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16. Apr 2021 | Application Areas

Innovative flame retardant and water-repellent wood coatings

Recently, a rapid, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly approach was developed for the production of high-performance thin films to reduce the flammability of firwood as well as controlling its wettability.
Wood exposed to the elements needs protection against water. Flame protection is additionally important.
Image source: Marzenna Gaines - Pixabay (symbol image).

A hydrophobic and flame-resistant organic thin coating was prepared through halogen-free plasma polymerisation using a novel version of dielectric barrier discharge apparatus optimised at atmospheric pressure. The home-made device does not require expensive vacuum instruments and operates in open-air using an organosilicon precursor (hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO)) as a liquid monomer. The morphology, composition, and chemical structure of the deposited polydimethylsiloxane-like (PDMS-like) thin films were comprehensively evaluated. The samples showed remarkable cross-linking.

Fire retardancy and water repellency applications

This strategy made it possible to achieve the desired characteristics within a concise treatment time. The modifications include the increase in the static contact angle of super-hydrophilic firwood surfaces to 137.73°, enhancement of the surface roughness from 573 pm to 22.5 nm, and a significant reduction in the maximum rate of wood thermal decomposition from 0.94 to 0.65 mg min−1. The thermal stability was improved without altering the aspect ratio or colour surface. Therefore, the plasma-synthesized PHMDSO layers prepared by this device could be a promising candidate for fire retardancy and water repellency applications.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 151, February 2021.

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