High Pressure Water Mist (HPWM) v Other Technologies

High Pressure Water Mist Compared to Traditional Sprinkler Systems

Traditional sprinkler systems rely on large amounts of water delivered to the zone of a fire, as large water droplets. Traditional sprinkler systems therefore require large water storage tanks and result in extensive water damage to equipment, property and the areas surrounding a fire.

High pressure water mist in comparison uses significantly less water which results in less water damage. Additionally, high pressure water mist fights the fire on two fronts removing both oxygen and heat from the fire, something that a traditional sprinkler system cannot achieve.

AN OVERVIEW

High Pressure Water Mist Compared to Gas Suppression

Gas fire suppression systems have been proven to be effective at suppressing fire. However, they have a number of disadvantages when compared to high pressure water mist systems. One of the biggest disadvantages of a gas system is that the room or zone of fire needs to be vacated by all personnel before the system is set off.

The room or compartment to be protected by a gas suppression system must be air tight to prevent the escape of the gas for long enough to suppress the fire. This requires that doors, walls and ceilings must be fully sealed during construction. A full gas release or an integrity test of the protected space must be conducted at the time of acceptance.

Regardless of the size of a fire the full amount of gas will be released once the system has been triggered. Refilling the system is costly and the system will not be operational until the system has been recharged with a new supply of gas. This can take some time and the fire suppression system is not available during this period.

The Hydrocore high pressure water mist system is easy to reset following a fire event and using water as a fire suppressant means that there is no toxic discharge or environmental concerns following an activation.

Benefits of the Hydrocore High Pressure Water Mist System

  • Proven Technology. High Pressure Water Mist systems have been successfully deployed in many applications around the world, including mass transit systems, hotels, road tunnels, transformer substations, engine test cells, turbine rooms, machinery enclosures, generator rooms, heritage buildings, art collections, hospitals, warehousing and server rooms.
  • Quick & Effective Fire Suppression. Hydrocore High Pressure nozzles detect the fire and are automatically activated when the ambient temperatures rise beyond the set limit. Uniform cooling of the affected area suppresses the fire owing to the velocity and the angle of the water mist created by the nozzles. Also, the superior atomising effect offers reliable fire suppression and the cooling of the flammable material prevents re-ignition.
  • Immediate activation. As soon as a fire event is triggered, the High Pressure Water Mist can immediately activate as there is no need to evacuate the area; as pure water is used for suppressing fires, the system doesn’t have to wait for people to evacuate a hazard zone before attacking the seat of the fire. Evidence shows that the quicker the fire can be tackled, the less damage it can cause.
  • Minimal damage. Using small amount of pure water, Hydrocore high pressure water mist systems disperse finely atomised mist in the affected area. Atomised mist allows fast vaporisation limiting water damage.
  • Lower downtime and lower refill costs. Quick recovery and less downtime as against other suppression systems which need servicing or recharging post an activation. Only potable water is used which is readily available and at a low cost.
  • Ease of installation. Hydrocore high pressure water mist systems use a very small amount of water as compared to standard suppression systems and hence require small diameter pipes, which are easier to install and less intrusive.
  • Less space/weight. Water storage tanks for water mist systems are much smaller than those required for traditional sprinkler systems. This is where HPWM systems score highly as an existing building may not have enough space to accommodate a large water tank. Also, if the tank is to be installed anywhere but the basement, the floor may not be designed to carry as much weight. For example, a 60m³ tank would be approx. 60+tons in weight and would require an approximate space of 10m x 3m x 2m.
  • Ease of maintenance. Use of water without any chemical additives and the use of stainless steel for high pressure piping makes the system corrosion resistant which enhances the equipment life and ensures low operation and maintenance costs.
  • Safe and environmentally friendly. Hydrocore high pressure water mist systems use only pure water as a suppression agent. Hence the system can be activated even when people are in the affected area and fire safety personnel can also enter the hazard zones when the system is in action. Also, unlike a gas suppression system, there is no risk of explosion in a water mist system.
  • Reduced smoke concentration, improved visibility. The smoke in the air combines with the micro droplets, becomes heavier and falls to the ground. This dilutes the smoke in the air, improves visibility which aids safe evacuation of people. Besides, water mist absorbs CO, HCL and HF effectively and reduces secondary smoke damage and substantially reduces the damage costs.
  • Effective heat absorption. The micro droplets, dense and fast moving, rapidly vaporise absorbing heat at a much faster rate than a traditional sprinkler system. Rapid reduction in the ambient temperature helps suppress the fire.
  • Rapid Oxygen Displacement. Water expands by a factor of 1,700 times when it gets converted to steam. By creating a positive pressure water mist prevents the introduction of fresh air into the protected area and thus restricts oxygen fueling the fire.
  • Radiant Heat Blocking. Water Mist creates a shield around the fire blocking the radiant heat which prevents the fire from spreading or re-igniting.
  • Minimal damage and downtime. Thanks to the manner in which it suppresses fires, High Pressure Water Mist causes minimal damage to the built environment, making it faster and cheaper to restore the area post-fire.
  • Low water usage. The efficiency of this process means it uses far less water than a traditional sprinkler system.

Some mis-conceptions about High Pressure Water Mist System

  • Requires high purity water to avoid nozzle blockage. Not Correct: The system requires only potable water and has an integrated filter within the nozzle. Only stainless steel is used in all wetted parts.
  • High Pressure is dangerous to people. Not correct: Standby pressure is just 10bar, and only on activation does it reach 100bar.
  • Requires complex installation layouts. Not correct: layout is no more complex than for standard sprinkler systems and can be easily installed. High Pressure Water Mist systems have a smaller footprint for the pump/tank assembly and require smaller tubing.
  • Limits visibility when deployed. Not correct: whilst any activation needs to be respected, it is merely deploying water mist.
  • Residual water remains after a High Pressure Water Mist discharge. Not correct: The aftermath of a fire event is the soot particles that are left behind no matter which type of suppression system is used to bring the fire under control. Standard suppression systems would flood the room / zone with water and a lot of residual water is left behind which could damage the property. However, in case of high pressure water mist activation, the residual water is far too less as compared to a standard sprinkler system as substantially less amount of water is required to suppress the fire and majority of the water mist is converted to steam while trying to suppress the fire.