What if we say that spraying some flame-retardant sludge on vegetation and it will save plants from igniting for months? Apparently, a flame-retardant gel is discovered, and this clever gel will work as a vaccine for the wildfires. A material scientist from Stanford was not aimed to save people’s lives from wildfires but diseases. Actually, he was working on developing gels that can carry drugs into the human body. To take an example, if you want to give the patient antibodies to fight some infection, then you’ll inject them with this gel loaded with antibodies. Because of this gel, these antibodies might persist in the patient’s body for perhaps a year. And theoretically, if this gel is used widely on an at-risk population, then it can even face down an epidemic.
It was until Jesse Acosta, Appel’s Brother in Law, asked Appel what if they load this gel with fire retardants and apply it to the body that is mother nature. Fire retardants are red stuff dropped through an airplane on wildfires. These materials are useful but for some time as they easily blow away in the wind or washed off during a rainstorm, which means that one cannot vigorously treat an area for the long-term to be more fire-resistant. But armed with this newfangled gel technology, Appel and his colleagues made this possible. They detailed about it in the paper for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They stated that this gel would act as a delivery medium to coat the plantation with a fire retardant. This technique was adopted widely. Appel had even founded a startup to commercialize this technique. This gel will act as a vaccine against the wildfires, applied across the utility infrastructures and roads, where almost 84 percent approximately 300,000 fires have ignited in the last few decades.
Appel confessed that engineering requirements for delivering the drug into the human body and persist it to the last longer are very much similar to the engineering requirements that maintain fire retardants on target plantation for months. A usual fire retardant dropped from a plane, like the APP, stick to the surface of plants, binding carbon, and creating a char layer that is burn resistant. Though the problem is APP won’t hold to the vegetation for long. But researchers found that by using a blend of APP with this new gel, 50 percent more of the fire retardant sticks to the plantation and not just that, they discovered that the mixture continued to work even when exposed to rain.