Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating

Date:
January 15, 2014
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Using an approach akin to assembling a club sandwich at the nanoscale,researchers have succeeded in crafting a uniform, carbon-nanotube-based coating that greatly reduces the flammability of foam commonly used in furniture and other soft furnishings.

An easy-to-apply, NIST-developed coating significantly reduces the flammability of foam used in furniture. The thin coating is deposited onto the surface of all the nooks and crannies of the porous foam (top), with heat-dissipating multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) uniformly distributed throughout (bottom). (Color added for clarity.)
Credit: Kim/NIST

Using an approach akin to assembling a club sandwich at the nanoscale, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have succeeded in crafting a uniform, multi-walled carbon-nanotube-based coating that greatly reduces the flammability of foam commonly used in upholstered furniture and other soft furnishings.

The flammability of the nanotube-coated polyurethane foam was reduced 35 percent compared with untreated foam. As important, the coating prevented melting and pooling of the foam, which generates additional flames that are a major contributor to the spread of fires.

Nationwide, fires in which upholstered furniture is the first item ignited account for about 6,700 home fires annually and result in 480 civilian deaths, or almost 20 percent of home fire deaths between 2006 and 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The innovative NIST technique squeezes nanotubes between two everyday polymers and stacks four of these trilayers on top of each other. The result is a plastic-like coating that is thinner than one-hundredth the diameter of human hair and has flame-inhibiting nanotubes distributed evenly throughout.

The brainchild of NIST materials scientists Yeon Seok Kim and Rick Davis, the fabrication method is described in the January 2014 issue of Thin Solid Films.* Kim and Davis write that the technique can be used with a variety of types of nanoparticles to improve the quality of surface coatings for diverse applications.

The pair experimented with a variety of layer-by-layer coating methods before arriving at their triple-decker approach. All had failed to meet their three key objectives: entire coverage of the foam's porous surface, uniform distribution of the nanotubes, and the practicality of the method. Inmost of these trials, the nanotubes -- cylinders of carbon atoms resembling rolls of chicken wire -- did not adhere strongly to the foam surface.

So, Kim and Davis opted to doctor the nanotubes themselves, borrowing a technique often used in cell culture to make DNA molecules stickier. The method attached nitrogen-containing molecules -- called amine groups -- to the nanotube exteriors.

This step proved critical: The doctored nanotubes were uniformly distributed and clung tenaciously to the polymer layers above and below. As a result, the coating fully exploits the nanotubes' rapid heat-dissipating capability.

Gram for gram, the resulting coating confers much greater resistance to ignition and burning than achieved with the brominated flame retardants commonly used to treat soft furnishings today. As important, says Davis, a "protective char layer" forms when the nanotube-coated foam is exposed to extreme heat, creating a barrier that prevents the formation of melt pools.

"This kind of technology has the potential to reduce the fire threat associated with burning soft furniture in homes by about a third," Davis says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yeon Seok Kim, Rick Davis. Multi-walled carbon nanotube layer-by-layer coatings with a trilayer structure to reduce foam flammability. Thin Solid Films, 2014; 550: 184 DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2013.10.167

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113520.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2014, January 15). Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113520.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113520.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins