At Life Safety Inspections, we specialize in fire suppression systems, and we want to help you get the right one for your business. In this article, we will focus on foam fire suppression systems and provide an overview of how they work. We hope that this information will help you decide whether this type of system is the right choice for your needs.
What is the foam in foam fire suppression systems?
First, we’ll go over what the foam used in these fire suppression systems consists of. The foam itself is made of a combination of a foaming agent, air, and water. The foaming agent is designed to form small, air-filled bubbles that are less dense than water, and the combination of bubbles and water forms the foam. In addition, firefighting foam comes in multiple varieties, which spread out at different rates and form layers of varying thicknesses—high-expansion foam spreads out a lot, forming a thin layer, while low-expansion foam spreads out less, forming a thicker layer.
How does a foam fire suppression system put out fires?
Fires need three things in order to burn: fuel, heat, and oxygen. Removing any one of these points of the “fire triangle” extinguishes the fire. Foam fire suppression systems work by smothering the fire—the foam falls on the ignition fuel and cuts it off from oxygen, which puts out the flames. The bubbles in the foam form an airtight layer that halts the combustion process, and the water in the foam cools the fuel to prevent the latent heat from reigniting any flammable vapors.