Date of Award

6-2013

Degree Name

MS in Engineering

Advisor

Thomas Korman, Christopher Dicus, and Frederick Mowrer

Abstract

Wildland fire services have successfully integrated compressed air foam systems (CAFS) into their fire suppression arsenal over the last few decades to effectively increase the firefighting ability of water. Many urban fire departments have done the same, but far more still rely on plain water to extinguish Class A fires. Many claims have been made about the advantages and disadvantages of firefighting foams, but only limited research has been conducted on the subject to date. Fire departments need more information, beyond that provided by foam suppliers and CAFS equipment manufacturers, to make an independent decision on whether or not to adopt the technology. This thesis is part of a larger project sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program (grant ID: EMW-2010-FP-01369) to evaluate the capabilities and limitations of compressed air foam systems (CAFS) for use in structural firefighting applications. Large-scale tests comparing water and foam suppression, which includes aspirated foam and CAFS, in a variety of scenarios were performed to measure the ability of the hose streams to reduce the temperature of a hot gas layer within a structure. These temperature reductions were recorded with thermocouples and are analyzed to determine which suppression agent has a superior gas cooling ability.

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