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Vietnamese lecturer honoured in Australia for developing fireproof material

Nguyen Thuy Quynh, a Vietnamese lecturer at RMIT University in Australia has been named in The Australian’s 2021 Research magazine as Australia’s top researcher in composite materials for her project on manufacturing fireproof materials to help protect buildings and other constructions from being destroyed by forest fires.

Within the framework of an independent research project, funded by the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science foundation, Quynh has successfully developed a kind of fireproof material that can be used to cover the walls of buildings, filling in any gaps in the building’s envelop.

The coating not only resists fire and helps reduce the heat but it is also sustainable as it is made from industrial and construction waste. The new material is expected to be commercially available on the Australian market within a year.

Talking about the idea behind this research project, Quynh said Australia is greatly affected by climate change.

"The frequency and severity of bushfires have increased with climate change and they have become an increasing threat to lives, the environment and people’s homes. While devastating, bushfires often move quickly, and a rural building may only have to resist the heat and flames for a short time."

“That’s why I came up with the idea of having an additional coating on top of the existing infrastructure - so that we can buy some more time, extend the time that structure can withstand that fire intensity,” she was quoted by The Australian as saying.

After graduating from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, 38-year-old Quynh came to Australia to work as a PhD student in civil engineering at the University of Melbourne in 2011. Currently, she is the leader of a research group on fireproof materials and advanced construction systems at RMIT University.

The Australian's 2021 Research magazine names the top researcher and top research institution in each field of research, based on the number of citations for papers published in the top 20 journals in each field over the past five years./.