The popularity of timber in the construction industry is growing due to lower costs and faster construction. Also, wood stands out as an aesthetically pleasing construction material.
But Buildings with wooden walls, floors, and roofs are always at an increased risk of a fire because timber is highly flammable and combusts easily.
Currently, most wooden panels used in buildings only have a paint-like coating for protection against moisture, weather corrosion, or termites. But this coating cannot withstand high heat and the timber can burn very quickly. If coated with fire retardant paint, it ends up hiding the natural texture of the wood and taking away its aesthetic value.
Modern construction standards require wood to be used only after treatment
Now, researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed an invisible coating that makes the wood fireproof and also allows the woodgrain to show through.
The coating, just 0.075 mm thick, is invisible to the naked eyes but it creates an effective flame barrier when activated by fire.
Aravind Dasari, Associate Professor at the NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering said “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 heated by flame, the coating becomes a char that expands to more than 30 times its original thickness. This heat-resistant char insulates the wood from high heat.