Best firefighter

Use liquid nitrogen instead of foam

Published: Tuesday 30 November 2004

the fire brigade can get a new weapon: liquid nitrogen instead of water or foam. This idea has been brought forward by scientists from Granat State Unitary Enterprise, Russia. As per the system, fire is extinguished by blocking its oxygen intake. In other words, by replacing air with nitrogen, an almost inert atmosphere is created, where the fire would inevitably die out. The system has no loopholes, as the materials that can burn without oxygen are rarely used in day-to-day life.

The benefits from this invention are many. When a fire occurs in a library, theatre or apartment building, things like manuscripts, costumes and computers get destroyed not only by the fire, but also by the water and foam used in conventional extinguishing system. The new system overcomes this drawback. Its use can even prevent dirty water and plaster fragments from falling over to the ground floor of apartment buildings.

The system also allows combating fire without switching off the electricity supply. This means people would not get stuck in the elevators of buildings on fire. Most importantly, the method is ecologically safe: the chemically inert nitrogen is one of the components of air. Its use also means saving precious water. It is even comparatively inexpensive -- though liquid nitrogen is more expensive than water, it is cheaper than foam. It is definitely more efficient: unlike conventional systems, it can extinguish even smouldering fire in materials such as cotton wool. There is yet another benefit -- there is no need to carry the equipment everywhere on fire engines. It can be installed in the vicinity of big libraries, museums, warehouses, granaries, custom terminals and other such places.

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