KSC Develops Earth-Friendly Fire Suppression Agent
Kennedy Space Center
Nov. 5, 2003
Fire usually doesn’t come to mind when thinking of preserving the ozone layer and preventing global warming. However, at NASA-Kennedy Space Center those objectives were ever-present in the development of a new fire suppression agent.
NASA-KSC has filed a patent application for the dry powder substance that combines the best properties of water and Halon fire extinguishing agents. The agent is made of microencapsulated water, which means it's not evaporated into the atmosphere making it a more powerful suppressant that's also appropriate for the environment.
"This is providing a replacement for Halons currently being used, but are banned from being manufactured because they are harmful to the environment. This is a new class of fire extinguishing agents that can compete effectively against other hand-held systems," said the technology's visionary, Dr. Clyde Parrish, NASA senior chemist at KSC.
Companies have expressed interest in the development, which can be used indoors and outdoors, and could license the technology and manufacture the agent, while KSC would earn royalties. NASA then has the option to purchase the commercial product for use.
Parrish explained its potential. "Locally, it can be used in firing rooms for electrical equipment and on board the Shuttle."
While the suppressants, in place at numerous KSC locations, are dated, it takes time to research and resolve issues, and develop a better option. Knowing the need for a new agent, Parrish envisioned the concept, and decided to begin development. After two years, working primarily with three lab associates, he realized the goal of creating the non-toxic fire suppression agent.
"It's always good to see your ideas develop and have some value," Parrish said. "I think this has a lot of interesting potential."
For information on other KSC technology success stories, visit: http://technology.ksc.nasa.gov/WWWaccess/Stories/success_stories.html
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