An associate professor at the Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) has come out with a potentially lifesaving idea.
Dr Khaled Saoud has designed a sustainable way to produce a more durable, less flammable and lighter insulation material than the commonly used polystyrene and could be used at the construction projects.
Dr Saoud submitted his idea as an individual applicant for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)’s Challenge 22 competition and was one of the winners.
His innovative idea has been featured on the Supreme Committee website and SC notes that it could be applied to several construction projects, making each one safer and more sustainable.
According to the SC, this polystyrene composite, which incorporates nanomaterials such as silica aerogel or nanosheets, can be applied to existing insulation materials, which can then withstand 45 minutes of heat with minimal damage, compared to as little as 50 seconds without the coating. This time could be the difference between life and death.
“With nationwide construction ongoing in Qatar in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Dr Saoud’s innovation could be applied to countless construction projects, making each and every one safer – and more sustainable,” the SC notes.
With funding from the Challenge 22 competition, Dr Saoud has now been able to hire two scientists to assist him in his work and advance his research. He has also received extensive training on making his idea more commercially attractive.
As a prominent scientist in the field of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies, Dr Saoud already had a well-formed concept by the time he heard about Challenge 22. The innovation award has, however, pushed his project forward dramatically.
“The award has accelerated it completely,” said Dr Saoud. “It has enabled me to get materials I need, equipment I need, and to hire some people because one person cannot do everything. I can now register new patents and publish new scientific papers. So it accelerated everything immeasurably.”
Dr Saoud hopes to perfect his product and see it used throughout the Middle East, as well as at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.