Fire Suppression in slow motion
The primary goal of a fire suppression system is to prevent a fire from spreading. This slow-motion video shows a Firetrace direct release system detecting and suppressing a fire that ignited in an electrical server rack. Here’s what you’re watching.
00:00 Fire begins
Fires begin for various reasons in different environments. Combustible liquids, such as the oil-based coolants used in CNC machines, may spark due to friction and ignite. In electrical panels or server racks such as the one in this video, electrical arcing can flash and ignite fires. This causes damage to the equipment by melting wires and igniting other flammable materials in the environment.
04.92 Fire Detection Tubing begins to warp
An automatic fire suppression system with detection that does not require electricity is protecting the server rack. Routed throughout the server, the red Firetrace Detection Tubing is a linear, pneumatic heat detector. The system does not require any electricity. If a fire originates within the server rack, the tubing will respond by rupturing and activating the fire suppression system. Watch the tubing begin to warp in response to the fire, ultimately bursting due to the heat.
08.94 Detection tubing bursts and agent discharges
When the detection tubing reaches a critical temperature, it bursts releasing the pressure of the system. As a direct release system, the fire-suppressing agent discharges through the burst hole in the detection tubing. You can see the tubing recoil with the force of the discharge.
The agent quickly discharges where the fire began, and before it had a chance to spread to cause extensive damage to the equipment. The systems use a clean agent to suppress the fire, which did not damage the electrical equipment.
How does fire suppression work?
The detection tubing connects to a pressurized cylinder mounted to the side of the server rack. When the tubing bursts, the pressure differential causes the agent to discharge from the cylinder suppressing the fire. In this video, the direct release system discharges the agent through the burst hole in the detection tubing. Another fire suppression option is an indirect release system. This system is similar except when the fire detection tubing bursts, the change in pressure releases the agent through separate hoses and nozzles.
We saw the system was able to detect and suppress the fire in 10 seconds, discharging enough agent to prevent a reflash from occurring. Regardless of the method of fire suppression, direct and indirect systems protect assets through the detection tubing routed within the enclosure. Understanding fire suppression systems and their capabilities will help you select a system that will mitigate and prevent potential damage to critical assets during a fire.