Fire technology

Fire technology

The application of results of basic research and of engineering principles to the solution of practical fire protection problems, but entailing, in its own right, research into fire phenomena and fire experience.

The contribution of the practices of fire prevention is potentially much greater than that of the actual fire-fighting activities. Fire-prevention and loss-reduction measures take many forms, including fire-safe building codes, periodic inspection of premises, fire-detection and automatic fire-suppression systems in industrial and public buildings, the substitution of flame-retardant materials for their more flammable counterparts, and the investigation of fires of suspicious origin, serving to deter the fraudulent and illegal use of fire.

The fundamental techniques used by fire fighters consist primarily of putting water on a fire. Water serves to cool a burning material down to a point where it does not produce gases that burn. While water is the most practical and inexpensive extinguishing agent, modern technology has provided not only additives to water to render desirable properties such as easy flow or enhanced sticking, but also chemical and physical extinguishants such as fluorocarbons, surfactant film-forming proteins, and foams.

A general approach to fire control has been developed involving use of flame inhibitors. Unlike older fire-extinguishing materials such as water and carbon dioxide, these agents operate indirectly in that they interfere with those reactions within a flame that lead to sustained release of heat. As a result, temperature of the system falls below ignition temperature. The most effective liquids are the halogenated hydrocarbons such as chlorobromomethane (CB) and bromotrifluoromethane (better know as Halon 1301) which are colorless, odorless, and electrically nonconductive.

In dry-powder chemical extinguishers, ammonium dihydrogen phosphate is the most useful fire inhibitor. Other dry-powder inhibitors are salts of alkali metals (which include lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, and cesium).

Foams are also widely used. Protein-type, low-expansion foams, particularly useful in quenching burning volatile petroleum products, are used in crash-rescue operations. High-expansion foams are available for fire suppression in enclosed areas. Some foams of this type are generated at a rate of 15,000 ft3/min (424.8 m3/min). They can contain sufficient air to allow a human to breathe inside them.

A film-forming solution of a specific fluorocarbon surfactant in water, known as light water, was developed by the U.S. Navy for use with dry chemicals to fight aircraft crash fires. It may be used either as a liquid or as a low-expansion foam to interfere with the release of flammable vapors from the burning fuel. Light water is also useful in extinguishing petroleum storage tank fires and may find application to urban fires once the cost is no longer prohibitive.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
As per details issued here, the second course was arranged at National Institute of Fire Technology, Islamabad where 47 participants were trained in Station Fire Officer Course while in another course, conducted at educational institutions, 12 participants were imparted training.
"Video fire smoke detection using motion and color features," Fire technology 46.3, 651-663, 2010.
The training programme was conducted by Mohammad Abdul Hadi, Instructor/Fire Consultant, National Institute of Fire Technology Islamabad (NIFTECH) and Mudassir Nawaz, Instructor/Fire Consultant, Directorate General of Civil Defence, Ministry of Interior.
Single pass, gas fire technology puts emissions out 100 percent of the time.
Singh, "Investigation of the Role of Fire Retardants in Preventing Spontaneous Heating of Coal and Controlling Coal Mine Fires," Fire Technology, vol.
Ingason, "Fire spread and flame length in large-scale tunnel fires," Fire Technology, vol.
In line with government initiatives across the region to more strictly enforce regulations designed to protect people and property, Honeywell recently held a Security and Fire Technology Symposium in Muscat.
Founded in Nashville, TN., Music City Fire designs and manufactures sound reactive and fire technology. Fusing music and fire into a line-up of outdoor living products.
The keynote address discusses space exploration and fire technology at Southwest Research Institute--learning from the past and preparing for the future.
San Diego Miramar College's (Calif.) state-of-the-art Fire Technology and Emergency Medical Technology facility will serve as a Candidate Physical Ability Testing center thanks to a $44,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Grant provided by the County of San Diego.