USQ gets ARC fellowship for fire-retardant buildings
October 25, 2019 - Australia
A researcher from University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has got the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship for developing potentially life-saving technology of fire-retardant thermal insulation foams for safer buildings. ARC Future Fellowships support mid-career researchers doing high quality research of national and international interest.
Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced the ARC Future Fellowships, including $888,000 in recognition of USQ’s Dr. Pingan Song and his role in developing potentially life-saving technology. The research endeavour, led by USQ Materials and Manufacturing Professor Hao Wang, aims to develop advanced fire-retardant coatings to be applied to rigid polymer foam-based building materials.
ARC Future Fellowships are designed to support excellent mid-career researchers to undertake high quality research of national and international interest.
Song, an expert in bio-nano polymers, said buildings around the world still contained the same combustible cladding and insulation materials, which put dwellers at risk of fire.
“Almost all building thermal insulation materials are made from polymer foams, such as polyurethane and polystyrene foams,” Song said. “Unfortunately, these polymers are intrinsically flammable and pose a high fire risk.”
Song is part of an international research team that includes Zhejiang University (China), University of Lille (France), Texas A&M University (US), University of Auckland (New Zealand), University of New South Wales, Deakin University, The University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland.
The research endeavour, led by USQ Materials and Manufacturing Professor Hao Wang, aims to develop advanced fire-retardant coatings to be applied to rigid polymer foam-based building materials. “When exposure to fire, the front side of the developed foam rapidly carbonises to form an intact char layer as a barrier to stop the burning,” Wang said. “At the same time, the non-fire side keeps its original look.”
“We believe these foams could replace the existing flammable ones, and bring significant benefits by reducing energy consumption and costs associated with building fires,” Wang added.