Everything you need to know about condensed aerosol fire suppression

Currently, given the presence of technology in our society and its regular application in our daily lives, it has become important that fire protection means are increasingly efficient, but also less invasive and “destructive”, preserving the operability and the integrity of the equipment.

To respond to this need, the fire safety sector has developed condensed aerosol fire suppression, a relatively new technology, in which we have a system of aerosol containers or a single container, interconnected with each other and a panel of control or not, designed to extinguish fires in sensitive risk areas.

Other specialty fire protection systems including dry chemicals, wet chemicals, gaseous cleaning agents (halocarbon or inert gas), water mist, carbon dioxide and, in the past, halon systems are also used in similar areas.

Areas of special risk are those for which automatic sprinkler protection is not an adequate solution, either because of the risk of fire itself or because of the content being protected. Automatic sprinkler systems can damage sensitive information technology equipment, and even systems using wet chemical compounds, used to protect commercial and industrial kitchens, can damage cooking equipment and make cleaning difficult.

Unlike other systems used in critical hazard areas, condensed aerosol suppression systems do not require a separate container for the extinguishing agent itself, nor do they require an interconnected extinguishing network to deliver the agent. Condensate aerosol systems operate by smoke or heat detection, along with control panels, thermally activated or manually operated with manual triggers.

Condensate aerosol fire suppression can also be used to protect small localized areas, such as electrical cabinets or vehicle engines. Finally, condensed aerosol fire suppression can be used as portable fire extinguishers or as modules to be dropped into fire areas by first responders to suppress flames before accessing the interior of enclosures.

How does condensed aerosol fire suppression work?

The “fire triangle” concept learned since elementary school does not fully explain how a fire starts and continues to burn. The traditional fire triangle illustrates that heat, a source of fuel and oxygen are needed for fire to spread. There is a fourth, often overlooked, element that is also necessary for a fire to spread – a chain reaction. this reaction in chain is mainly the propagation of hydrogen ions reacting with other chemicals to produce heat and thus keeping the ignition source active.

It is important to keep this tetrahedron in mind because condensed aerosol fire suppression extinguishes or suppresses the fire primarily by interrupting the chemical chain reaction. Stopping the chemical chain reaction of a fire is considered to be the most effective method of fire suppression, which is why halon systems, which extinguish a fire in the same way, have been considered one of the most effective fire suppression systems.

However Halon and other similar chemicals were banned by the Montreal Protocol in the 1990s and are only allowed for military use. In addition, the United States Environmental Agency (EPA) has approved condensed aerosols for use in fire suppression systems.

The operating sequence of condensed aerosol suppression systems is as follows:

  1. The container containing the aerosol is sealed and remains sealed until automatically or manually activated.
  2. The actuator on top of the aerosol container energizes a proprietary compound, which creates an aerosol agent and then releases
  3. A mixture of microparticles of potassium salts and nitrogen gas comes out of the container.
  4. Small amounts of gas and particles fill the space and put out the fire by quelling the chemical chain reaction.

Condensed aerosol compound contains a mixture of chemicals that can vary between brands.

Last but not least, find out what are the rules that regulate the application of this solution. They are: NFPA 2010 – Standard for Fixed Aerosol Fire Suppression Systems is the main standard used to design, install and maintain fixed aerosol systems. This standard applies to fixed systems used to protect critical special hazards, such as electrical cabinets and sensitive electrical equipment rooms. The standard that governs the requirements for components used in condensed aerosol systems is UL and 2775 for Fixed Condensed Aerosol Extinguishing System Units.

Now that you know the condensed aerosol fire suppression solution and how it works, let our experts introduce you  the most suitable protection options for your space and equipment.

Together we protect the future!

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