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Opportunity at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division   NAWCWD

Surfactants for Hydrocarbon Pool Firefighting


Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Research Dept., Chemistry Division

opportunity location
34.01.01.C0740 China Lake, CA 93555


name email phone
Matthew Christopher Davis 760 939 0196


Perfluoroalkyl surfactants are the key ingredients in aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) which are used by the Department of Defense and others to fight hydrocarbon (Class B) pool fires.  Perfluoroalkyl surfactants work extremely well for this application, however there are growing concerns about these materials because they are highly persistent in the environment and may be toxic to plants and animals or increase their risk to certain diseases.  This research opportunity seeks to explore siloxane surfactants as replacements of perfluoroalkyl surfactants found in current aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) concentrates used in fire-fighting by the Department of Defense (DoD).  New siloxane surfactants will be designed, synthesized and their surface activities will be characterized.  Siloxane surfactants with spreadability on the surface of hydrocarbon liquids will be further developed.  Foam concentrates of siloxane surfactants will be screened for pool fire suppression against gas and jet fuel.  

1) D. Blunk, et al., Silicon-containing organic acid derivatives as environmentally friendly AFFF extinguishing agents, US 2017/0259099 A1, Sep. 14, 2017.

2) Y. Sheng, et al., Study of environmentally-friendly firefighting foam based on the mixture of hydrocarbon and silicone surfactants. Fire Technology 2020, 56, 1059-1075.

3) R. Ananth, et al., Synergisms between siloxane-polyoxyethylene and alkyl polyglycoside surfactants in foam stability and pool fire extinction. Colloids and Surfaces A 2019, 579, 123686.

siloxanes;surface tension;surfactants;organic synthesis;combustion;organic chemistry; physical chemistry;spreading; firefighting; silicon


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$75,000.00 $3,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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