Water mist system – an innovative solution for fire fighting
Water-based firefighting systems have been a part of the industry for centuries. However, when it comes to rethinking the sustainable use of water resources in the fire protection industry, experts have evolved with time and technology to bring about new reforms. Water mist systems have laid the foundation as an eco-friendly solution producing seven times higher cooling effects than conventional water-based extinguishers. The ability of mist to penetrate everywhere to cool and extinguish the fire brings about an edge over the water-based systems.
Water mist system and its working principle:
The water mist system is a fire protection system that converts water into steam to restrict, suppress, or extinguish the fire by using evaporation to cool down the flame and surrounding gases. The effectiveness of the system is determined by its flux density, droplet size distribution, and spray dynamics.
The fire triangle depicts that the extent of fire depends on the amount of heat, oxygen, and combustible material it gets. Elimination of any one of these will extinguish a fire. Thus, a water mist system attacks oxygen and heat.
- Extraction of heat – Small water droplets create a large surface area allowing the optimal exchange of energy between mist and the immediate areas. As soon as the water droplets come in contact with the fire, they extract heat and evaporate.
- Inerting effect – As soon as the water droplets evaporate, their volume increases. It consequently displaces the oxygen at the source of fire and the fire extinguishers.
How does the water mist system work?
The turbines inbuilt in the system convert water into fine water droplets, i.e. mist. The droplets are then distributed by propellers. Turbines enable the water mist to be distributed to reach larger distances. The benefit of mist is that it can develop a broader water surface and consequently a larger surface area for transporting the heat. Fine water droplets envelop the burning object because of low sedimentation speed. Even the hidden sources of fire are reachable with the help of mist due to its small size.
How is the water mist system better than conventional systems?
One of its major advantages over water-based firefighting systems is the significantly less consumption of water whilst covering a larger area. Water mist is competent to extract more heat from the fire source and create cooling effects in the immediate surroundings. It also binds and precipitates soot and smoke to bring them to the ground. Uses of this innovative technology have led to several advantages such as:
· Sustainable and eco-friendly solution
· Reduced use of water resource
· Enhanced cooling effects
· Improved protection against radiant heat
· Instant activation
· Efficient in extinguishing a wide variety of fires
· No corrosive material as by-products
· Covers larger surface area
· Minimal space requirement for set-up
Application in buildings:
With the increasing need for sustainable fire safety measures, water mist systems can act as an excellent alternative. It is energy-efficient, uses less space, and contributes to water conservation up to a great extent.
The modern urban environment needs an active fire fighting system that is competent enough to subdue all kinds of fire. Occupant’s safety is of top priority for any architect or builder and hence the quality of the firefighting system cannot be compromised. Especially in the case of high-rise buildings with huge occupancy, it is a top priority to install active fire fighting systems that can detect the fault automatically and eliminate the fire source instantly. Water mist systems have been successfully proving their efficiency in all building types, be it residential, museums, hotels, offices, etc.
Case study: Marriott hotel
Marriott is among the top 5 leading hotel management companies in the world. It is a well-established company renowned for its luxurious hotels and services throughout the world for which occupant safety is a top priority. They follow strict life safety measures and conduct regular inspection programs to ensure the safety of the occupants. Owing to its efficient performance, the water mist fire fighting system has opted as an alternative to the traditional sprinkler system by many properties of Marriott.
In Marriott’s project in London, it was identified that the installation of a traditional sprinkler system would be problematic. In order to overcome the infrastructure challenge whilst ensuring a reliable fire fighting system, a water mist system was installed. Not only did it save space and water resources but also satisfied the performance requirement of Marriott’s fire safety standards.
Over a period of time, the water mist system has been proven to serve as a better alternative to the traditional water sprinkler system. It covers more surface area while consuming much less water as a resource. It is efficient in fighting fire, heat as well as smoke. While serving as an eco-friendly solution, it also complies with all fire safety standards.
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