Wildfires and devastating residential fires have terrible consequences in terms of deaths and injuries, as well as property loss. This prompted research leading to the development of new type of coating that could restrict the flammability of wood used in construction, and thus provide more time to escape fires and also limiting their spread.
The results will be presented in the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society.
According to numbers of the National Fire Protection Association, home fires account for majority of fire deaths and lead to billions of dollars of property damage every year. While installing fire sprinklers and smoke detectors can help, but an alternate approach is to reduce the flammability of construction materials.
This is the objective of a research associate who is developing a new coating for construction materials. The coating would be deposited on construction materials via dipping, pressure treatment, or spraying to make homes much safer. The coating will have advantages to reduce flame spread and production of smoke production, which could curb damage and give people more time for evacuation.
In fact, unlike most current treatments for fire retardants, the composition of the coating is environmentally benign, and it might be relatively less costly.
During the course of the research, the researcher build on polyelectrolyte coating technology earlier found by the group in 2009, and later advanced by other researchers. The coatings are created by dipping fabric or other items in a solution that contains one polymer with heavy positive charges on it, followed by a dip in another solution with a polymer with heavy negative charges, and then repeating this to attain the desired thickness.