Although many of our homes and buildings are constructed from wood, wood is not immune to catching on fire, but that may be changing with a spray-applied retardant coating. The spray- or brush-applied coating is made from nanocellulose, which is suited for improving fire properties of wood-based materials. Ultimately, this reduces the access of oxygen allowed on the surface and inhibits combustion.
Developed by scientists at the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, this coating could greatly impact construction materials.
The coating is based on HefCel technology (High-Consistency Enzymatic Fibrillation of Cellulose) and was patented by VTT. This technology produces nanocellulose from wood-based pulp. The researchers reported this gel-like nanocellulose has 10 times the solids content of similar materials.
When applied to wood, in which the nanocellulose naturally adheres to, the coating keeps an airtight barrier so oxygen is not allowed to touch the wood’s surface. The researchers believe this could be useful when mixed with a pigment and applied to wood in either spray form or brushed on with paint or stain.
The HefCel-based coating has performed as expected in current lab tests, and with new piloting equipment, VTT has been able to manufacture larger HefCel batches.
Currently, the scientists are trying to make the process even more simple and efficient, while also looking for an industry partner to help commercialize their technology.
Filed Under: Product design