Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have achieved a breakthrough by introducing a novel technology that can now protect the woods from fire and save your buildings! Yes, you heard it right. The invisible char coating when fitted on the wood makes it fireproof. The coating material is transparent and is just 0.075 mm in thickness, which makes it impossible for the human eye to distinguish, thus making the aesthetics remain engrossed on the wood. However, it should be noted that companies try to prefer concrete, steel, and glass for construction purposes due to their resistive nature towards fire, but this mass-timber coated with a char layer makes it an ideal candidate.
The process is extremely cheap, with little to no impact of carbon footprint on the environment as wood is readily available from natural resources. When being modified after coating it with a char layer, the wood becomes a masterpiece to be used without the fear of catching fire as it becomes fireproof. Also, in the case of any fire, the coating material expands and is transformed into a material that is thicker by up to 30 times of its original value.
Not only this, the material is also resistant to smoke, meaning that whenever it is exposed to any fire, there will be little to no smoke, which will also help the people in their evacuation. As per Aravind Dasari, who is an associate Professor at the NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering, “Most timber or wooden panels only have a transparent coat that protects them from moisture, weather corrosion, termites, or pests, and are not designed to withstand high heat.”
Dasari further stated, “In our coating, we used technology to lock certain compounds and interact with the resin. They will actively participate in the chemical reactions in a systematic manner when exposed to high heat, thus leading to the formation of char.” When this char coating was tested and analyzed in third-party laboratories, it was deduced from the results that it comes under the category of the highest class. As TechXplore said, “The coating achieved the highest class that was possible in these tests.”
However, to harness the potential in the true sense, the team is now making efforts to expand the idea further by commercializing it and doing some legal proceedings so that they can bring this incredibly seamless idea to market.