Water‑based flame‑retardant coating from Texas A&M University is made of cellulose nanofibrils and clay nanoplatelets that help provide more effective fire protection.


  • Non‑toxic
  • Flame‑retardant


  • Consumer products
  • Commercial & residential buildings

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing


  • Cellulose
  • Clay

The Challenge

Polyurethane foam is found in many areas of the home, including furniture, textiles, and insulation. It is incredibly flammable and often must be treated with strong chemicals to make it more flame-resistant.

Innovation Details

The coating is made up of nanofibrils and clay nanoplatelets that form a nanobrick wall structure that helps reduce the temperature experienced by the underlying foam, delaying combustion. The coating also promotes insulating char formation and reduces the release of fumes that feed a fire.

Biomimicry Story

Cellulose nanofibrils are abundant in the fiber cell walls of many plants and are considered a nearly inexhaustible resource. Cellulose, along with clay, is known to be relatively impervious to flames and gases. Both materials can also act as mechanical reinforcements.