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Spotlight: Laura Dubrulle

A woman wearing safety goggles (Laura Dubrulle) hold a stack of square wood samples in a scientific lab.
Credit: R. Wilson/NIST

Closing down a highway of fire: NIST guest researcher Laura Dubrulle wants to keep your fence from going up in flames and taking your home with it.

With small wood samples, she tests the fire-retardant chemical coatings that companies make for fencing to see how they hold up to the heat. If a newly coated sample delays the start of the fire or suppresses it completely, she repeats the process with coated wood that has undergone an accelerated weathering test (exposure to ultraviolet light, sprays of water, etc.). Laura’s everyday process of preparing wood samples with coatings and letting them burn could one day lead to reliable guidance for consumers as they decide what coating is safest for their homes.

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Released October 15, 2019, Updated April 28, 2021