What is it about?
Wood is one of our oldest building materials. However, we have to be careful how we use it in buildings, because it is so highly flammable. It is possible to make wood burn more slowly, by applying a fire-retardant coating to the wood. However, many fire retardants are not environment-friendly or sustainable. In this project, scientists developed a new type of fire-retardant coating. It is a ‘biogel’, made from natural and food-safe ingredients. The biogel creates a strong, smooth layer without affecting the wood’s own strength. The wood only needs to go through a basic preparation process before the biogel is applied. A layer about as thick as a piece of card is enough to help stop flames spreading, and to help a fire go out. The biogel is not expensive to produce, and the production process can be easily scaled up.
Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash
Why is it important?
KEY TAKEAWAY: Wood is a more environmentally friendly building material than many alternatives, but fire risk needs to be managed in a way that is also environmentally friendly. This new biogel could be an important part of helping us build more sustainably.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: A self-healing, recyclable, and degradable fire-retardant gelatin-based biogel coating for green buildings, Soft Matter, January 2021, Royal Society of Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/d1sm00435b.
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