic and basically DEAD, the better. The less voodoo, the greater the predictability. Think about organic versus inorganic substances' reliability. How old are rocks? How old does paint get before it's toast? Ever re-paint anything? And what do you have to do to keep the organic substances effective and how expensive are such measures? If you must use organic chemistry in passive fire protection, be sure that the most common environmental influences don't render the product useless. A certification listing is only as good as the criteria used in the testing. If you test something to be a good toilet seat lid, and then apply a certification label, that does not mean it's now good for anything other than what it was tested for. CAVEAT EMPTOR! There are good reactive passive fire protection products out there, which can do the trick. The absolute dumbest thing you can do though is to go exclusively by price. Check yourself into the funny-farm if that is the case with you. If you cannot see past the end of your nose to look at total life-cycle costs, including facility maintenance, you should get someone else to make your fire protection purchasing decisions. This is not for amateurs. And don't depend on marketing literature, as much as test reports from organisations accredited by the SCC and/or DIBt for certification purposes - wherever possible.

BACK to Products

Firestop Page

Main Page

Contact

Intumescent Products

Endothermic Products

DIBt Intumescent Test Procedure

DIBt Reactive Spray Fireproofing Test Procedure

Main Site

Firestop Site

Code Evaluations AVAILABLE!

Glossary of Fire Protection Terms

3M Fire Barriers

Vectorising Drawings and Maps; Paper to CAD

Circuit Integrity Fireproofing

Bounding

Code Req's for Firestops

Essay on Performance Based Codes

Master Spec. Section 07840 Firestopping

Related Sections to 07840

Penetration Seal Drawings

Building Joint Drawings 1

Building Joint Drawings 2

Building Joint Drawings 3

History of Firestops in North America

Warnock Hersey Experience

Firestop Trade Jurisdiction

Achim Hering Bio

Man Made Mineral Fibres

Fire Protection Industry Links

Firestop Products and Equipment

Firestop Mortar

Firestop Silicone Foam

Intumescent Products

Endothermic Products

Insulation Products

Caulking & Paint Firestops

Firestop Pillows

Firestop Devices

Firestop Slide Show 1 of 10 Basics

Firestop Slide Show 2 of 10 Code

Firestop Slide Show 3 of 10 No Seal

Firestop Slide Show 4 of 10 Deemed-to-comply

Firestop Slide Show 5 of 10 Misinstalled

Firestop Slide Show 6 of 10 Re-entered

Firestop Slide Show 7 of 10 Faulty Spec.

Firestop Slide Show 8 of 10 Proper Firestops

Firestop Slide Show 9 of 10 Test

Firestop Slide Show 10 of 10 Smoke and Trays

Sample Firestop Listing

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning; Boiling-Hot Pressure Washing

ULC           UL

T O S

(Theory of Survival)

DIBt

TU Braunschweig iBMB

CONTACT

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