Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fire fighting systems

Today I came accross a great new way to fight fires: aerosols. They are an ozone friendly, cost effective, halon alternative. Firepro extinguishing aerosol generators use the latest generation of the stable SBK aerosol forming solid compound (containing no pyrotechnic substances).

Upon activation the solid compound is transformed into a rapidly expanding, highly efficient and highly effective fire extinguishing aerosol, based on Potassium salts. It's friendly to humans, equipment and furniture, easy to install and has nearly no maintainance.

How it works
Conventional fire extinguishing agents use the following methods to extinguish fire:
  • Suffocation method (depletion of oxygen levels in air below 15% at normal pressures extinguishes fire)

  • Cooling method (heat absorption)

  • Removal of fuel

FirePro aerosol on the other hand, extinguishes fire by inhibiting the chain chemical reactions present in combustion on a molecular level.It removes the flame free radicals and extinguishes fire without depleting oxygen.

In a typical fire, atoms and fragments of unstable free radicals react between them in the presence of oxygen. This continues until the burning fuel is depleted or the fire is extinguished by other means.

On activation of the FireProAerosol Generator its solid compound is transformed into an aerosol consisting mainly of Potassium salts (e.g. K2CO3) H2O, N2 and CO2.

The gas type 3D properties of the aerosol particles facilitate their even and fast distribution as well as their flow into the natural convection currents of combustion.The solid particles of Potassium salts a few microns in size, suspended in an inert gas, display an extremely high surface to reaction mass ratio - increasing efficiency and reducing the quantity of material required.

When the aerosol reaches and reacts with the flame, Potassium radicals (K*) are formed mainly from the disassociation of Potassium salts e.g. K2CO3.The K* bind to other flame free radicals (hydroxyls) forming stable products such as KOH. This action extinguishes fire without having to deplete oxygen.

Check the website of FirePro for more info or even better the multilingual website of their Dutch distributor for some videos showing this product in action. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, we can only use this technology in our engine room. It's currently protected by a Halon system but when it requires replacement, FirePro is the way to go. At any case, we plan to use it inside generator sound casings. Should we ever have a fire starting there, it can be killed before we have a real fire.

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