Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore have invented an invisible coating that can “fireproof” wood and still allow its natural beauty to shine. Current practices to protect the interior of wooden buildings from fires require the use of fire-retardant panels or paint-like coatings that conceal the natural wood grains. The new coating is low-cost, easy to apply, effective in curbing the spread of fire, and invisible to the naked eye. When heated by a hot flame, complex chemical reactions turn it into a char that expands to more than 30 times its original thickness. In industry-standard tests, the coating generated little smoke and prevented flames from spreading. When the char is scraped off, the wood underneath is still intact. The researchers, who expect the new coating to be in high demand by the construction industry, are now planning to work with industry partners to test the coating's effectiveness and longevity.

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