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Feb 24, 2011:
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Benefits of Porcelain Enamel

The Enameltec Porcelain Enamel Story

What is Porcelain Enamel ?

A permanent fusion of glass frit plus metal. The process of enameling begins with a mixture of shattered glass particles (frit), which is combined with finely ground oxides that are added for color. This mixture is applied to specialized steel, and then fired at very high temperatures (1100°F - 1600°F / 600°C - 900°C), fusing with the steel to create much more than simply a coating on the steel. A new chemically unique, inseparable compound emerges at the glass-to-steel interface - porcelain enamel. This surface offers a number of significant advantages to designers that are unique to porcelain enamel alone.

A Choice of Color, Texture, & Gloss

Porcelain enamel is produced in an almost unlimited range of colors, extending from soft pastels through to the most vivid and vibrant shades of deep dark colors. There are simply no standard colors. The designer can specify any industry norm, such as a PMS (Pantone Matching System) color, or provide his own color chip for computer matching. Once matched, the color formula is maintained indefinitely, should it ever be required in the future. In addition to color, panel appearance can be further modified with the use of texture. The appearance of the surface finish can be designed to range anywhere from perfectly smooth to an "orange peel" ripple. A third major tool in the design palette is represented by variation in the gloss level of the surface finish, which can be varied from semi - matte, to a very high reflectivity, approaching that of glass.

It is Always Like New

Enamel colour will never fade. A porcelain coating is inorganic. Unlike paint systems, ultra violet rays have almost no effect on the surface color. A brilliant white, red, or blue will be exactly the same color for decades after the initial installation - always an important factor, but even more so where a building expansion is anticipated. In a 30 year weathering study carried out by the Porcelain Enamel Institute, incorporating almost 200 samples, only barely perceptible changes in color and gloss were observed over the period of the testing. More recently, as a result of a design change, PG Bell.inc was asked to produce some additional panels for a project installed 20 years ago. The original color formulae were used, and the replacement panels are indistinguishable from the originals.

Weathering the Storm

As porcelain enamel is unaffected by acids and alkali, the more aggressive an environment, the more the reason for selecting this material. Salt water environments, as found in coastal areas, do not detract from panel serviceability. Atmospheric pollution, whether it is from auto exhausts, or from nearby industries, has no affect on porcelain gloss or color, whereas painted systems may look dull and listless within a relatively short time. Porcelain enamel has the same coefficient of expansion as steel. Therefore no special design considerations are required to accommodate thermal movements in the wall system. The same panels have been used from Alaska to southern Asia.

Safety First

Porcelain enamel is completely fireproof, with a zero flame spread rating. The surface does not emit toxic fumes when burned. For this reason, porcelain is regularly specified as an architectural surface in high traffic areas (subway systems, airports,...) where the protection of people is a prime concern.

Vandals, Make My Day

Not only does porcelain stand up well to the attacks of Mother Nature, it also resists the abuses of people that our buildings are designed to service. Although no material is totally vandal proof, porcelain enamel will resist defacing like few other products available in the architectural marketplace. The hard surface is cut and scratch resistant. Knives, keys, and other mental objects will not scratch these panels. Since the panel surface is essentially sealed glass, graffiti with markers or spray paint is easily removed with solvent or ordinary glass cleaner. A defaced wall can be restored to its original condition with minimal effort.

Very simply, porcelain enamel is produced from natural, inorganic raw materials. It resists bacteria growth, abrasion, corrosion, thermal shocks, weather effects, acids, and alkali. It is colorfast, odorless, and nontoxic. Porcelain enamel is almost completely inert, containing nothing in its composition to offend the environment.

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