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Fourier Transform Infrared Diagnostics for Improved Fire Detection Systems.

pdf icon Fourier Transform Infrared Diagnostics for Improved Fire Detection Systems. (133 K)
Serio, M. A.; Bonanno, A. S.; Knight, K. S.; Newman, J. S.

NISTIR 5904; October 1996.

National Institute of Standards and Technology. Annual Conference on Fire Research: Book of Abstracts. October 28-31, 1996, Gaithersburg, MD, 115-116 pp, 1996.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB97-153514


fire research; fire science; fire detection systems; FT-IR; false alarms; photoelectric detectors; semiconductors


A major advance in the past two decades is the availability of low cost smoke detectors based on either ionization or photoelectric detectors. However, these detectors have some drawbacks because of the high frequency of false alarms. Other types of detector technologies have been developed for specific gases, such as CO2, CO, or O2, based on metal oxide semiconductors, electrochemical sensors, or optical sensors. However, all single parameter methods are hindered by the lack of generality for several types of fires and a lack of "intelligence," i.e., not always being able to discriminate against false signals. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of an Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy based fire detection system. This work involved four tasks: [1] modification of an FT-IR spectrometer system to investigate three different detection modes (open-path, cross-duct, extraction into a multi-pass cell); [2] FT-IR measurements in the three modes for several types of flames; [3] investigation of advanced signal processing techniques for data analysis; [4] preliminary design of a prototype fire detection system. The types of fires examined included polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane, douglas fir, methanol, hexane and heptane.