Fire suppression systems are ideal for applications that contain critical (production) processes or represent crucial value for your company. The importance of these systems is generally known. Fires may cause a long downtime which is associated with high costs, not only related to loss of revenue but also property and brand image. But how do you choose the right system to protect your assets? The evaluation and selection of your fire-suppression agent can be confusing. This article aims to point out the significant alternative to your conventional gas extinguishing systems by proposing a DSPA aerosol fire-suppression system.
What is aerosol fire extinguishing?
As early as 1987, DSPA started the development of their range of products. It has been developed to replace Halon (BCF). The ban on Halon fire-extinguishing systems originates from the Montreal Protocol, which was signed worldwide in 1987. In 2001 the first arrangements on this came into force, which led to a definite ban on the use of Halon in 2003. Already in 1992 the first production of aerosol generators started. DSPA works volumetrically, just like Halon: it affects the combustion process.
DSPA aerosol is uniquely safe and effective. The active substances of the DSPA aerosol are solid micro particles surrounded by gas that fill the compartment completely and attack the combustion process of a fire at a chemical level. As a result, the flames are instantly knocked down and the energy removed from the fire.
DSPA aerosol generators consist of a solid aerosol-forming compound in a non-pressurized red canister which aerosolizes finely divided solid particles: the aerosol fire-extinguishing agent. The aerosol is self-generated by a combustion process of the solid aerosol-forming compound, activated by an activation device, also known as the starter.
Unlike many other extinguishing agents, DSPA aerosol interferes with the chain reaction in the fire, leaving oxygen levels intact.
‘Fire propagation’ radicals (OH, H and O) are essential elements to the chain reaction of the fire. DSPA aerosol suppresses the fire (primarily) by chemical interference with these free radicals within the fire zone, thus interrupting the ongoing chain reaction of the fire.
DSPA aerosol is an extinguishing medium of finely divided solid particles, mainly potassium particles, with a typical diameter of approximately 2 microns. When introduced into the flaming region of a fire, the aerosol reacts with the fire radicals produced during combustion (hydrogen, oxygen and hydroxyls) resulting in extinguishment of the fire. It is argued that extinguishing with aerosol will leave a small residue after extinguishing, which may need to be cleaned. What about the standard cleaning procedures after a fire has occurred? There is also the soot remaining in any enclosure, meaning that proper cleaning after a fire is always necessary.
DSPA aerosol generators are unpressurized, nor do they increase pressure inside the room or object during discharge, making transport, installation and use easy and safe. There is no need for expensive pipe work, and they require far less maintenance compared to other conventional systems. DSPA aerosol generators can be simply installed in the enclosure, eliminating the need for safe cylinder storage. Installation of aerosol fire-suppression systems without any interruption of ongoing (production) processes is possible. With a guaranteed serviceable life of 15 years, in comparison to other systems that require expensive refills every 5 or 10 years. The non-pressurized system requires only maintenance to the electrical detection and activation unit. No additional construction costs are required to ensure the air-tightness of the enclosure, nor is it necessary to install over-pressure release valves, meaning no integrity tests are necessary. The system does not create any pressure shockwave potentially harmful to equipment. A uniquely small amount (32–110 g/m3) of aerosol is needed to extinguish fires. This makes our systems much more efficient and effective than conventional systems, such as FM-200 (550–950 g/m3) or NOVEC 1230 (690–1188 g/m3). With operating conditions ranging from -50°C to +75°C and humidity up to 95%, our systems are applicable in many situations. Allowing for condensed aerosol systems to be generally priced at 50% of gas-extinguishing systems.
DSPA aerosols have been approved by US EPA through SNAP listing due to their Zero Ozone Depletion Potential, Zero Global Warming Potential and Non-Volatile Organic Components. This is in contrast to the present Global Warming potential of HFCs, which are not expected to meet the new upcoming GWP-reduction and will be slowly phased out in the near future. This is evident in view of the Kigali-amendment on the Montreal Protocol from October 2016 and the Kyoto Protocol. Governments worldwide set up plans to achieve this goal. A side effect of this phasing out is that the largest brand of HFCs, FM-200, seems to have raised its prices by 180% per kg. It may be clear that, although there’s no formal ban (yet) on FM-200, owners of such systems can expect serious problems in the near future when it comes to spare parts and maintenance. Besides, DSPA aerosol compound does not contain any fluorine that seems to damage equipment.
It could be considered that condensed aerosol technology is the best alternative to gas-extinguishing systems: With aerosol you can also achieve rapid extinguishing during the early growth stage of a fire. And it also works perfectly for shielded, obstructed or three-dimensional fires in complex geometrics. So looking at environmental considerations, safety and financial, unpressurised, volume and weight, it’s the right system.
For more information, go to www.DSPA.nl