F-500 Encapsulator Agent (EA)
Hybrid and Electric Car Fires
Modern automobiles with ethanol-blended fuels, magnesium, titanium and aluminum components, plastic trim parts and tires are challenging enough, but with more and more hybrid and electric vehicles on the road with high-voltage lithium-ion batteries, car fires have become more than a challenge. Forward thinking battery and vehicle manufacturers in Germany began testing batteries in early 2009. These companies included Bosch, Daimler, Dekra Industrial and Deutsche ACCUmotive. In 2011, based on the testing, the State Fire School of Baden-Wurttemberg issued an application guideline for fighting these modern vehicle fires referencing the use of F-500 Encapsulator Agent. The findings were presented at the SAE International 2013 World Congress and Exposition in Detroit in April, 2013. Due to F-500 EA’s ability to cool, encapsulate and penetrate, F-500 EA was recommended for hybrid and electric vehicle fires.
The inability of foam and powders to extinguish transformer fires in New York City led firefighters and ConEdison to find a solution. F-500 EA was tested by ConEdison in New York and found to be the only agent capable of being applied to an energized, 345,000 volt transformer with a safe amount of voltage back to the nozzle. A 3% F-500 EA solution can be safely streamed on transformers from 125 feet, saving time normally lost waiting for power companies to remove the power. F-500 EA’s ability to cool the hot mineral oil and metal mass is critical to prevent reignition. Since oil is involved, F-500 EA’s encapsulation technology goes to work, quickly extinguishing transformer fires.
The same encapsulation properties that have proven so invaluable extinguishing fires also renders gasoline, ethanol-blended fuels, diesel fuel and oil spills nonflammable and nonignitable on highways or parking lots. Applying 1 part of F-500 EA in a water solution from a nozzle to 8 parts of the spilled fuel completes the encapsulation process. The residue can be left to evaporate or safely removed depending on applicable statutes.
A firefighting foam has to form a blanket to suffocate a fire. Forming a sustainable blanket on a three-dimensional fire is improbable, so NFPA 11-Annex A.1.1 concludes, “Foam is not suitable for three-dimensional flowing liquid fuel fires or for gas fires.” F-500 EA cools the fuel and surrounding structure. If you remove the heat, you remove the fire. At the same time, F-500 EA is encapsulating the fuel making it nonflammable.
In most of the country, fire hydrants are not available. The fire must be extinguished by the water on the truck. Usually that is 500 to 1,000 gallons. With a nozzle applying 125 gpm, the firefighter has 4-8 minutes to get that fire out. F-500 Encapsulator Agent’s ability to reduce heat and encapsulate the fuel makes it a superior knockdown agent. F-500 EA is your best chance at making the 500 or 1,000 gallons of water as productive as possible. This means your fire is out, permanently, before additional water is required. Overhaul time is minimized and rekindle callbacks don’t occur. There’s no need for an expensive drafting operation from a nearby pond or to call in a support tank truck. Firefighters can return to service for the next call.
The time needed to extinguish a fire reduces damage from fire, as well as from excessive water. Runoff is reduced so diking is improbable. There is less firefighter fatigue that results in injuries. For paid per call firefighters, time on scene is reduced and less water used means less water costs.
Recycled tires present a challenge because burning tires begin to exude the oil made to produce them and the steel belting retains the heat. It could be argued tires are a Class B fire, which explains why water is ineffective. A tire fire is also a three-dimensional fire that is very difficult for foam to extinguish. F-500 EA cools the hot oil and steel belting and extinguishes the fire, quickly turning the black smoke to a warm, white vapor.
Class D Combustible Metal Fires
Nothing cools and extinguishes burning titanium and magnesium fires like F-500 EA. With temperatures from 3,000 to 5,000°F, applying water instantly causes an explosion as the hydrogen and oxygen molecules separate into gases that are both combustible. The F-500 EA forms a protective skin around the water droplets and prevents these explosions. The F-500 EA goes to work, rapidly reducing the temperature.
F-500 EA has gained a reputation as a problem solved in the power industry for mitigating PRB coal fires. As a long-standing member and sponsor of the PRB Coal Users’ Group, HCT has successfully used F-500 EA to extinguish coal fires throughout the coal handling system including deep-seated silo, bunker and pile fires. If water is applied to burning coal, dust is dislodged and ignites violently, creating a flare-up. Using F-500 EA prevents this flare-up and has exceptional penetrating capabilities. Other combustible dusts are a high priority with OSHA due to constant fires and explosions throughout various industries. Additional combustible dusts F-500 EA can help to control include grain, sugar, flour, sawdust, wood chips, rubber crumb, metals, polymers and chemicals.
Under Turbine Lube Oil
After multiple turbine fire incidents, FM Global performed turbine fire testing and found the fires were so hot, they could undermine the structure of the turbine buildings causing extensive damage. They also concluded the NFPA standard of .25 gpm/ft2 for turbine fire suppression systems was inadequate. Dominion power company decided to have some independent testing performed to see if F-500 EA could enhance the fire suppression system enough to avoid designing and purchasing a new system with larger piping. Their testing proved using F-500 EA at 3% in a .25 gpm/ft2 suppression system was more effective than plain water at .40 gpm/ft2 extinguishing diesel fuel. The F-500 EA showed permanent temperature drops from 1200°F to around 100°F in less than 20 seconds, whereas the water dropped to about 300°F and then kept rising. Another test showed F-500 EA used 83% less water to extinguish the fire.
NASCAR and Formula 1 Racing
After an incident at a Formula 1 Grand Prix race in Barcelona and at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, officials on two continents began to rethink how they were handling hazards at the track. After testing, they both concluded F-500 EA was the product of choice for hazards in and around the tracks. Today, the Hockenheim Circuit in Germany and the Charlotte Motor Speedway both have F-500 EA available on their emergency trucks and in strategic areas.