September 8, 2020

Particle-Infused Fire Suppression Approaches

Source: 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, Silver Flag area of Kadena Air Base, Japan(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon)

Current Challenges

Water-based fire suppression has been utilized extensively in history as an active fire protection approach due to the high heat capacity of the water droplets. Until presents, over 40 millions of sprinklers were installed across the globe annually. Nonetheless, the performance of current suppression system could still be enhanced due to the lack of penetrability and heat capacity while operating in low-pressure supply regions or extreme temperature events, especially metal fire (i.e. Lithium-ion battery vehicles, skyscraper building fires, bushfires). Therefore, it is essential to investigate potential suppression agents to enhance or substitute the current water-based suppression system.

Source: Electrical Vehicle Fire, China                                              Source: Building Fire, UK

Expandable Graphite

Graphite, which is the most common and stable allotrope of carbon, formed by multiple stacks of graphene layers in a hexagonal structure. Graphene is one of the allotrope forms of carbon, which is a single layer of carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice arrangement. Graphene has been wildly focused and researched since graphene has various extreme properties, such as strength, thermal and electrical efficiency due to the strong σ bond and π bonds between carbon atoms. Graphite has been utilizing as a Class D dry powder fire extinguisher in order to suppress extreme temperature metal fire, such as lithium and magnesium.