Ultra High Pressure Firefighting Systems

KME has been selected by the US Air Force to build several models of new apparatus built around Ultra-High Pressure (UHP) pump systems. After years of research and testing, the Air Force Research Laboratory determined that this technology has several advantages over traditional pumping systems, particularly for liquid fuel fires as would be found around aircraft.
UHP is an evolution of firefighting systems that have been used in the past. Many years ago, it was not uncommon to see high pressure pumps that typically operated at 600 psi. However, UHP operates at pressures between 1100 and 1500 psi, and the flow rates range from 10 gpm up to 300 gpm. Due to the high pressures, special valves, hoselines, and nozzles are utilized to make maximum use of the systems capabilities. In addition, modern UHP systems include foam injection systems that further improve the capability of the system.
The science behind the technology is based around the way the droplets in the stream are formed. The higher pressure results in higher velocity at the nozzle. This results in smaller drop sizes that are more efficient at absorbing heat than the larger droplets in traditional firefighting streams. In addition, the size of the droplets act like a high speed “mist” that is more easily  wrapped around obstacles that might otherwise deflect the water flow and prevent the extinguishment of the fire. For example, a fire in a jet engine has traditionally been difficult to extinguish because the turbine blades block direct streams from contacting the fire. UHP streams, however, fully fill the engine nacelle and quickly knock down the fire, even if there is fuel pooled in the bottom of the engine. It literally takes seconds to extinguish the fire. Think what this might do for stubborn engine compartment fires in a car or a generator.
UHP has also been proven to be particularly effective at vertical flowing liquid fuel fires, because it extinguishes the fire quickly enough to prevent reignition of the pooled liquid while chasing the fire in the fuel back to the source. Previously, these types of fires were extinguished using a combination of foam and dry chemical.
The net result is that UHP shows promise for greater extinguishing capabilities using less water. During testing of a 60 gpm system at Tyndall AFB, over 400 gallons of JP-8 were extinguished using less than 100 gallons of water and 6 gallons of foam. This gave a truck carrying 400 gallons of water as much extinguishment capability as an older truck with 1500 gallons of water. KME believes that this technology has great potential, not only for aircraft firefighting, but also industrial / hydrocarbon firefighting as well.
If you are interested in this application for your department, please give KME a call. We’d be happy to work with you to integrate a system that could meet your needs for either ARFF or Industrial firefighting.

You can see this technology in action in this video that was taken during testing at Tyndall AFB.

Posted: 11/21/2013 2:54:51 PM
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