Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Strain Hardening Brittle Matrix Composites with Fire-resistance and High Ductility

Technology #5942

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Victor C. Li
Managed By
Richard Greeley
Senior Licensing Specialist, Engineering 734-936-2093
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Spray-applied fire resistant materials (SFRMs) are commonly used to coat steel components in large buildings. While steel is a mechanically strong material it is susceptible to failure upon heating and requires protection in the event of a fire. Fire resistant cements are often used as SFRMs due to their low thermal conductivity, low cost, and ease of application but are inherently brittle which often leads to cracking under mechanical stress reducing their effectiveness in the event of a fire. A fire resistant formulation of an engineered cementitious composite (ECC) has been produced at the University of Michigan which exhibits similar thermal behavior to that of commercial cementitious SFRMs in addition to improved mechanical properties. The ECC formulation can be sprayed directly onto a steel part and remains adhered to the steel long after a comparable SFRM under identical impact conditions. The new ECC material could be used as a fire resistant coating for structural steel subject to large mechanical stresses such as building supports located in seismic regions.

Spray Applied Fire Resistant Cement with Enhanced Strength as a Coating for Structural Steel

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an engineered cementitious composite (ECC) with low thermal conductivity and high tensile strength. The ECC formulation is composed of polymer and glass additives in cement which when wet can be sprayed onto structural steel forming a fire resistant coating. Once dry the additives inhibit the formation of large cracks increasing the mechanical strength of the coating when compared to traditional cementitious materials used for fire protection of steel. This new material could be used as a fire resistant coating for structural steel components of skyscrapers or high-rises in seismic zones.


  • Fire resistant coating for structural steel


  • High tensile strength
  • Strong adherence to steel
  • Fire resistance