Slowing Time to Make Burn-Resistant Polymers

November 20, 2019
The Black Sheep Pub

247 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Zahra Fakhraai / Slowing Time to Make Burn-Resistant Polymers Zahra Fakhraai
Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
Slowing Time to Make Burn-Resistant Polymers

Most polymers, long-chain molecules, burn when exposed to heat by breaking into smaller bits and then reacting with oxygen. This process can rapidly accelerate as the chains break into shorter bits and generate fires, leaving behind a black goo of carbonized material. This is a major problem for using some commodity polymers in building materials, batteries, and other applications where the polymer can become really hot. By confining the polymers into a film of nanoparticles, we can slow-down the motion of the polymer as well as oxygen motion into the polymer. This process effectively slows down time for the system, reducing the rate at which the chain can interact with oxygen and make it impossible for the polymer to catch fire.