Researchers Develop 'Fire Alarm Wallpaper'
Researchers out of the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences have recently developed what they’re calling a “fire alarm wallpaper.”
Published in a recent issue of ACS Nano, researchers created a wallpaper made of inflammable materials, that would then turn into a conductor once exposed to heat, causing an automatic alarm.
The team, led by Professor Ying-Jie Zhu, says that instead of the highly flammable contents of standard commercial wallpaper, such as plant cellulose fibers or synthetic polymers, this wallpaper has a base of hydroxyapatite, which is the primary inorganic part of bone and teeth.
"Compared with flammable commercial wallpaper, the fire-resistant wallpaper is superior owing to its excellent nonflammability, high-temperature resistance, and automatic fire alarm function," Zhu said.
For durability, the hydroxyapatite is formed into “ultra-long nanowires,” which also gives it the flexibility to be made into wallpaper.
"The fire-resistant wallpaper has a white color, mechanical robustness and high flexibility, [and] it can be processed into various shapes, dyed with different colors and printed with a commercial printer,” Zhu said. “Therefore, the fire alarm fire-resistant wallpaper has promising applications in high-safety interior decoration to save human lives and reduce the loss of property in a fire disaster."
To make the wallpaper “smart,” the researchers added a graphene oxide ink-based sensor to the back side. The graphene oxide is generally electrically insulating at room temperature. However, the researchers say that once it’s exposed to heat, it’s conductive. The electricity is conducts triggers the alarm.
Researchers then combined the graphene oxide with polydopamine, to lower the thermal response, allowing the sensor to respond to fire more quickly and last longer.
As far as when the wallpaper will be made available, the team says it’s working on it.
"The mass production of ultra-long hydroxyapatite nanowires as the raw material for the smart fire alarm fire-resistant wallpaper is critical," Zhu said.
"To date, we have realized the scaled-up production of ultra-long hydroxyapatite nanowires in an autoclave with a volume of 100 liters in our laboratory. We are striving to explore the low-cost and environmentally friendly large-scale production technology for ultra-long hydroxyapatite nanowires. In addition, many companies are interested in the new kind of the fire-resistant paper, and we will collaborate with some companies to realize industrial-scale production in the future.