Developing sensor technology to detect fires before they start

IMDEA Materials Institute is developing sensor technology to detect fires before they start

The 0.1 mm thick PMC solid electrolyte consists of polymeric, ceramic and MOF substrates. It is designed to improve fire safety compared to commercial liquid electrolytes. Image supplier: Andrew Johnston, Institute of Materials IMDEA.

Researchers at Madrid’s Institute for Advanced Research in Materials Science (IMDEA Materials) are working on fire safety systems that can detect and warn of hazards before a fire breaks out.

Fire alarms typically work by detecting the presence of smoke, an open flame, or a higher than normal level of carbon monoxide. However, such indicators are a by-product of a On fire when it started.

By using functional nanomaterial-based fire sensing technology being developed at IMDEA Materials, researcher Xiaolu Li says she hopes to go one step further.

“A very important element of this project is that, with these new devices, we can detect a fire hazard very early in the process, before a fire breaks out,” she said. “Once a fire starts, it’s very difficult to control.”

“Many common household materials will begin to ignite at temperatures between 300 and 500 degrees Celsius [Celsius]. Right now, though, we’re testing our sensor at 200–250 degrees. That means you should be able to get an alert with enough time to be able to prevent a fire from happening in the first place. ”

Technology, recently published in Construction and Building Materials and currently in development, has been shown to operate at temperatures as low as 250 degrees Celsius with response times of less than one second.

IMDEA Materials Institute is developing sensor technology to detect fires before they start

Researcher Mingyang Zhang of the Institute of Materials IMDEA is working to develop a composite solid-state electrolyte (CSSE) with flame retardant properties for lithium-ion batteries. Image supplier: Andrew Johnston, Institute of Materials IMDEA.

However, Li says that the goal of the ongoing work is to achieve sensor responsiveness from as low a temperature as possible to provide even more advanced warnings.

The sensors detect temperature changes by monitoring the chemical structure of the material being analyzed. As the material heats up, its conductive performance is changed. This change in conductivity can be used to warn of an impending fire hazard.

Such warnings can also take various forms beyond the typical flashing lights or sound-based warnings of existing fire detection systems. This new generation of alarms is intended to take advantage of developments in shape and color changing materials, as well as multifunctional materials, to create a wider range of risk indicators.

Li explained that instead of existing as standalone sensors like traditional smoke detectors that are attached to walls or roofs, IMDEA Materials’ fire sensors will be connected directly to the physical material of the building. .

“For example, in buildings, wallpaper used as decoration can be modified to be used as a fire sensor,” she said. “You can also use other materials like wood or foam insulation that can also provide this warning function.”

“The material will be connected to the receiver, which can monitor indicators such as temperature change and then send that information to the transmitter. ”

IMDEA Materials Institute is developing sensor technology to detect fires before they start

Previously published results in Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Technical AspectsMeanwhile, it has been shown that a custom, intelligent wireless communication system being developed by researchers can emit warning messages on the screen at a distance of up to 20 km from a fire. .

Li’s flame sensing technology builds on a decade of research carried out in the field of flame retardant materials under the banner of the IMDEA Materials High Performance Polymers and Flame Retardants group led by Professor Dr. Yi Wang is in the lead.

And despite showing great promise so far, work on new sensor technology continues. For example, warning indicators that change shape and color cannot currently be changed, which means they can only be used once. Researchers are also continuing to improve the temperature sensitivity of the sensor technology, as well as the reach and efficiency of wireless networks. warning system.

More information:
Xiaolu Li et al., P/Si-decorated graphene oxide-based flame sensor specifically designed for sensitive detection at low temperatures through local and remote wireless transmission, Construction and Building Materials (In 2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.conbuildmat.2022.128600

Xiaolu Li et al., MXene/Graphene oxide film-based low-temperature response intelligent fire alarm with wireless transmission: Remote real-time brightness detection, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Technical Aspects (In 2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.colsurfa.2022.129641

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Material IMDEA

Quote: Development of sensor technology to detect fires before they start (2022, 2 November) retrieved 2 November 2022 from -technology.html

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