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A Comparison of FPETool Predictions to Experimental Results: Comparison of Clean Agent and Sprinkler System Performance on In-Cabinet Fires:

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Title: A Comparison of FPETool Predictions to Experimental Results: Comparison of Clean Agent and Sprinkler System Performance on In-Cabinet Fires:


1
A Comparison of FPETool Predictions to
Experimental Results Comparison of Clean Agent
and Sprinkler System Performance on In-Cabinet
Fires
Mark L. Robin and Eric F. Forssell Hughes
Associates, Inc. and Steven T. Ginn Great Lakes
Chemical Corporation Presented at 2003 Halon
Options Technical Working Conference Sheraton Old
Town Albuquerque, New Mexico May 13-15, 2003
2
Introduction
  • Telco and EDP Facility Fire Protection
  • Clean agents
  • Automatic sprinklers
  • Clean agent Automatic sprinkler
  • Best Protection?
  • Objective
  • Compare performance of clean agent and automatic
    sprinkler systems
  • Employ FPETool for design of test scenario

3
Automatic Sprinkler Systems
  • Design objective is fire control
  • Contain fire to room of origin
  • Control ceiling temperature to avoid structural
    damage
  • Fire extinguishment NOT primary objective
  • Fire size at system activation relatively high
  • Sprinkler systems employ thermal response
  • Water not released until temperature at fusible
    link or glass bulb in excess of 135 oF

4
Automatic Sprinkler Systems Design Objectives
  • In general terms of property protection,
    sprinkler systems are typically designed to
    acheive fire control...
  • Fire control can be described as limiting the
    fire size by decreasing the rate of heat release
    and pre-wetting adjacent combustibles, while
    maintaining ceiling gas temperatures so as to
    avoid structural damage

NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 19th Edition, p.
10-193.
5
Fire Control
Heat
sprinkler activation
Release
Rate
Time
6
Automatic Sprinkler Systems Standard Preaction
System
  • System piping charged with air under pressure
  • System equipped with a supplemental detection
    system
  • Water held back by a preaction valve
  • Operation of the supplemental detection system
    allows the preaction valve to open, admitting
    water into the pipe network (sprinkler still
    closed)
  • Water discharged from pipe network when fire has
    generated sufficient heat to activate one or more
    sprinklers

7
Preaction System
Operation of detector trips valve Water
delivered when head TT rating
Valve
Control
Detector
panel
Sprinkler head
Water supply
8
Clean Agent Suppression SystemsPrimary
Advantages
  • Ability to extinguish shielded, obstructed or
    three-dimensional fires in complex geometries
  • Clean agents are gases
  • Uniform distribution throughout an enclosure
  • Ability, through the use of detection, to
    extinguish fires at a very early stage
  • Extinguishment well before direct or indirect
    fire/smoke damage occurs
  • Cause no collateral damage due to agent discharge
  • Are clean
  • No residues

9
Clean Agent Systems Design Objective Fire
Extinguishment
Fire Control vs. Fire Extinguishment
Heat
Release
Fire Control (Sprinklers)
Rate
Fire extinguishment
(clean agent)
Time
10
Clean Agent System vs. Sprinkler System (Fire
Extinguishment vs. Fire Control)
sprinkler activation
FIRE CONTROL
Heat
Release
clean agent
Rate
system activation
detection
FIRE EXTINGUISHMENT
Time
11
Comparison of Sprinkler and Clean Agent Systems
12
Comparison Testing of Preaction Sprinkler and
FM-200 Systems
  • FM-200 System
  • Designed and installed in accordance with NFPA
    2001
  • Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13
  • Detection/Alarm Systems
  • Designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 72

13
Comparison Testing of Preaction Sprinkler and
FM-200 Systems
  • Facility
  • 32.8 x 32.8 x 12 foot enclosure
  • 1.5 ft deep subfloor suspended ceiling 2 ft
    below drywall ceiling
  • 1/2 gypsum board over metal stud construction
  • Enclosure access via two doors
  • Eight polycarbonate windows
  • Motorized damper system in ceiling for post-test
    exhaust

14
Comparison Testing of Preaction Sprinkler and
FM-200 Systems
  • FM-200 Tests
  • Subfloor covered in plastic to prevent leakage of
    agent into subfloor
  • Sprinkler Test
  • Plastic formed into dike to contain water and
    facilitate removal of water after testing
  • All Tests
  • Area 20 x 26 ft covered with floor tiles
  • Cabinet containing fire array and various
    articles of furniture
  • arranged on floor tiles

15
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17
Comparison Testing of Preaction Sprinkler and
FM-200 Systems
  • Test Fire
  • Eight sheets of 8 x 16 x 0.375 inch ABS
  • Vertically arranged in two rows of four sheets
  • Mounted on all-thread rods in unistrut stand
  • Fire array placed in a equipment cabinet
  • Ignition 3 mL heptane in 2 inch square pan
  • Similar to plastic sheet fire test of UL 2166, UL
    2127

18
Fuel Array
19
Heat Release Rate for In-Cabinet Fire
20
Comparison of Preaction Sprinkler and FM-200
Systems
  • Smoke Detection Systems (FM-200 System)
  • Fenwal AnaLASER II
  • Air-sampling system, designed and installed by
    distributor
  • 1 inch PVC tubing main, 0.75 inch PVC branch
    lines
  • Flow rate through system 0.0624 ft3/s
  • 0.061 obscuration per foot alarm threshold
  • Nine sampling holes, 11 ft spacings
  • Exceeds NFPA 72 requirements
  • Based on FM Loss Prevention Data Sheet 5-32 on
    Electronic Data Processing Systems

21
Comparison of Preaction Sprinkler and FM-200
Systems
  • Smoke Detection Systems (FM-200 and Sprinkler)
  • Simplex 4098 series True Alarm detectors
  • Ionization and photoelectric
  • Ionization 1.3 obscuration/ft
  • Photoelectric 2.5 obscuration/ft
  • Located at three air sampling points nearest fire
    location

22
FM-200 Suppression System
  • Designed in accordance with NFPA 2001
  • 7 by volume FM-200
  • Discharge time 9.5 seconds
  • Hygood Ltd cylinder
  • Hygood Ltd 8-port aluminum nozzle
  • orifice area 1.57 in2
  • System design via Hygood Ltds design software
  • 30 s delay employed from detection to system
    activation
  • Maximum delay time allowed under recommendations
    of FM Global Property Loss Prevention Sheet 5-14
    on Telecommunication Facilities

23
Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Designed in accordance with NFPA 13
  • Design and installation based on Ordinary Hazard
    Class I
  • Nine sprinkler heads in main space
  • Nine sprinkler heads above suspended ceiling
  • 11 ft spacing for area coverage of 121 ft2
  • Maximum spacing allowed under NFPA 13 is 15 ft
  • Recessed pendant standard response glass bulb
    sprinklers
  • Temperature rating 155 oF
  • Application density of 0.15 gpm/ft2 required

24
Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Water supply
  • NFPA 13 requires water supply to be adequate to
    supply all sprinklers within the design area for
    a minimum of 60 minutes
  • 18.2 gpm/head x 18 heads x 60 min 19,600
    gallons water
  • Test facility unable to handle this quantity of
    water
  • Water supply designed to supply the two
    sprinklers nearest the fire location for a period
    of 30 minutes at the required design flow rate of
    18.2 gpm (application density 0.15 gpm/ft2)

25
  • Four thermocouple trees (Type K)
  • Optical density
  • O2, CO, CO2
  • FTIR FM-200 and HF concentrations
  • Enclosure pressure
  • Nozzle pressure
  • IR camera

Enclosure Instrumentation
26
  • Data acquisition commenced with ignition of
    heptane below the ABS plastic array
  • Room remained sealed during entire test
  • FM-200 system system activated 30 s after
    AnaLASER II smoke detection system went into
    alarm
  • During preaction sprinkler system test, water
    supply pump started prior to start of data
    acquisition

Test Procedure
27
Input for FPETool Simulations
28
Input for FPETool Simulations
29
Heat Release Rate Required for Sprinkler
Activation
  • Input
  • Experimental HRR
  • Location of fire
  • Enclosure dimensions
  • Location of sprinkler heads
  • Properties of sprinkler heads
  • Predict activation of NE sprinkler head at 249
    seconds
  • Ceiling jet temperature 249 oF
  • Fire size approximately 210 kW

30
  • Input
  • Experimental HRR
  • Location of fire
  • Enclosure dimensions
  • Location of smoke detector
  • FPETool default activation temperature of 23 oF
    above initial T
  • Predict activation of NE smoke detector at 95
    seconds
  • Ceiling jet temperature 93 oF
  • Fire size approximately 15 kW

Smoke Detector Activation Time
31
Results FM-200 System
  • AnaLASER II alarmed at 78 seconds from ignition
  • FM-200 system activated at 108 seconds from
    ignition
  • Fire extinguished at 125 seconds from ignition
  • 7 seconds from end of system discharge
  • Maximum ceiling T of 85 oF observed
  • Fire damage
  • slight scorching of inside of test cabinet
  • Non-fire damage
  • several ceiling tiles displaced
  • ceiling runner slightly bent

32
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33
system activation
detection
extinguishment
Extinguishment of In-Cabinet Fire by FM-200
34
Results Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Photoelectric detector in NE corner in full alarm
    at 94 seconds from ignition
  • Ionization detector in NE corner in full alarm at
    112 seconds from ignition (FPETool 95 s)
  • Complete obscuration due to smoke at
    approximately 240 seconds from ignition

35
Results Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Sprinkler head in NE corner actuated at 273
    seconds from ignition (FPETool 249 s)
  • Sprinkler head in N corner actuated at 347
    seconds from ignition
  • Fire not extinguished by sprinkler system
  • IR camera shows fire burning through entirety of
    test
  • Fire contained to source cabinet
  • Max ceiling temperature of 560 oF observed at
    thermocouple tree nearest fire

36
system activation
detection
Control of In-Cabinet Fire with Preaction System
37
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38
Results Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Fire Damage
  • Test cabinet suffered extensive scorching
  • Non-Fire Damage
  • Black ring around entire enclosure
  • Ceiling tiles discolored
  • Soot particles scrubbed from smoke layer cover
    floor, horizontal surfaces
  • Walls discolored from smoke damage
  • Water damage to paper goods

39
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41
Conclusions System Performance
  • Preaction Sprinkler System
  • Design objective attained Fire was controlled
  • System performed exactly as expected
  • Fire contained to room of origin
  • Ceiling temperatures managed such that structural
    damage and/or collapse did not occur
  • Structure saved
  • FM-200 System
  • Design objective attained Fire extinguished
  • System performed exactly as expected
  • Contents of structure saved

42
Conclusions
  • Clean agent and preaction sprinkler systems
    vastly different
  • Fundamental design objective different Control
    vs Extinguishment
  • Preaction systems best suited to protection of
    structure
  • Clean agent systems best suited to protection of
    contents of structure
  • Sprinkler systems alone inappropriate for
    protection of high value assets
  • Clean agents not ideally suited for structural
    protection
  • FPETool useful for predicting performance of
    sprinkler system and estimation of ceiling jet
    temperatures, smoke detector activation and for
    test fire selection

43
Conclusions
  • Applications involving expensive, sensitive
    assets
  • Use of clean agents justified
  • Clean agents offer unparalled peformance for very
    early extinguishment of fires
  • Maximum fire protection provided by use of a
    clean agent system in combination with a
    sprinkler system
  • Substantial additional risk reduction at high
    benefit/cost ratios can be realized by protecting
    such assets with both a clean agent system and a
    sprinkler system

44
Acknowledgements
  • Great Lakes Chemical Corporation
  • Steve Ginn
  • Hughes Associates, Inc.
  • Eric Forssell
  • Jason Ouellette
  • Matt Harrison
  • Ralph Ouellette
  • Art Hammett
  • Jason Kennedy
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