Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fires in large, open spaces like aircraft hangers can be...

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Fires in large, open spaces like aircraft hangers can be difficult to fight with conventional methods, so many industrial spaces use foam-based fire suppression systems. These animations show such a system being tested at NASA Armstrong Research Center. When jet fuel ignites, foam and water are pumped in from above, quickly generating a spreading foam that floats on the liquid fuel and separates it from the flames. Since the foam-covered liquid fuel cannot evaporate to generate flammable vapors, this puts out the fire. 

The shape of the falling foam is pretty fascinating, too. Notice the increasing waviness along the foam jet as it falls. Like water from your faucet, the foam jet is starting to break up as disturbances in its shape grow larger and larger. For the most part, though, the flow rate is high enough that the jet reaches the floor before it completely breaks up. (Image credit: NASA Armstrong, source)

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