3M Clean Agent Fire Suppression

Posted by ORR Protection on Jan 25, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Mark Smith, from 3M, talks through clean agent fire extinguishing systems and their safe & effective use in protecting mission critical environments & valuables.

Video Transcript:

Welcome to this module on clean agent fire extinguishment in the power industry from the Electronics Material Solutions Division of 3M. This training covers the national fire protection association, 2001 standard and its agents used for total flooding fire extinguishment. These agents are used in data centers, telecommunications, power generation manufacturing, aerospace lab oil, gas, museum artifact, library, and critical asset markets use of these clean agents are designed to suppress the fire before water-based systems are needed. Thus preventing water from damaging critical assets and affecting business continuity. Audio playing represents an example of a fire test done with 3M Novec 1230 fluid.

First let's talk about the NFPA 2001 standard in order to qualify for the standard products need to be able to extinguish in a B and C type of fire. Be non-corrosive leave no residue after discharge the electrically non-conductive. Establish no observed adverse effect limits or NOAELs, and have an ODP or ozone depletion potential of zero because fires do happen every day. They may not always be reported, but they go on around us all the time. Do you know your risk factors? What will downtime cost you? Can you afford lost customers, lost revenue, negative news coverage. Plus, how can you best provide safety for your employees?

Here? We explore other fire suppression alternatives that may cause harm or downtime. CO2 is lethal design concentration. The NFPA 12 standard for CO2 says that new total flooding system shall not be installed in occupied spaces. When a safer alternative is available and existing systems must have several specific safety upgrades, including lockouts pre-discharge alarms in time. Delays, water mist systems use less water than standard sprinkler systems, but can still be electrically conducted. Water mist systems were developed for class B flammable liquids like gasoline, which produce a big flame front. They can be very effective with a big fire, but still leave residue. In addition, in class a and class C hazards, water mist systems typically release while it is still smoky water mist systems will saturate and damage assets. Heavy cleanup is common. A hybrid system combines water mist and inert gas. Specifiers should note that a new NFPA standard has just been approved hybrid systems, still use water and can leave electrically, conductive moisture and residue to clean up. They are not considered a clean agent and therefore have their own NFPA standard. Aerosol systems are less expensive to install, but they leave a powder residue in their wake significantly increasing downtime cleanup costs. There may be evacuation concerns. Safe egress is severely hindered because the aerosol powder may cause visual obscure mint aerosol systems typically have a 10 year life expectancy.

Let's take a closer look at how a clean agent compares to water. We constructed a working simulation of a data center inside this fire test chamber to compare the ability of water. And Novec 1230 fluid to extinguish a fire inside a typical server cabinet. The chamber has a detection system, water sprinklers, and a discharge system designed for use with Novec 1230 fluid. The test of the Novec fire protection fluid based system is run first to begin the test, a technician ignite sheets of abs plastic inside an empty server cabinet as sensors in the ceiling detect smoke and heat from the fire and alarm is sounded. And the countdown to discharge begins once the agent is released, it quickly fills the room and penetrates the burning enclosure extinguishing the fire in less than 20 seconds. A clean agent fire suppression system is designed to detect a fire at an earlier stage, helping to further reduce possible damage. After the smoke and agent has been evacuated technicians, re-entered the chamber to find that the energized servers are still functioning equipment and facilities show no signs of damage. Now we're ready for the water discharge test in the same fire scenario. As before plastic sheets inside the same server cabinet are ignited and technicians. Leave the room two minutes pass. Then three minutes. The heat of the fire rises to 91.9 degrees and dense black smoke fills the room. Finally, after nearly four minutes, the sprinkler heads discharge.

11 minutes. The room is deluged with water. Even so the fire in the cabinet stubbornly refuses to go out 15 minutes after ignition. A firefighter enters the chamber and puts out the remaining fire with a portable CO2 extinguisher. In the aftermath of the test. The server room is in ruins. Ceiling and walls are coated with black soil, hundreds of gallons of water pool on the floor and the drives and other components inside the cabinets are damaged beyond repair. Imagine the lost time lost revenue and damage to your reputation had such an incident happened inside one of your server rooms.

Take a look at this diagram. It shows a clean agent total flooding system. The mechanical side of the system includes agent storage containers where clean agents are stored in tanks of various sizes that typically have valves on top releasing agent upon detection. Discharge piping carries the agent to a point of where the agent is dispensed. Discharge nozzles are located throughout and at the end of the discharge pipes on the electrical side, fire detectors provide early warning standard smoke and heat detectors depending on the installation requirements, a special hazard control panel control signals for notification appliances reporting trouble to the building fire alarm. It takes a dedicated one 20 volt AC power supply and may provide HVAC shutdown and equipment shutdown room integrity must also be considered during installation. Every room per NFPA, 2001 needs a room integrity test for chemical agents. The rooms need to be airtight.

Most specifiers achieve this goal by putting a fire rating on the room. As this signals to all specifications sections that an airtight room is required. Lastly, a venting requirement calculation is conducted for each installation. Inner caste systems always require venting to help prevent over pressurization of a room and damage to structural elements or two classifications, inner gasses and chemical agents. This is the molecule for 3M. Novec 1230 fire protection fluid. It is very similar to the hydrofluorocarbons of Chemours FM-200 and FE 25. In that it has a backbone of carbon fully bonded and flooring with an oxygen atom. Also on the bond, the oxygen atom differentiates the 3M. Novec 1230 molecule from the hydrofluorocarbons, which have a hydrogen atom on the bond. 3M Novec 1230 fluid configurations provide environmental sustainability advantages. Here's the fire tetrahedron, the four elements that comprise a fire fuel oxygen heat, and a chemical reaction gaseous agents and chemical agents different how the extinguish fires and their gas agents reduce the amount of oxygen from the fire during an approximate two minute discharge chemical agents remove heat during and after an approximate ten second discharge Halon works by inhibiting the combustion chain reaction. The manufacturing of Halon is banned for the Montreal.

Now let's discuss product and safety as a little background, Halen 1301 was a very effective fire protection agent. What was very bad for the environment since it had a very high ozone depletion potential. The Montreal protocol banned its production in 1994, reclaimed Halon is in high demand for uses, including military aviation it's price has gone up in recent years in air gases are clean, but maybe expensive to install and maintain on a semi-annual basis. Venting is required, but not always practical in a room located in the middle of a building inert gas systems, occupy a much greater percentage of real estate compared to other clean agent systems and can be more costly and time consuming to service and recharge. Chemical clean agents can be more efficient to install and maintain over time. But chemicals containing HFCs are hydrofluorocarbons have been targeted for phase down in more than 170 countries because of their high GWP or global warming potential clean agents. Like Novec brand 1230 fire protection fluid from 3M are not HFC products and have all the advantages of a chemical agent, but with a very low GWP of less than one, it is not currently targeted for any global phase down and is backed up by an environmental 20 year warranty from 3M. The agent is easy to transport via any means of transportation, including air and is available globally.

There are many applications for clean agents in the power industry, such as generation stations, substations, high voltage, transformers control rooms, wind turbines, energy storage systems, but still in the archives. Ups rooms, security rooms, data centers, telecommunications rooms, flammable liquid storage rooms and chemical storage rooms. No that brand 1230 fire protection fluid from 3M is safe for electronics. And it's 2.3 times of less conductive than even in a nerve gas like nitrogen. Let's watch a video on 3M. Novec 1230 fluids, dielectric strength.

Chemical clean agents like Novec brand 1230 fire protection fluid from 3M maximize your floor space and generally use less real estate 3M. Novec 1230 fire protection fluid can be shipped unpressurized on a plane or helicopter, so it can be easily transported to an offshore rigger overseas in our hurry for recharge. After a fire what's happening with environmental regulations around the world hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs impact the climate, which makes the sustainability an important factor when designing a fire suppression system, the us environmental protection agency or EPA approves Halon replacements via the EPA snap program, use of non HFC fire protection systems meet environmental protocols, standards, regulations, and codes. Let's move on to compare solutions because of climate change. And the dangers posed by global warming regulators have targeted HFCs for phase down. Ayllon 1301 is no longer manufactured and is included here for reference. HFCs were developed as a first-generation chemical clean agent replacement for Halon 1301 in fire suppression systems.

Novec brand 1230 fire protection fluid from 3M, a floral ketone followed after. Take a look at this chart. These chemical agents have zero ozone depletion potential as does inert gas and CO2 global warming potential or GWP is determined by measuring the amount of infrared radiation. A chemical clean agent will absorb and trap in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is used as a comparative baseline in these calculations, both FM 200 and Ft, 25 have more than 3000 times. The GWP of CO2. This very high G2 WP is compounded by the fact that they remain in the Earth's atmosphere for 38.9 and 28.2 years. Respectively Novec 1230 fluid has a GWP of less than one with an atmospheric lifetime of just seven days when non HFC chemical clean agents like Novec 1230 fluid became a viable alternative regulators initiated the phase down process when specifying a chemical clean agent for a fire suppression. It is necessary to look at the environmental sustainability of the product.

So what agents are being targeted for a global phase down the HFC products highlighted in red in 2016, the EPA ruled agents such as HFC 125 and HFC 278 were unacceptable for use in aerosols. Here's what the phase down looks like in the United States. As a non article five country, the United States will see a reduction in HFC production over time. As you can see in four years, they're targeting a 40% decrease in HFCs and in nine years, a 70% decrease in HFCs. Europe was one of the first to act on HFC phase downs with the passage of their F gas regulations and is already at a phase down rate of around 40% on March 12th, 2014, the European parliament voted to support a European commission proposal to greatly reduce the use of HFCs in a parallel action. Denmark and Switzerland have banned the use of HFCs. The DOD GSA and NASA issued a new procurement rule in 2016, stating that when feasible seek alternatives to high GWP products made up of HFC in summary because of the Kigali agreement to the Montreal protocol, HFCs began phase down globally, starting in 2019.

Many specifying engineers have recommended an environmental warranty to help protect their clients. A solid environmental warranty helps protect owners in the event of an agent being phased down now or in the future, based on its environmental profile. For example, 3M offers an environmental warranty called the blue sky warranty and it lasts for 20 years of all things. Safety may be the most talked about thing when it comes to fire protection, 3M Novec 1230 has the highest safety factor of any clean agent listed in NFPA 2001. Let's look at how we get there. Let's discuss safety margins for total. As they relate to room design for occupied spaces here, we have a typical 20 mile 35 foot room with a floor to ceiling height of 10 feet by the NFPA 2001 standard systems are designed by starting with an empty room.

Let's see what the impact is of adding contents to the room. We find the total cubic volume of the room and may deduct for areas such as permanent obstructions like support columns or concrete pads, if they are significant. The next step is to determine the fire class. In this example, a data center, we are concerned with electronics. So we select class C for the purpose of this example, the volume is 7,000 cubic feet. The NFP 2001 standard terms. What the agent design concentration shouldn't be when the system is triggered, the design concentration is the percentage of gas within the air in the room necessary to quickly extinguish the fire. In the case of 3M, Novec 1230, there would be 4.5% agent and 95.5% air present. After discharge note, this varies by agent selected safety margins are calculated on empty rooms. When items machines are placed in those rooms, the space for agent is decreased.

So the concentration of gas in a given area, it goes up, let's look at the no observable adverse effect level or the NOAEL. Yeah. Where the chemical agents and the no effect level, or NEL for inert gases systems are installed below these levels for occupied spaces. The class seat design concentrations are less than the respect of NOAELs. This provides a measure of safety. The exception is CO2, which is lethal at design concentrations. A margin of safety can be calculated between the noise and the design concentration being used. For example, Novec 1230 fluid is 122% gap between the class C design concentration and the NOAEL. Note 3M Novec 1230 fluid has the highest margin of safety of clean agents.

Now let's summarize what we have learned. Chemical agents are putting out the fire in 10 seconds compared to an gases, which have a longer discharge time of up to two minutes longer. Discharge is mean more time for fires to propagate Ram Novik brand 1230, fire protection fluid as the highest safety margin of any clean agent on the market today is electrically. Non-conductive being 2.3 times less conductive than even in a nerve gas like nitrogen, and is air transportable for fast serviceability, 3M Novec 1230 fire protection. Fluid is globally sustainable offering a 20 year blue sky warranty. Specifiers should always seek an agent with a low global warming potential. Why use a clean agent versus just water? Ask yourself, what is your cost for downtime? Cleanup lost revenue, lost customers. Look for competitive sourcing 3M Novec 1230 fire protection. Fluid is available globally through professional installers.

Here are some of the standards with which clean agents can comply. 3M. Novec 1230 fluid complies with all of these listed standards. And now what's new in the power industry for fire protection. Over the past several years, people in the power industry have been reaching out to 3M for an alternative to using CO2 or water mist in their gas turbine. Enclosures. Many of these enclosures are older and not sealed well, making it typically not feasible to use a clean agent, which normally needs a sealed environment. A power plant in Colorado was looking for alternatives to products like CO2 and water mist that had been previously used or considered in the past.

Here's a few of the key standards for fire suppression and power generation NFPA eight 50 recommended practice for electric generating plants and FPA 37 standard for gas turbines and FPA 2001 standard for clean agent fire extinguishment. We came up with the following objectives for an effective test. The system must protect three zones, meet the NFPA 2001 standard for discharge time and effectiveness conduct, extensive testing to validate predicted results against recording data to consistently maintain a design concentration alignment with NFPA eight 50 meet specific concentration, whole time requirements per NFP, 37, and the customer's request of 60 minutes and be safe for occupancy with a concentration below the NOAEL.

First a door fan test needed to be run to find out the leakage rate and how much extra product would be needed to make up the difference in keeping the extinguishing concentration above 85% per the NFP 2001 standard, which normally uses a whole time of 10 minutes. But in this case needed a whole time of 60 minutes. Everything needed to be documented and concentrations need to be accurately measured in signed in all 12 nozzles were evaluated and tested in a downsized version of one of the hazards to be retrofitted with 3M. Novec 1230 fluid. Here's a sample of some of the graphs using different nozzles and different flow rates, getting different results.

We decided to go with the two tank design using the first for a total flood of the space and the second for a metered flow rate to keep the concentration above the 85% level throughout the 60 minute test, we designed it. So an inline orifice plate on the second tank could be modified or changed as different leakage rates were needed in different areas. After the scale down testing was successfully performed and deemed repeatable. The final testing was moved to the customer's actual for concentration and whole time verification during a full scale discharge test, the results were very positive and concentrations remained above the 85% requirement for over 90 minutes. When we decided the test was a success and stop recording the data, the customer had only asked for a 60 minute hold time. Full-scale testing was performed and verified onsite confirming the test was repeatable and that the system complied with NFPA 2001 37 and eight 50 standards. The company immediately began adopting it for retrofitting other plants within their organization. These are a few of the important notes on the regulations around clean agent products or fire extinguishers, and some ways to get in touch with 3M with any additional questions.

Thank you for your time today.

Topics: Featured Article, Featured Blog, MCFP

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