The material could one day be used as an additive to almost any coating – turning ordinary paint into a fire-retardant substance
Spotted: Researchers at Finnish innovation firm VTT have created a less-toxic flame retardant. The coating is made from nanocellulose, which can be sprayed or painted onto wood. It could one day be used as an additive to almost any coating – turning ordinary paint into a fire-retardant substance.
Nanocellulose is derived from plant matter and is made up of nano-sized fibres that act like a liquid or a gel. It adheres to wood, including painted wood, to form an airtight film that prevents combustion. VTT engineered their coating using a wood-based pulp mixed with organic pigments. The material can be added to paints and other coatings, as well as to packaging.
The company has developed a method for manufacturing the fire-retardant coating efficiently in large batches and is now working on ways to simplify the manufacturing process further. The next step will be to study the suitability of using the technology in commercial paints and coatings.