Mar 22, 2022

Making wooden construction materials fire-resistant with an eco-friendly coating

Posted by in categories: chemistry, habitats

Devastating residential blazes and wildfires take a terrible toll in terms of deaths and injuries, as well as property loss. Today, researchers will report on a new type of coating that could limit the flammability of wood used in construction, potentially providing more time to escape fires and also curbing their spread. The environmentally friendly flame retardant could also be used for other flammable materials, such as textiles, polyurethane foam and 3D-printed parts.

The researchers will present their results today at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Home fires account for the majority of fire deaths and lead to billions of dollars in property damage every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Adding fire sprinklers and can help, but another approach is to make construction materials less flammable. That’s the goal of Thomas Kolibaba, Ph.D., who is developing a new for these materials. “This type of treatment, which could be deposited via dipping, spraying or pressure treatment, could make homes much safer,” he says. “The coating could reduce flame spread and smoke production, which could limit damage and give people more time to evacuate.” Unlike most current fire retardant treatments, its ingredients are environmentally benign, and it might also cost less, notes Jaime Grunlan, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator.

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