How Does 3M Novec 1230 Fluid Work?

3M Novec 1230 fluid extinguishes fires by removing heat. All fires need heat, oxygen, and a fuel source to continue to burn. By removing any of these three elements, you can extinguish the fire. Other fire suppression agents, such as carbon dioxide, remove oxygen. But because the fluid removes heat instead of oxygen, it is safer to use in occupied spaces as it does not pose a suffocation risk for people.

Advantages:

  • The fluid is safe around people, so a fire suppression system with the agent can be installed in an occupiable space.
  • After a fire suppression system puts out a fire, the 3M Novec 1230 fluid evaporates immediately. 
  • The fluid leaves no residue and is safe for equipment, including sensitive electronics and machinery.

Disadvantages:

  • Compared to other types of fire suppression systems, systems using 3M Novec 1230 fluid can be more expensive.
  • The clean agent is not as common as other fire suppression chemicals, such as carbon dioxide, so it can be more expensive and time consuming to refill a fire suppression system with 3M Novec 1230 fluid after it has discharged.

Which Gas is Used in the Systems with 3M Novec 1230 Fluid?

3M Novec 1230 fluid is the brand name for the chemical compound (CF3CF2C(O)CF(CF3)2), manufactured by 3M. The fluid is stored as a liquid and discharges as a gas when the fire suppression system activates. There are many different manufacturers of fire suppression systems with the use of 3M Novec 1230 fluid, including Firetrace International. Some manufacturers offer fire suppression systems with generic (CF3CF2C(O)CF(CF3)2) not supplied by 3M. These systems may perform similarly, but they are not as genuine.

Is 3M Novec 1230 Fluid Dangerous?

Relative to most fire suppression chemicals, 3M Novec 1230 fluid is not dangerous. Unlike carbon dioxide, the agent is considered safe to use in occupied spaces. That means if the agent is released inside of a room with people in it, there is no suffocation risk or other serious health impacts. Toxicity studies show that 3M Novec 1230 fluid does not irritate the skin but may cause mild eye irritation. It is not a carcinogen, according to the Ames test.

How Much Does 3M Novec 1230 Fluid Cost?

3M Novec 1230 fluid is typically similar in cost to FM-200TM, another leading clean agent for fire suppression. At Firetrace, 3M Novec 1230 fluid is purchased as part of a fire suppression system. Only approved fire suppression system manufacturers can purchase 3M Novec 1230 fluid directly. Fire suppression systems with this clean agent cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the scale of the project.

What are the Similarities and Differences Between FM-200TM and 3M Novec 1230 Fluid?

3M Novec 1230 fluid and FM-200TM are different chemical compounds. 3M Novec 1230 fluid is a fluoroketone, while FM-200TM is a heptafluoropropane (HFC). Although both substances are clean agents and share similar properties, 3M Novec 1230 fluid is widely regarded as more environmentally friendly due to its lower Global Warming Potential (GWP). Additionally, the fluid is stored as a liquid, while FM-200TM is stored as a gas. However, they are both discharged as gases when a fire suppression system activates. Most importantly, both chemical compounds are safe to use in occupied spaces and are effective at suppressing class A, B, and C fires.

Learn more about fire suppression systems