Scientist invents firefighting material that reduces time, cost

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A Vietnamese scientist has invented and successfully tested a firefighting liquid that can douse fire in one-tenth of a second, which will be a great help in controlling widespread blazes.

Testing new firefighting liquid. (Photo courtesy of Dr Doan Ha Thang)

Testing new firefighting liquid. (Photo courtesy of Dr Doan Ha Thang)

The liquid will make it much easier and faster to stamp out a large fire compared to traditional methods of firefighting that use materials such as water, carbon dioxide and foam.
Dr Doan Ha Thang, one of the first Vietnamese scientists being trained in plasma physics in Japan, has invented the material based on global research on extinguishing fire using space technology.
Thang is chief of Vietnam Space Committee’s Office and the “founding father” of Vietnam’s first English-teaching robot called Robot Teacher, which helps learners train in advanced English speaking and understanding in less than two months.
He started work on the firefighting liquid in 2015, and began by gathering global research materials on extinguishing fire in space. He also used nano technology to create the material and has now pioneered a new firefighting method in Vietnam.
In layperson terms, the firefighting liquid neutralises the fire by using a material that has the opposite electricity charge compared to the material fire is made of. The invention uses nano materials as a catalyst to extinguish the fire.
The most common way of putting out a fire is through water pressure. When water comes into contact with fire, it vaporises, displacing oxygen. The new material, however, does not use pressure. “The outstanding feature of the material is it ionises the environment. When the liquid is poured into the fire, a cool white odourless smoke is emitted so victims and firefighters don’t inhale toxic smoke,” Thang said.
Using it is easy. All one needs to do is put the liquid in a container and pour it over the fire, according to Thang. Once firefighters soak themselves in the liquid, it will protect them from the flames, and they can even plunge into the fire in rescue operations. It can also be applied in urgent cases.
Another advantage, Thang said, was the low cost of his invention.
“I expect to put the material, created using space technology, to practical use soon,” he said.
Thang’s invention will be a huge help to fight fires, which is a serious problem in the country. In fact, recently, there has been a series of severe fires that have caused enormous loss to life and property. Most recently, last month, eight people, mostly teenagers, were killed, and two others injured in a major blaze in a confectionary shop in Hanoi’s Hoai Duc District.
In the first half of 2017, around 2,364 flames were reported nationwide, an increase of 858 cases compared to the same period last year, killing 51 people and injuring 95 others. The total property loss was estimated to be 806 hectares of forests and over VND1.1 trillion.
Testing new inventions
The Ministry of Science and Technology has said materials technology is always given due attention. Doing research on and applying materials technology is one of the ministry’s key scientific and technological programmes for the 2016-20 period. It supports research on invention of materials that can serve the development of industrial support sectors.
To prove the practical efficiency of products invented using new materials technology, the ministry has mapped out a route. The first step is to apply them in reality along with traditional materials.
The Public Security Ministry’s Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Rescue and Salvage, which is responsible for assessing the quality of firefighting materials, said it was working with Thang to test the product based on Vietnam’s standards. The final testing result would be published for media agencies, the department told Việt Nam News.

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