How Foam Extinguishes Fire

In chemical terms the combustion process is a fast running reaction between a flammable material and atmospheric oxygen induced by the ignition temperature. To extinguish a fire the burning material must be separated from the atmospheric oxygen or cooled down to below the combustion temperature. This is exactly what fire extinguishing foam does. The following fire extinguishing effects are utilised when using fire extinguishing foam:

Separating effect

The closed foam cover separates the combustion zone from the ambient air and prevents any further supply of oxygen to the flammable material.

Cooling effect

The water drained from the foam evaporates in the area of the flame front whereby heat is withdrawn and the reaction velocity between the flammable material and atmospheric oxygen is reduced significantly. The flammable material is cooled down by the water/ foam solution discharged by the foam.

Cover effect

The closed foam cover stops any further gas evaporation from burning materials, i.e. flammable gases from the incendiary matter can no longer get into the combustion zone Cooling the burning material at the same time reduces the vapour pressure whereby outbursts of gas and thus re-ignition are avoided.

The preventive application of foam onto spilled volatile products prevents emissions harmful to the environment. This also significantly reduces the danger of fire.

Repression effect

Flooding spaces, channels, plant parts, etc. with high or medium expansion foam represses the the atmospheric oxygen and flammable gases necessary for the combustion process.

Insulation effect

The low thermal conductivity of the foam insulates flammable material which has not yet caught fire or has already been extinguished against thermal radiation and ignition sources.

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