Scientists design fire alarm wallpaper made from the same mineral as bone and teeth

Originally published at:


… and printed with a grandma-based doily pattern, the alarm says, “Twee-ee!”


a mineral of the apatite group that is the main inorganic constituent of tooth enamel and bone, although it is rare in rocks.


That paper doesn’t look like it resists fire much at all.

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Okay, I can see several use cases for flame-resistant wallpaper.
But incorporating a temperature aka fire sensor seems needlessly complicated. Sensors must be tested regularly and replaced if they fail the test. How would you do that here?

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I would also be curious to know if sensor distribution is considered a limiting factor in the case of fire alarms:

In order to provide the acoustic(and in some cases visual, depends on code I assume) warning you already need to have a pretty through distribution of alarms, which are made to do double duty as sensors. How much better a job would you expect if you added more sensors? How would that compare to putting the sensors in, say, light fixtures(which, thanks to LEDs, often have a low voltage power supply and smaller, cooler, bulbs than previously)?

Being able to print usefully conductive patterns would be quite convenient for a variety of purposes, I’m curious if fire detection is one where sensor density is currently a limiting factor.

I don’t think so. You can install as many sensors as you like, but you don’t really need that many if you place them well. Heat/and or smoke rises up, usually one sensor under the ceiling per room will be enough.
If the geometry of the room is tricky, other solutions are available, for instance photoelectric beams or systems that draw in air from a room and check it for smoke.
Sensors and alarms are typically on separate circuits.
Combining sensors with other stuff like light fittings doesn’t seem a good idea to me, mostly for reasons regarding testing, maintenance and preventing false alarms or accidentally disabling them.


As if it isn’t already a pain to install wallpaper. Wiring this up would be a nightmare. Unless you could install some active electronics that distribute power and signals in a self healing mesh network from a single connection point.

But then why wallpaper? Why not embed the electronics in the drywall itself. Then the majority of walls without wallpaper could be alarmed. Still seems like a solution in search of a problem.

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