BEIJING-Chinese scientists have developed a fire-resistant wallpaper that not only can withstand flames, but also detect fires and trigger an alarm if a fire occurs.

The wallpaper was designed by scientists from the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Most of the wallpaper on the market today is made of highly flammable materials such as plant cellulose fibers or synthetic polymers, which can spread the fire rather than preventing it. The new wallpaper can withstand a high temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius. It is made of an inorganic fire-resistant hydroxyapatite nanowire paper and a graphene oxide temperature sensor. The sensor is attached to the back of the wallpaper through a simple drop-casting process using an ink containing graphene oxide. It is then connected to the metal wire as an electrode.

Graphene oxide is not electrically conductive at room temperature, but can become conductive at high temperatures, triggering the fire alarm device.

The wallpaper is highly flexible and can be made into various shapes, dyed different colors, and printed with commercial printers.

The research was published in the journal ACS Nano in March.

Zhu Yingjie, the team leader, said that although the wallpaper is still in the early research phase, the research team is exploring low-cost mass production technology.

"We are also investigating more applications of the new fire-resistant inorganic paper, which might be used in other fields such as preserving important paper documents, battery separators, flame-retardant fiber-optic cables, catalytic paper, and flexible electronics," Zhu said.