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Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP). FY2000 Annual Report.


pdf icon Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP). FY2000 Annual Report. (4056 K)
Gann, R. G.

NIST TN 1437; NIST Technical Note 1437; Annual Report; 48 p. March 2001.

Available from:

Orders Only) 800-553-6847;
Website: http://www.ntis.gov
Order number: PB2001-105080

Keywords:

fire suppression; fire research; halon 1301; halon alternatives

Abstract:

This is a year of transition for the Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP). The Department of Defense (DOD) had initiated the NGP in FY1997, with a goal to develop and demonstrate, by 2004, retrofitable, economically feasible, environmentally acceptable, and user-safe processes, techniques, and fluids that meet the operational requirements currently satisfied by halon 1301 systems in existing weapons systems. Fires and explosions were (and are) among the greatest threats to the safety of personnel and the survivability of military aircraft, ships, and land vehicles in peacetime and during combat operations. Production of halon 1301 (CF3Br), long the fire suppressant of choice, had ceased as of January 1, 1994 due to its high ozone-depleting potential (ODP). By 1997 the DoD had identified the best available replacements for halon 1301, but each had unresolved operational features that compromised its implementation. The new Program was to identify fire suppression technologies with reduced compromises. Support for the NGP was to come from the DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), the Military Department Science and Technology Programs, and cost sharing from the participating laboratories. However, full support from the Military Departments did not materialize, and in November 1999, agreement was reached on an NGP of about half its original size. SERDP committed to maintaining its support, but at a lower level beginning in FY2002. The NGP goal was modified in keeping with the new level of resources: "Develop and demonstrate, by 2005, technology for economically feasible, environmentally acceptable and user-safe processes, techniques, and fluids that meet the operational requirements currently satisfied by halon 1301 systems in aircraft." The focus on aircraft fire suppression emerged from the aircraft safety and survivability engineering teams from all three Services having fire suppression needs for engine nacelles and dry bays that were not being supported by research efforts outside the NGP. The NGP strategy has been updated and can be found at the NGP web site: www.dtic.mil/ngp/. The demands on the new fire suppression technologies have not lessened. They need to be of low mass and volume and compatible with the host aircraft design. New chemicals must have high suppression efficiency and perform well in evaluations of ODP, global warming potential, atmospheric lifetime, reignition quenching, residue level, electrical conductivity, corrosivity to metals, polymeric materials compatibility, long-term storage stability, toxicity of the chemical and its combustion and decomposition products, speed of dispersion, and occupational safety. The expectations from the NGP were reduced. By FY2001, the NGP would deliver understanding of how chemicals must interact with flames to be as effective as halon 1301, appraisal of the world of useful chemicals, identification of the best places to look for alternative suppressants and a first set of "best looks," a suite of screening tests and guidance for their use, and a method for comparing the life-cycle costs of new fire suppression technologies. At the end of FY2000, the NGP has completed its fourth year of research, having expended about two thirds of the planned resources and having produced nearly all of these deliverables. The following section of the report highlights the new knowledge gained from the NGP research and the progress made towards the NGP Goal. A concluding section forecasts where the research will proceed from this time forward. An appendix lists all the NGP projects.