Research Targets Fire-Resistant Wood Coating


Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (Braunschweig, Germany), are reportedly developing a bio-based, fire-retardant paint to protect wood. The formula is said to be based on the nanocellulose of pine in the Canary Islands.

Researchers note that the chemical composition of the bark of Canary Island pines was the inspiration for the development, which aims to develop a fire protection coating based on micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC).

The Research

The FireCellCoat project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2022 with 450,000 euros as part of the “Bioeconomy in the North” initiative.

According to project manager Claudia Schirp, the special feature of the bark is its multilayered structure, which is what the researchers are aiming to imitate.

Here, researchers from the VTT Technical Researcher Center of Finland are jumping in to help; they will build this multi-layer structure as part of the project and modify the MFC so that they can isolate the fire-retardant effect. This new nanocellulose will then be the base for Schirp’s team, who will incorporate the material into a “classic” coating.

“On the one hand, I use the cellulose directly in the synthesis of the polymer from the binder, which is the basis for the paint,” said Schirp.

But because wood can interfere with the polymerization process in the reactor and hinder the production of binding agents, this can be an issue.

“The challenge here is that I control the process management in such a way that I stabilize the nanocellulose so that a good dispersion is created, and I can also use the binder for my paint,” explained Schirp.

Schirp also noted that the nanocellulose found here also has weather resistant properties and is highly absorbent to water, meaning there’s potential to create a coating that is both fire-resistant and weather-resistant that remains breathable for wood substrates.

“What we are aiming for is splash protection that lets water vapor through, so that the moisture in the wood comes through the lacquer layer,” Schirp said. “A coating that can do both would be a novelty.”

While the WKI team will be working primarily on an exterior formula, VTT will focus on interior. All products developed will then be studied by the wood researchers at the Norsk Treteknisk Institute in Oslo, Norway.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Coatings Technology; Coatings Technology; Coatings technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Fire-resistive coatings; Research and development; Wood coatings

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