A recent discovery that came after a lot of trial and error was discovered by the University of Melbourne Fire Engineering Group. The group, headed by Dr. Kate Nguyen was researching for a replacement to the standard organic, carbon-based, composite materials that are used as cladding, and this led her team to study the small ceramic particles that are found in all insulation wires.
Common insulation wire is made from an organic composite material but between the cladding, and the electric wire is a thin sheath of tiny ceramic particles that react when subjected to heat and activate chemically to create a bond that forms around the heated area, creating a thermal shield.
The University of Melbourne together with Envirosip, the company that financed the research, studied many different compounds until coming across a unique formulation that led to a 750o Celsius resistant compound.
The tests of the new finding were carried out multiple times, as Dr. Nguyen stated: “When it passed our first test I was excited, but even after the fifth time I still couldn’t quite believe it.”
The new compound is a lightweight pale grey compressed powder with dark black specks of the ceramic material when the material is subjected to high temperatures, the black specks, and the powder bond together creating the non-combustible shield.
This material was tested by an independent laboratory, and the future application of this new material is mind-boggling. This is a definite winner for the University of Melbourne, Dr. Ngyen, and Envirosip.