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Recent advances in sprinkler technology research, confirmed with large-scale fire tests, have demonstrated the feasibility of the early suppression of high-challenge fires with a few large-drop sprinklers when fast-response sprinkler links used.
In principle, early fire suppression is determined by the proper balance of three important factors: (1) convective heat release rate at sprinkler response (c); (2) actual delivered density (ADD), the sprinkler discharge actually penetrating the fire plume; and (3) required delivered density (RDD), the quality of water required to suppress fire growth. At the instant of sprinkler operation, a successful early suppression system must be able to provide sufficient ADD with the first few sprinklers operated in excess of the RDD. The faster the sprinkler response, the lower the convective heat release rate at sprinkler operation, the higher the ADD, the lower the RDD, and the easier it will be to achieve early suppression.
Factory Mutual Research Corp. has initiated an intensive program to define and verify the early suppression criteria which can be used as a base for the preparation of approval and application standards, and the development of new ESFR (early suppression fast response) sprinklers by the sprinkler manufacturers. An overview of the ESFR program is presented in this paper.
sprinkler technology, high-challenge fire, early suppression fast response sprinklers, rack storage of plastics, convective heat release rate, response time index, required delivered density, actual delivered density
Assistant vice president and manager, Applied Research Department, Factory Mutual Research Corp., Norwood, MA