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Sealability properties of fluorine-free fire-fighting foams (FfreeF)

Schaefer, T.H., Dlugogorski, B.Z. and Kennedy, E.M. (2008) Sealability properties of fluorine-free fire-fighting foams (FfreeF). Fire Technology, 44 (3). pp. 297-309.

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This contribution compares the sealability performance of recently developed three synthetic foam formulations (that do not contain fluorosurfactants or fluoropolymers) with that of an aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). We apply the sealability methodology outlined in the Australian Defence Force Specification, DEF(AUST)5706. This methodology specifies a 0.28 m2 small-scale indoor fire pan. The pan is first filled with 10 L of water and then 5 L of AVGAS (aviation gasoline, flash point of -50°C) or heptane (flash point of -4°C) is placed on top of the water. Foams were generated from a pressurised extinguisher with a foam nozzle as described in the standard's specification, set to create foams with expansion of 4:1. The foam spread across the fuel until the entire fuel surface was covered with foam. At 5 min intervals, a lit taper was introduced into the space above the pan area by passing it twice around the surface of the foam in a circular motion at a height of approximately 15 mm from the surface of the foam. The results demonstrate differences in the sealability performance between AFFF and fluorine-free foams (FfreeF). Under laboratory conditions, with a foam blanket 1-2 cm deep, best-performing FfreeF formulation (RF6) provides about 30% of the durability of an AFFF for protection against evaporation of low-flashpoint flammable liquids. We also note in the results the significant differences among FfreeF with almost no sealability of AVGAS vapours offered by the two other formulations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Copyright: © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.
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