Researchers from Singapore university develop transparent fire-resistant wood coating

The burnt panel on the left is coated with the resin, while the one on the right is coat-less (Image: Wallace Woon/ST Photo)

Researchers from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a coating that prevents wood surfaces from catching fire.

According to The Straits Times, the coating begins to foam up once it comes into contact with the fire, expanding to form a layer of insulation and protecting the wood underneath.

About only 75 microns of the coating is required to protect the wood surface from fire, but the wood has to be cured overnight. Upon removing the layer, the wood panel remains unscathed by the extreme heat of about 800°C.

When heated to 300°C, the resin coating expands by up to 100 times in thickness, and it is this expansion that insulates and protects the wood from heat, according to associate professor Aravind Dasari from 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. Thus, timber can still burn very quickly, especially if it is unprotected,” Dasari told The Straits Times.

The professor added that current methods of making wood fire-resistant would also obscure the natural appearance of the wood, and these methods might also be toxic and costly.

Source: The Straits Times