Foam sprinkler systems are used to suppress liquid fires. When foam combines with water, it expands to cover the liquid that is on fire, cools the fire and then suffocates it. There are multiple delivery systems used to distribute foam. In the first system, a bladder tank pushes foam from the tank to the proportioner to mix the foam concentrate with water. This system is all mechanical with no electrical parts that could fail due to fire. A foam pump is another delivery system. The pump moves the foam from a storage tank by pumping it into the sprinkler system at the correct concentration. Foam comes in low, medium and high expansion. The higher the expansion rate, the larger the space that can be protected.
- Areas that store flammable liquids
- Processing areas
- Marine applications
- Jet engine test facilities
- Aircraft hangers
Why use foam sprinkler systems?
- Reliability – Foam systems use a chemical agent in addition to water. This combination suffocates challenging fires quickly.
- Speed of Suppression – Foam is able to put out hotter fires more quickly which results in reduced property damage.
- Effectiveness – Foam prevents reignition because it suppresses flammable vapors.
Limitations of foam sprinkler systems:
- Clean up will be more involved as you will have chemical foam throughout the space.
- Chemical agents can be corrosive.