There is a huge number of hazardous materials that put the life of firefighters in great Danger. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to define a series of health and safety measures in order to control the exposure to these materials. There are hopes that technology can improve the safety of firefighters when they are exposed to materials with life-threatening consequences. Nanoscience as The cutting-edge technology has potentially caused revolutions in numerous sectors of industries through mitigating a broad range of products such as furniture, electronics, building materials, fabrics and nanostructured materials capable of breaking down the uncontrolled environment of a structural fire. There is a race in industries to incorporate nanotechnology into all products in everyday life. From another point of view, those who are exposed to nanoscale materials might face dangerous health complications as the properties of matter intensify or change when they fall into the nanoscale. It has been demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can interact with the tissue of human long similar to asbestos fibers. Furthermore, carbon nanotubes have been determined in diesel exhaust with their hazardous effects. The effects connected to disease hazards provide enough evidence that how critical it is to consider proper precautions for the fire service through the application of nanotechnology itself 1.
Wildfires have been a huge problem for a long time in the United States. Over 1000,000 structural fires have been reported in the U.S. since 2005 with nearly 3,000 civilian casualties and 15000 injuries. In addition to this, a value of around $14 billion of property damage has been reported in consequence. The statistics concerning the consequences of fires is remarkably high, especially in an industrialized country like the United States that requires a high level of safety measures. The exceedingly high expenses caused by fire accidents and damage is now a huge concern. Nevertheless, the promising capabilities of nanotechnology for protection against fires provides acceptable and sensible assurance and viable solutions to get over uncontrolled accidents going around 2. Research now is focused on finding innovative fire protection solutions to sort out the problem of high cost fire damage to people's lives and property. Referring back to what mentioned earlier, nanotechnology can act as the very solution to help make building materials even much stronger, more fire resistant and lighter.
Use of Nanotechnology to Fight Fires
There are studies in progress to find ways to diminish the damage caused by fires. A class of starch-based nanostructured coatings has been introduced to be applied in furniture and textiles in order to increase their resistance against fires and making them nearly fireproof. Clay products such as brick and mortar can be modified to adopt lower thermal conductivity while having gas barrier properties. Nanofiber mats that have applications in building insulation are used instead of foam and have shown to absorb thermal energy of flames, extinguish fires preventing them from being spread all around to cause damage and give occupants more opportunity to escape a place on fire. In further application, there are reports on the application of hydrogels to increase the fire resistance in blankets and clothing as well as absorbing heat and preventing thermal burns. Nanocomposites made out of polyetherimide are capable of increasing thermal protection for home appliances. They can also be combined with agents with no chance of toxicity release in the case of the exposure to flame and fires. There are numerous potential advantages through involving the nanotechnology to promote fire safety. Smoke sensors and alarms have the quality to detect particles immediately after a fire starts. There are nanocoatings with fire resistance quality that can increase the strength of materials and their durability to bear high thermal energy and heat. To fight fires, a series of fire suppression systems have been introduced that function based on various chemical mixtures in nanoscale to process the fire extinguishing so efficiently. Furthermore, vehicles have been equipped with fire-resistant nanocoatings on engine components and fuel lines to suppress fires in vehicles.
Defining the applicability of nanotechnology in fire safety
There are many solutions for building materials to act against fire effects that mainly integrate with nanotechnology. Technologies that depend on nanostructured materials can find Solutions as the properties of materials can greatly enhance fire resistance quality, fire retardancy and can create environments with higher safety when exposed to fires. Nanotechnology-based materials can considerably improve fire protection and prevention strategies. Fire extinguishers and clothes systems are examples of innovative solutions that take the advantage of nanotechnology mainly on providing comprehensive approaches to fight fires. The combination of various chemicals with nanotechnology can strengthen the quality and the process of suppression and enhance the fighting effectiveness and strength. In so doing nanotechnology has to be explored even more to achieve its advantages in developing fire-fighting equipment and clothing as it is possible to achieve durability of fibers in clothing and equipment to resist fires better and have high thermal energy when nanostructured materials are involved. Taking advantages of nanostructured materials, firefighters could have fire safety as well as efficiency in the stage of fire.
Development of Fire Automotive Industry
Automotive industry is another area in firefighting systems that can take the advantage technology. There is a huge number of car fires that breakout as a result of a mechanical parts malfunctioning, overheating engines and accidents. The application of nanocoatings on fuel lines and supplies in addition to the construction of engines could greatly decrease the occurrence of fires in vehicles. The application of nanotechnology in vehicles body could not only protect passengers against possible accidents but it can also extend their life. There are projects to obtain materials with flame retardancy quality using polymeric materials based on nanotechnology. These developments include system simulations and models with improved conditions, thermal, rheological and characteristics. Intumescent coatings can be employed to coat the surface of metals steel, plastic, and films through adopting bottom-up approaches in the synthesis of nanoparticles. Models based on numerical intumescence have been examined broadly and are capable of facilitating intumescence characteristics under various scenarios including boiling liquid evaporation vapor explosion and the occurrence of fires namely soreness and jet-fire 2.
It is has been one of the greatest achievements of mankind to harness fires with the consecutive advancements in technology. Even though the fire has an extremely important role in human life, it is quite clear for everyone that it is also extremely dangerous. The outbreak of fires has been a huge problem in almost all countries and have cost injuries with a lot of damage that are in fact preventable if the right materials are chosen in designing and fabrication of products. Studies and results have shown that the incorporation of nanotechnology have significantly diminished the damage by fires as well as improvements in the resistance of materials and machinery that are exposed to fires.
1. O’Sullivan, D. J. The implications of nanotechnology for the fire service: avoiding the mistakes of the past. (2017).
2. Olawoyin, R. Nanotechnology: The future of fire safety. Saf. Sci. 110, 214–221 (2018).