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This ‘smart’ wallpaper has built-in fire detection

By Paul Grad |

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing, China; www.cas.cn), led by professor Ying-Jie Zhu, have reported a “smart” fire-alarm wallpaper prepared using ultralong hydroxyapatite nanowires and graphene oxide thermosensitive sensors. At room temperature, the graphene-oxide sensor is an electrical insulator, but it becomes electrically conductive at high temperatures. In case of fire, high temperature will quickly remove the oxygen-containing groups of graphene oxide, causing an alarm to be sent out. After surface modification of graphene oxide with polydopamine, the sensitivity and flame retardancy of the sensor are further improved, resulting in a low-temperature fast response and sustained working time in a flame (at least 5 min.).

Hydroxyapatite, Ca10(OH)2(PO4)6, is the major inorganic component of bone and teeth in vertebrates, and has been investigated for biomedical applications. However, hydroxyapatite materials are usually brittle because they form particles, short rods or needles. The team has found that ultralong hydroxyapatite nanowires with ultrahigh aspect ratios have high flexibility and can solve the problems of brittleness and poor flexibility.

According to the team, ultralong hydroxyapatite nanowires are a promising biomaterial with advantages such as high biocompatibility, high flexibility, good mechanical properties, high thermal stability, and fire resistance. Therefore, the nanowires are said to be excellent building materials for the construction of flexible fire-resistant inorganic paper. The smart fire-alarm wallpaper can be processed into various shapes, dyed with different colors, and printed with a commercial printer and thus can be used in high-safety interior decoration of homes.

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