Numbers in the Fire Industry

Simply put, at the very basis of the fire industry are numbers. These numbers can be complex or not wholly understood and this undermines their value and use within the fire industry.

31˚C - CO2’s critical point: the temperature at which CO2 turns totally from liquid to gas.

CO2 is permanently under 720 psi or 49 bar of pressure ie nearly 50 times atmospheric pressure (by comparison a cup of water at sea level exists at 1 bar or 14.5 psi). Its state changes under increased temperatures to one that is neither a liquid nor a gas.

50-55˚C   -  critical points of FM-200® and Novec™1230 (turning from liquid to gas).

Gases under pressure are often effectively considered by the industry as single and passive cylinder columns of solid material from the perspective of their monitoring following installation. Whereas being under pressure and constantly changing under temperature they should be considered as active and dynamic systems requiring constant monitoring. These are not passive systems therefore; they are dynamic ones, and all dynamic systems under pressure need constant monitoring.

14520 - the ISO standard regarding fire systems from installation with regard to room integrity through to maintenance and inspection of contents

ISO 14520-1:2015(E) specifically states in Contents Indication that - Means shall be provided to indicate that each container is correctly charged and in At least annually, or more frequently as required by the authority, all systems shall be thoroughly inspected and tested for proper operation by competent personnel. Under ISO 14520 where gaseous extinguishing systems have to be designed in relation to the discharging agent hold-time (if the room cannot hold the agent because of leaks the agent will disperse and not extinguish the fire) and discharging agent peak pressure (if the pressure is too high for partition walls or suspended ceilings they will be blown apart or damaged and possibly destroying the room integrity). At the design stage of a fire extinguishing system rooms are tested for room integrity by positively pressurising a room and detecting escaping pressure to verify that the room itself into which the gaseous extinguishant discharges on actuation can both hold the agent after its discharge and hold its pressure on actuation.

5% - loss of agent above which it is deemed unacceptable in liquefied gaseous extinguishing system and thus requires refilling. 10% - loss of pressure above which it is deemed unacceptable in liquefied gaseous extinguishing systems and thus requires refilling

The assumptions in the installation, commissioning and maintenance of gaseous extinguishing systems is that they are highly pressurised but risk leaking and discharging. The regulations that sensibly underpin this assumption aim to identify their leak identification at an interval of every 6 months. Cylinders accidentally discharge. CO2 can cause fatalities if it does. 1% of pressure gauges fail and 25% of valves too. Essentially, it is known in regulations that the gaseous systems leak and need to be maintained. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that room, building e.t.c, then a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire.

1.5mm - the accuracy which Portalevel® and constant monitoring Permalevel® Multiplex can find the liquid level of agent in cylinders to.

26 seconds – The average test time to identify the liquid level in any liquid gaseous cylinder using the Portalevel® Max.

The UL approved Portalevel® Max is designed to inspect the content of Fire Suppression System Cylinders of CO2, FM-200™, Novec 1230, FE-13, FE-25, NAF S III, CEA410, Halons and a range of other extinguishing agents.

0.06mm  -  the size of leak site able to be detected by Portascanner® 520 in Room Integrity.

0.1mm± - The accuracy tolerance of both the Portagauge® 3 and Portagauge® 4 ultrasonic thickness gauges

The quick, simple and hardy Portagauge® 3 allows accuracy of ±0.1mm even on corroded, challenging and some plastic surfaces. It utilizes single echo technology which allows the unit to maintain accuracy even on corroded or challenging surfaces. It is ideal for corrosion, rust or condition inspections and is a highly dependable unit. The Portagauge® 4 is able to ignore surface coatings such as paint. With easy calibration the Portagauge® 4 is ideal for effective and efficient thickness gauging applications

±1% - accuracy of Portasonic® 2.FL0 portable ultrasonic flow meter of reading at rates >0.2m/s

It is a highly competitive ultrasonic transit time flow meter: able to accurately, reliably and quickly identify the rate of flow in pipework and make clear any obstructions. The benefit of this is that the device is non-invasive with clamp-on external sensors: stopping the difficulties of cutting sections of pipe, risking pressure drop or contamination.

1% - the accuracy of the agent weight calculated by the Portasteele®  CALCULATOR through liquid level identified using Portalevel® compared to weights determined by manual weighing methods

The Portasteele® Calculator is an advanced calculator application, that converts the liquid level height of C02, NOVEC™ 1230 and FM-200® liquefied gaseous extinguishant agent readings taken on an ultrasonic non-destructive liquid level indicator device into the agent weight/mass. 

Coltraco Ultrasonics are a world leading British Manufacturer of Ultrasonic Technology in core areas of watertight & room integrity and gaseous fire suppression systems. Coltraco Ultrasonics are award winning, as Innovate UK Best of British Innovator 2017, Seatrade Cruise Award Supplier of the Year 2017, SHE Award Fire Innovation of the Year Award 2018, amongst many others.

Keywords:CO2, FM200®, NOVEC 1230, FM®200, Gaseous Extinguishing System, ultrasonic thickness gauge, portable ultrasonic flow meter

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