Fire-proofing buildings made from timber materials is of upmost importance in some areas of Australia, given the high fire risks during summer. Although some methods do exist, most involve hazardous chemicals.
Researchers from Stony Brook University believe they have found an eco-friendly solution that also enhances the strength of the timber.
This flame retardant is made up of a phosphorous-based compound called resorcinol bis (RPD). The compound then penetrates the wood in a natural way, interacting with its cellulose. This then produces a wood-plastic composite. This means the compound will stop burning within ten seconds of being set alight.
The benefit of this method is that the compound will extinguish the fire without producing hazardous chemicals or decomposing into toxic byproduct.
This method of penetration also enhances the strength of the timber by as much as five-fold.
The university has patented the product and is already receiving enquiries.