A lightweight, fire-resistant maritime cladding that can withstand temperatures of more than 1000°C developed by the CSIRO, could also have building applications while also helping to reduce carbon emissions.

The prototype panelling, called Rapid Access Composite (RAC) Plus, is the first of its kind in the world and uses a thermal protective coating that can withstand temperatures of over 1000°C and remain structurally stronger than conventional fire protection coatings.

The innovative panels are also reversible and can repel water, potentially doubling their service life. The current design is specific for high speed aluminium ships, but the composite material has the potential to be modified for construction products.

The material, developed in collaboration with Tasmanian small business, CBG Systems, has already been trialled on two ships and used to replace cladding on another.

Weighing about half as much as traditional metal cladding, the resulting reduction in fuel consumption will lower carbon emissions, leading to greener ships across the globe as well as enhancing overall operational efficiencies.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall says the partnership showed the power of science to solve real world challenges.

“By working side by side with industry, innovative science and technology creates new value and growth for Australian businesses to grow our way back from the current crisis,” Marshall says.

“This home-grown Aussie innovation has enabled CBG Systems to become an advanced manufacturer of globally-competitive marine insulation products and services, which is now bringing in valuable export dollars from around the world.”

Image: The innovative panels use a thermal non-intumescent based protective coating that applies CSIRO's patented Hybrid Inorganic Polymer Systems (HIPS) technology / Supplied.