One of the worst incidentsthat can happen in a spaceship or submarine is a fire. Due to the closeness of the space, it is impossible to use conventional fire extinguishers in them, so the crew is forced to use carbon dioxide analogues. Before using them, you must wear a protective mask, which takes a lot of time - during this period the fire can cause great damage. Hoping to fix this problem, researchers from Japanese Toyohashi University of Technology presented a prototype of a safe fire extinguisher that works on completely different principles.
Instead of putting out the fire with foamor carbon dioxide, a new fire extinguisher sucks in flames, emitted gases and even a source of fire in a vacuum chamber. According to the developers, the vacuum extinguishing method (VEM) is most suitable for extinguishing fire in space ships and submarines - not only does it eliminate fire, it also does not leave harmful combustion products in the air.
Currently in spaceships andstations in different countries use fire extinguishers that spray carbon dioxide. They were chosen because of the ability to safely extinguish a fire caused by an electrical circuit - the main cause of fires in space. With all this, researchers are looking for an alternative to them, since they are imperfect.
Disadvantages of carbon dioxide fire extinguishers:
- they spray carbon dioxide and distribute the products of combustion in a confined space, so the crew needs time to put on protective masks;
- subsequently, it also takes a long time to remove harmful substances from the air;
- they need to be replaced often, which makes them unsuitable for long space missions - for example, for flights to Mars.
How is vacuum quenching better than other methods?
Perhaps on land, other methods are moreeffective and preferable, but in confined spaces, the suction of fire and combustion products in a vacuum chamber is the very thing. The technology eliminates the need to put on a protective mask, so people will be able to put out the fire immediately after its detection, until it caused great damage.
Researchers believe that vacuum fire extinguisherswill be useful not only in space ships and submarines, but even in rooms where sterility is important. For example, they can be used in operating rooms where substances from other fire extinguishers can damage expensive equipment.
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