The excellent fire protection afforded by concrete has been demonstrated time and time again over 90 years of experience in the petrochemical industry. The high mass and low thermal conductivity of concrete make it very effective at reducing heat input to the underlying structure. Poured-in-place concrete, using forms, is common for columns and beams. Gunite is pneumatically applied to spheres and other structures where the use of forms for poured-in-place concrete is impractical. The principal drawback with gunite application is that it can be very messy.
Excellent Fire Endurance of 30 Year Old Concrete
A refinery fire initiated at a gas oil line from a crude distillation unit and burned for about 12 hours. The main pipe rack near the crude tower at the center of the fire was damaged beyond repair. The support structure for the crude tower overhead equipment was severely damaged.