One of the most dreadful incidents that can happen in a space ship or a submarine is a fire. Due to the isolation space, they can not use a regular fire extinguishers, so the crew is forced to use carbon dioxide equivalents. Before using them you must wear a face mask that takes a lot of time during this period the fire can cause a lot of damage. Hoping to fix this issue, researchers from Japan’s Toyohashi University of Technology presented a prototype of a safe fire extinguisher that works perfectly on a different principle.
Instead of extinguish the fire with foam, or carbon dioxide, a new fire extinguisher sucks the flame emitted gases and even fire source in a vacuum chamber. According to the developers, the vacuum quenching method (VEM) is most suitable for fire fighting in spaceships and submarines — not only that it eliminates fire, so he also leaves the air of harmful products of combustion.
Currently, space ships and stations of different countries used fire extinguishers that spray carbon dioxide. They were chosen because of the ability to safely extinguish the fire caused by electric short circuit is the main cause of fires in space. With all this, researchers are seeking alternative, as they are imperfect.
Cons carbon dioxide fire extinguishers:
- they spray carbon dioxide and circulate in a closed space, the products of combustion, so the crew needs time to put on protective masks;
- subsequently, to eliminate harmful substances from the air requires a lot of time;
- they need to be replaced often, making them unsuitable for long space missions, for example missions to Mars.
Than vacuum quenching better than other methods?
Perhaps, in terrestrial conditions, other methods are more effective and preferred, but in confined spaces the absorption of fire and products of combustion in a vacuum chamber. The technology eliminates the need of donning a protective mask, so people will be able to extinguish the fire immediately after its discovery, until he inflicted a lot of damage.
Researchers believe that the vacuum extinguishers will be useful not only in spacecrafts and submarines, but even in areas where sterility is important. For example, they can be used in the operating room, where agents from other extinguishers can damage expensive equipment.
Do you think you will get accustomed to a new type of fire extinguishers? Maybe you see them in the cons? Your opinion can be share in the comments or in our Telegram chat.