February 23, 2024
Researchers have made a life-saving breakthrough in fire retardant technology that 'could make homes safer': 'Cuts off oxygen supply to fires'

An eco-friendly flame retardant can give homeowners more time to escape a fire and help reduce the potential for fire to spread.

Wildfires cost the United States $394 billion to $893 billion each year, and rising global temperatures, longer droughts and more lightning are causing an increase in these natural disasters – so much so that nearly a decade The U.S. Forest Service states that fire seasons are year-round.

In 2022, Texas A&M University postdoctoral researcher Thomas Kolibaba demonstrated a breakthrough in limiting the flammability of wood used in the construction of homes and buildings at the American Chemical Society spring conference.

Improving on polyelectrolyte coating technology developed by Jaime Grullán’s laboratory in 2009 and pioneered by others, scientists in laboratory tests reduced the amount of heat released by treated wood during burning and reduced smoke production by 56%. Did, “to an unusually large degree”. To Kolibaba.

The treated wood developed a surface layer of char, which was important for the results. In practice, this can limit fire damage and reduce the spread of fire, especially for those who do not have the ability to build their home into a dug-out hill.

“This type of treatment, which can be deposited through dipping, spraying or pressure treatment, can make homes much safer,” Kolibaba said.

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According to AZoM, the retardant is an aqueous solution composed of “the monomer hydroxyethyl methacrylate phosphate, the positively charged polymer polyethyleneimine, and a photoinitiator called TPO.” Plywood was soaked in it and then placed under ultraviolet light, causing the TPO to “transform into a negatively charged polymer, which then developed a polyelectrolyte complex with the PEI.”

“The char helps protect the underlying wood because it can’t combust any further, and it prevents the heat from going further into the wood,” Kolibaba said. “Meanwhile, the nitrogen-containing component that is mixed with it decomposes and produces a lot of non-flammable gas. That fall absorbs some of the heat energy from the fire, and the non-flammable gas also cuts off the oxygen supply to the fire.

AZoM said the flame retardant could be used as a resin to make 3D-printed parts, and Grunlan said it could be water-resistant, water-repellent and antifungal. Other potential products include flame-retardant furniture and clothing, and the aviation and automobile industries may also find applications.

In 2023, there will be 2,161 deaths from home fires in the US

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Source: www.thecooldown.com

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