Carbon nanofibers have been found to reduce flammability of upholstered furniture when added in small amounts to polyurethane foams. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that flammability was reduced 35 percent compared to foams treated with conventional fire retardants.
When a piece of furniture is on fire, foam tends to pool up and increase the flame’s intensity. The nanofibers, when added to the foam, increase viscosity of the material so it doesn’t flow as easily.
NIST researchers are continuing to study the mechanisms that reduce flammability.