February 17, 2023
Thermal shock resistance is a commonplace term in the resinous flooring industry. It is often mentioned when discussing the flooring needs of a commercial kitchen, a brewery, or a meat processing facility. Thermal shock resistance is also one of the key differentiators between resinous flooring chemistries such as cementitious urethanes and epoxies.
Besides the obvious definition, what does thermal shock resistant flooring mean? To understand that let’s first look at thermal cycling and thermal shock resistance.
What is Thermal Cycling?
Thermal cycling is defined as the process of cycling through two temperature extremes (hot and cold), typically at a high frequency of change.
What is Thermal Shock Resistance?
Thermal shock resistance is a solid’s ability to withstand sudden rapid temperature changes during heating or cooling.
Keep in mind what happens to a material in varying temperatures:
- A material expands when heated.
- A material contracts when cooled.
Now think of this process happening repeatedly and rapidly. It can stress or fatigue many materials and cause failures such as cracking. If a material shows any defects or thermal fatigue, then it is not thermal shock resistant.
How does Thermal Shock Resistance Apply to Resinous Flooring?
Consider the cleaning procedure at a food processing facility. Prior to cleaning, the floor could be at 35°F. The water used to wash the floors is kept at temperatures of 185°F. When the water hits the floor, the 150°F difference will shock the floor. Many flooring solutions will eventually fail in these conditions including epoxy flooring systems.
Now think of the floor beneath a fryer in a restaurant’s kitchen. When 375°F hot oil spills on the floor it can do permanent damage to many types of floors. Even epoxy flooring systems can become pitted from spills.
When it comes to resinous flooring, cementitious urethane is a better solution for thermal shock resistance. It will perform better than other resinous flooring solutions. Spills from hot oils will not impact the integrity or longevity of a cementitious urethane floor.
Which Cementitious Urethane Should You Choose?
Poly-Crete® flooring systems are the cementitious urethane flooring line from Dur-A-Flex. They were formulated for excellent thermal shock resistance and thermal cycling. Poly-Crete will expand and contract at a similar rate as concrete, reducing the chance of the flooring system cracking and separating from the substrate.
Poly-Crete systems have a wide service temperature between -100°F and 220°F. Depending on the system Poly-Crete can be exposed intermittently to 300°F, 350°F, or 400°F.
- Poly-Crete SLB has an intermittent heat tolerance of 300°F.
- Poly-Crete MDB has an intermittent heat tolerance of 350°F.
- Poly-Crete HF has an intermittent heat tolerance of 400°F.
It must be noted that the definition of intermittent is important here. Intermittent means: occasionally, periodically, sporadically.
A splash of 375°F hot oil from a fryer on a room temperature floor is considered intermittent. Cold pool water splashing on a 150°F pool deck is also intermittent. Not only are the splashes sporadic, but they are also localized and only impact a small surface area versus the overall floor.
The floor under a commercial oven, although it may only be on for a few hours at a time, is not considered intermittent. A section of the floor is being heated to hot temperatures for hours at a time, and if it is a larger surface area, it can stress the cementitious urethane and the concrete substrate underneath. In these situations, additional protection like a heat shield should be considered to preserve the floor.
Should You Consider Thermal Shock Resistant Flooring?
Thermal shock resistance should be considered when choosing flooring for many industries and applications. Floors that are under hot ovens, fryers, in coolers or freezers are all susceptible to damage from thermal shock. Floors that will be exposed to extreme temperatures for cleaning and sanitizing should be thermal shock resistant.
Applications for Thermal Shock Resistant Flooring:
- Restaurant and commercial kitchens
- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology laboratories
- Food and beverage plants
- Meat and poultry processing
- Commercial bakeries
- Industrial freezer and cold storage facilities
If the floor in your facility is exposed to rapid changes in temperatures or extreme temperatures, then the facility will be best served with thermal shock resistant flooring.
To learn more about flooring options for your facility, please contact us. Your local territory sales manager will be happy to discuss your flooring needs and help you choose the best solution for your space.
Thermal shock resistance should be considered for flooring that will be exposed to extreme temperatures or rapid changes in temperatures. Poly-Crete flooring systems were designed for both thermal cycling and thermal shock resistance and will withstand these environments better than other resinous flooring systems.
Author: Jes Grant
Jes Grant is the content development manager for Dur-A-Flex. She has over 15 years of experience creating content for various technical industries, and has been featured in several publications for her writing and design work.