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.

The abrasion resistance was increased using nanocrystalline cellulose and liquefied wood 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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