Navigation Links
Scientists Create Fire-proof, Eco-friendly Plastic

Scientists have created a synthetic polymer that doesnt burn, making it an attractive alternative to traditional plastics, many of which are so flammable they are sometimes referred to as solid gasoline.

The new polymer wouldnt need the flame-retardant chemicals that are added to many plastics before they can be used in bus seats, airplanes, textiles and countless household items. Some of these additives have been showing up in dust in homes and offices, fish, fat cells and breast milk, raising concern that they pose a risk to human health and the environment.

Led by UMass Amherst scientists Richard Farris, Bryan Coughlin and Todd Emrick, the research team presented an update on their work to industry representatives and scientists from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Army on May 14. The team described the new polymer in the journal Macromolecules last year.

According to the FAA, 40 percent of passengers who survive the impact of an airplane accident die in the fire that follows. The agency requires that aircraft use the most flame-resistant plastics that are available, but were shooting for a fire-proof cabin, says Richard Lyon, manager of the FAAs fire research program. To get there we have to invent plastics that dont yet existplastics that dont burn, or burn so slowly that there is ample time for passengers to escape from an aircraft fire, he says.

When something burns, it decomposes thermally; some of it becomes a gasthats what burns as flameand what doesnt burn becomes what polymer scientists refer to as charthats the solid that is left behind. The goal when creating flame-resistant plastics is to have a very high char yieldmore char means less fire and fewer volatile chemicals being released. Most common plastics burn readily (polypropylene has a char yield of zero), so fire-retardant additives are mixed inthese often are halog enated molecules that contain reactive chemicals such as chlorine, bromine or phosphorous. These additives have been particularly effective at reducing the flammability of plastics, but have come under increased scrutiny for being potentially damaging to human health and the environment.

The polymer that the UMass Amherst team synthesized has a naturally high char yield (70 percent) and doesnt contain any halogens. It uses bishydroxydeoxybenzoin or BHDB as a building block, which releases water vapor when it breaks down in a fire, rather than hazardous gasses. The synthetic polymer seems to have all the desired qualities of a flame resistant plastic: it is clear, flexible, durable and much cheaper to make than the high-temperature and heat-resistant plastics in current use, which tend to be brittle and dark in color.

The great thing about BHDB is that its really a two-birds-with-one-stone approach for a new polymer, says Coughlin. It is extremely fire-safe, and does not contain halogenated additives, which are known to be environmentally hazardous.

This is an environmentally friendly solution with a lot of economic potential, says the FAAs Lyon. UMass Amhersts department of polymer science and engineering has a long-standing partnership with the FAAs fire-safety branch.

The next step, say the researchers, is to make a couple of tons of BHDBenough to make aircraft parts and do more tests. Eventually it may end up in combat gear for soldiers, in circuit boards, bus seats and numerous household products.

We had to work outside the usual chemistry routes one takes to make something non-flammable, says UMass Amhersts Emrick It was a challenge, but once we realized BHDB was a useful building block, the synthetic polymer chemistry fell into place.


Related medicine news :

1. Scientists plan human cloning clinic in the United States
2. Scientists found ancient Human Germ Killer
3. Scientists locate key hormone involved in appetite control
4. Scientists open the book of life
5. Scientists review SARS
6. Scientists crack dengue fever puzzle
7. Scientists push to lower hidden sodium in food
8. Indian Scientists Make Wide-Ranging Analysis And Annotation Of X Chromosome
9. Scientists have found effective brain regions for deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s
10. Scientists reveal the secrets of sarcasm
11. Scientists Unveil Mechanism Behind Resistance to Severe Malaria
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... According to Los ... people to overeat are not necessarily caused by real hunger, but instead by ... needs food. He notes that, while many patients are aware that weight loss surgery ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... A record crowd gathered at the ... organized by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. , The institute, which is the research ... science and biotechnology leaders for the conference, which focused on ways companies can work ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... A novel class of antimicrobials ... effective in fighting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the major drug-resistant bacterial ... small molecule analogs that target the functions of SecA, a central part of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... top choice for innovative, patient centered orthopedic care. Led by John Vitolo, ... your injury or chronic condition, the team at Advocare Orthopedic & Sports Medicine ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... specializes in general dentistry out of Glen Ridge, NJ. He has both ... to achieve optimal mastication. He is also an expert in cosmetic dentistry. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... the Detroit Free Press as a Top Workplace , ... to work for in 2015. ... 100 winners annually, based on employee surveys rating company leadership, ... Workplaces are based solely on employee feedback. The survey is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  IBA Molecular North America, ... distribution of radiopharmaceuticals, announced that as of January 1, ... (Zevacor Pharma). The decision to rebrand the company reflects ... as well as its close relationship with Zevacor Molecular.  ... Health and Science (IHS). Peter Burke ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Baxalta Incorporated (NYSE: ... dedicated to delivering transformative therapies to patients ... today announced the launch and first shipments ... extended circulating half-life recombinant factor VIII (rFVIII) ... ADVATE [Antihemophilic Factor (Recombinant)]. The treatment was ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: