Fighting fire with Novec

Florida based Tyco Fire and Security has developed a fire protection system that fights fire without causing damage to irreplaceable objects like works of art.

The Sapphire fire suppression system, as it is called, uses a recently developed chemical agent made by 3M called Novec 1230. It looks exactly like water, but does not cause the type of damage associated with water when putting out a fire.

3M says that the Novec 1230 fluid (C6-fluoroketone) is environmentally-friendly too – it provides a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs, such as HFC-227ea or HFC-125). And it also offers a ‘Global Warming Potentia’l (GWP) of 1, the lowest of any halocarbon alternative, which is equivalent to the GWP of naturally occurring carbon dioxide. Furthermore, it has an atmospheric lifetime of five days compared to decades and even centuries for some HFCs.

The Sapphire system itself chemically interferes with the fire combustion process, therefore bringing it to a halt. It is claimed that the system also works faster than a water sprinkler system because it can identify particles of combustion and deploy the Novec fluid prior to flames occurring.

The system is available through Tyco’s worldwide fire protection businesses in the USA, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.