Space technology to safeguard thatched roofs

Caspol is an indigenously developed, easy-to-use flame-proof coating.Photo: Special arrangement  

The technology that protects rocket launch vehicles from high-temperature fire could protect the thatched roofs and even prevent water seepage in concrete buildings.

The scientists of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, have showcased the ceramic-polymer hybrid (CASPOL), a spin-off product that could protect public transport systems and poor men residing in thatched homes from fire accidents. Technology transfer is yet to be concluded. Caspol is an indigenously developed, easy-to-use flame-proof coating, from the VSSC stable. The water-based ready-to-coat product was originally developed to protect the rockets from high temperature and fire to which they are exposed during the initial moments of launch.

“Huge exhaust plumes of high temperature engulf a rocket when it lifts off from the launch pad. The protective pads that cover the rockets are coated with Caspol to save them from fire and high temperature to which they are exposed to,” explained K. Sivan, director of VSSC.

According to Dr. Sivan, Caspol can withstand up to 800 degree Celsius. Seats in automobiles, public transport system and seat cushions of railway coaches can be made fireproof when Caspol is applied. The ceramic-polymer hybrid will affect the cushioning characteristics significantly of seats once it is applied, the scientists vouched.

Besides its ability to protect against fire and high temperature, Caspol can also make surfaces waterproof. When applied over the concrete surface of buildings, fill up the micro cracks and holes on concrete to prevent water from seeping in. When applied over concrete surface of buildings, the high emissivity of the product reduces the temperature inside the building by at least 5 to 6 degree Celsius, the researchers stressed.

It can be used on a variety of substrates such as masonry surfaces, textiles, paper, thatched leaves and wood to advanced materials like polyurethane and phenolic-based thermal insulation foam pads, VSSC says.

The centre has described the product as one which is eco-friendly as it is free of toxic materials. It could be applied either by brushing or spraying on the desired surface. The economic, water-based formulation with self-extinguishing properties could cure in room temperature and has good adhesion and water repellent characteristics, according to researchers.

“The materials coated with Caspol will be self-extinguished within four seconds after removal of flame. It can adhere well with the substrate surface both in dry condition and after exposing the coated foams to water. Foam materials can be impregnated with Caspol by dip coating,” notes the centre.

Besides its ability to protect against fire and high temperature, Caspol can make surfaces waterproof