Professor Pingan Song leads a research project developing a lava-inspired fire retardant coating
Original Published Date: 
Monday, January 17, 2022

Full article issued by the University of Southern Queensland.

A research team, led by University of Southern Queensland chemical engineer and ARC Future Fellow, Professor Pingan Song, has developed a non-toxic, fire extinguishing coating that could save buildings from being engulfed in flames.

Professor Song said lava sparked his idea of a hybrid coating that would melt and then gradually form a flowing but non-combustible ceramic layer when exposed to extreme heat.

'Molten lava is like a viscous flowing liquid but non-flammable,' Professor Song said.

'Once cooled, it solidifies to become a ceramic layer that does not support fire.

'Inspired by this interesting phenomenon, we designed a fire retardant coating that can create a non-combustible ceramic layer which can offer fire protections for the underlying substrates, just like a fire shield.'

Professor Song says that the new fire retardant coating produces a very robust and thermally stable ceramic layer, in comparison to existing commercially available coatings, which usually produce a protective layer that is fragile and degrades at high temperatures.

The fire-retardant coating now has to undergo further testing and refinement before it will be commercialised and put to widespread use, which Professor Song hopes will be within the next three years.

Photo credit: 

Image: ARC Future Fellow, Professor Pingan Song leads a research project developing a lava-inspired fire retardant coating. Credit: USQ.