New Research Into Flame-Resistant Polyurethane Foams


It’s hit the news recently that a graduate student at Pittsburgh State University is completing an amazing research project into making everyday materials increasingly safe and more environmentally friendly. Charith Ranaweera, currently in the process of finishing his Masters in PSU’s polymer chemistry program, is working to create flame-resistant polyurethane foams using discarded orange peels.

The starting chemicals for polyurethane and many other polymers are not renewable as they are obtained from petrochemicals. In his research, Ranaweera began by using the limonene to synthesize a bio-polyol that could be substituted for the petrochemicals normally used to produce polyurethane. He then incorporated a compound that contained phosphorous to increase the fire retardant properties of the product. “We showed that polyurethane foam prepared from our bio-polyol can be used for thermal insulation and packaging with the additional benefit of fire safety,” Ranaweera said.[1]

Here at FRPM we love hearing the latest development stories about how researchers are making the polymers safer and how researchers are becoming increasingly environmentally friendly. At FRPM 2017, we will hear from some of the leading experts in the field who will showcase and give insights into the latest developments in the industry.

This year’s conference will be taking place at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on July 3rd. We’re really excited because not only is the content set to be incredible, The Bridgewater Hall is Manchester’s international concert venue, built to give the best possible space for acoustics. So, location-wise it is perfect too! The Hall hosts over 250 performances a year, and is the home to three resident orchestras: the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata.

Situated in the heart of the city, the Hall is surrounded by a spectacular range of unique architectural styles, making Manchester’s skyline a sight to behold. Local attractions near the Hall include the gothic splendour of Manchester’s Town Hall, where we plan to host the conference dinner, the Central Library, and the Manchester Cathedral – an essential visit in the city with an impressive interior displaying the best late medieval woodwork in the North.

But, in comparison to the actual event, that’s not even the most interesting part! With invited speakers such as Dr. Richard E Lyon from the Federal Aviation Administration, Prof Carl-Eric Wilem – Head of Laboratory at Abo Akademi in Finland, Dr Stanislav Stoliard from the Fire Protection Engineering Department and Prof. Stuart Harrad (of Environmental Chemistry) from University of Birmingham, the event is shaping up to be most intriguing and a perfect chance to network in the community. To see the full list of invited speakers, please click here.

If you think this all sounds like an opportunity not to be missed, remember to register your attendance before March 31st to take full advantage of our Early Bird offer.