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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Dubai teens honoured for fireproof foam invention - made from wood

Aisha Al Zarooni, 17, Shahed Al Hoot, 16, and Meera Al Hashmi, 16, all of Al Ittihad Private School - Jumeirah, were recently honoured by Civil Defence for their school project creation.

DUBAI // Three teenagers are hoping that their environmentally friendly and fireproof foam made from wood will soon be used in the construction industry.

Aisha Al Zarooni, 17, Shahed Al Hoot, 16, and Meera Al Hashmi, 16, all of Al Ittihad Private School Jumeirah, were recently honoured by Civil Defence for their invention.

Maj Gen Jassem Al Marzouqi, Civil Defence Commander-in-Chief at the Ministry of Interior, said that the girls’ innovative creation could end up saving lives and property.

The Emiratis said they decided to work on a fire-safety solution after the recent spate of high-rise fires, such as the one at Address Downtown Dubai hotel, which went up in flames on New Year’s Eve.

“We found that the main cause of the fire incidents was the heat-insulating materials that are currently used, since they aren’t efficient enough to deal with the climatic conditions in the UAE,” said Aisha.

“Those materials depend on an enormous percentage of petrochemicals, which when in contact with fire stimulate the flames instead of reducing them.”

Abeer Charab, the girls’ chemistry teacher, said that the foam was environmentally friendly, less expensive and more effective than materials used now.

“It is common knowledge that the construction industry used hardboards of expandable plastic foams, which are based on petrochemical plastics, but they are not kind to the environment,” said Ms Charab.

“We contemplated a way to make expandable foam made of wood. This foam is a good insulator that is also recyclable and can be used in exactly the same way as conventional plastic spray foams, but it is an entirely natural product made from sustainable, raw materials.”

Shahed, who aims to be a chemical engineer, said she wanted to be one of the first girls to solve the problem of fires. “We found polystyrene material was one of the main causes.”

Meera was pleased with the recognition of their work by Civil Defence. “I cannot explain the feeling. Being recognised like that leaves us speechless.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Updated: June 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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