Application of nanotechnology
Since the occurrence of wildfires has not yet experienced a significant reduction in many countries of the world, there is a growing need for researchers to investigate and develop improved ways to deal with this global issue. In this article, we examine the uses and applications of nanotechnology in firefighting equipment.
The need to improve fireproof materials
In 2018, fire departments in the United States reported more than 1.3 million fires, resulting in 3,655 deaths, 1,5200 injuries, and a cumulative loss of approximately $25.6 billion.
In the same year, the United States experienced a total of 500,83 wildfires, more than 8,500 of which occurred in the state of California alone. Since the United States is an industrialized nation that claims to have a vested interest in the safety of its citizens, these numbers are surprising.
Graphene: a wonder material
While the exact number of fires and related civilian casualties and injuries in the United States appears to have decreased slightly over the past few years, the number is still considered unacceptably high. To address these concerns, several researchers have used Nano technology to develop innovative fire protection solutions.
Nanotextiles as flame retardant materials
Since textiles are one of the most common sources of ignition in fire incidents, many flame-resistant textiles are used in firefighter protective clothing, carpets, furniture, curtains, floor coverings, sleepwear, blankets, mattresses, and other industrial textile materials and wood. are included. In fact, these textiles, as the most widely used, have polymer nanocomposite compounds, montmorillonite nanoclays (MMT), and as a result, mechanical, thermal and non-flammable properties.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which consist of a hexagonal lattice of bonded carbon atoms, have also been shown to be non-flammable. In particular, carbon layers in polymer/CNT systems act as a thermal insulator and reduce the flammability of their underlying layers.
Nanocyl, a Belgian company focused on the production of industrial multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), is one of the first manufacturers of non-flammable MWCNT textile coatings. The company’s product, known as THERMOCYLTM, offers exceptional flame retardant properties for a wide range of materials beyond textiles, some of which include glass, metals, thermoplastics and wood. to give
Fire extinguishing systems
By using Nano technology in firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and related fire suppression systems, fires can be extinguished much more effectively.
One method that has been studied in this type of system is through the development of different chemical mixtures and compounds that can allow the burning material to break down to the size of nanoparticles. Then the quality of the fire extinguishing mixture increases and increases its effectiveness and strength in fighting the fire.
Xi’an WestPeace Fire Technology Co., Ltd is a China-based company that has developed several portable fire extinguishers based on nanotechnology. The basic working principle behind their nanoparticle fire extinguishing technology is to reduce the size of dry chemical extinguisher particles to about 0.1 micrometers (μm). In fact, this work causes the particles to enter the fire directly and minimizes the amount of material remaining after the fire is extinguished. In addition to being the smallest portable fire extinguisher on the market, Westpeace says its line of nanoparticle fire extinguisher products is environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
As the world’s population grows, manufacturers have met the growing demand for building materials by developing lighter, stronger, and more durable materials that can be produced more quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of manufacturers have not considered the flammability of their materials. In an effort to address these concerns and increase the level of fire safety without compromising the ability to meet production requirements, several different nanotechnologies have been used in new building materials.
While traditional coatings for wood structures include ammonium phosphates or sulfates, chlorides, oxides, borates, or other metal salts, many of these chemicals and their combustion products are highly toxic.
Many efforts have been made to investigate how replacing these harsh chemicals with nanocoatings can increase fire protection, reduce the toxicity of the environment to construction workers, and improve bioleon resistance.
Some nanocoatings that have shown promising results for fire protection include layered silicate nanoclays such as MMT, inorganic flame retardant nanoparticles, silica nanoparticles, and MWCNTs.
Potential limitations of nanotechnology in firefighting equipment
Apart from nanotextiles and new fire extinguishing systems, the application of nanotechnology in fire safety systems can also be found in polymer coatings used in the automotive industry, nanofiber mats, and hydrogels.
Despite the potential of these materials, concerns surrounding the potential nanotoxicity of these materials have limited their integration into more commercial products, and the increased use of nanoparticles has revealed their ability to alter normal immune function, leading to inflammation in various organs such as Liver, kidney and lungs. Fortunately, many toxicology studies that have provided this information have allowed researchers to determine the concentrations, sizes, and surface patterns of nanoparticles for their specific applications.