China University Develops Fire-Resistant Material
Researchers based out of the University of Science and Technology of China recently developed a new fire-retardant construction material capable of resisting flames, even those produced by some of the hottest-burning materials.
The research team, led by Professor Yu Shuhong, created a composite aerogel with low thermal conductivity and reportedly substantial fire resistance, according to the university. The composite was synthesized from phenol-formaldehyde-resin and silica, enabling it to resist flames of up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Both porous and resilient, the composite reportedly has better fire-resistance than current insulation materials, such as expanded polystyrene and glass wool. When used in walls, the material could provide extended protection for reinforced concrete structures, allowing more time for evacuation. According to the university, the material can also be used in older buildings.
The research was published in Angewandte Chemie, a German academic journal.
In the wake of the increased interest in mass timber high rises, focus on fire resistance is coming to the fore. The question of disaster also remains: Most recently, a report indicated that cladding fitted on the Grenfell Tower had been downgraded before it was installed on the London high-rise, the site of a fire that killed 71 people last June.