Novec 1230 dry water to protect server and more

    Good afternoon, dear Habrausers! Have you heard about 3M?

    We are a company that loves technology and innovation. We think that in this we are similar to you. We invented the things you use every day, but maybe you don’t even suspect it! Therefore, we open a small series of articles on 3M products and technologies.

    Our first post is about the Novec 1230 gas extinguishing agent, its history and application.
    The story of the employee "firsthand."

    Can the water be dry? Or what is safe fire fighting?

    Today, the word “innovation” has firmly entered our life, it is used so often that it seems to have lost its original meaning. I work for 3M as part of a team of technologies for the electronics industry, and every day I come across the wonderful world of 3M inventions, some of which you probably already know - sandpaper, Scotch duct tape, Post-it leaflets.
    Bing Crosby’s desire to record his radio programs prompted 3M to create a magnetic tape for sound recording, which became the standard for recording and broadcasting studios, revolutionizing the entertainment industry. In 1969, Neil Armstrong took his first step on the Moon in shoes, the soles of which were made from Thinsulate, another 3M invention. You can talk about our inventions for a long time and interestingly, but today I would like to dwell on one of them.


    Maybe someone has already heard about “dry water”, saw videos, and which passports and books, a working TV, a mobile phone or an extension cord plugged into an outlet are dipped in an aquarium with water.

    It looks amazing! However, these are not tricks! This “dry water” is nothing more than 3M's innovation, the Novec 1230 gas fire extinguishing agent developed by our company for use in gas fire extinguishing systems, moreover, it is a new class of chemicals used in international practice.

    Novec 1230 is absolutely safe for electronics!

    Interesting? Then in more detail:

    I would like to talk about him and his amazing properties. This topic seems especially relevant today, when buildings are built much higher than the stairs of fire engines can reach, and people cannot evacuate quickly, expensive servers store invaluable information, there are objects equipped with complex automation that require constant presence of operators and uninterrupted work equipment, such as, for example, airport flight control centers. A simple example is that MCC dispatchers have insulating gas masks in their workplaces, in which, in the event of a gas automatic fire extinguishing system based on freon or carbon dioxide, which is deadly to humans, they must continue to work for 20 minutes before switching the operation of this Control Center to spare.

    Why is this needed?

    It is known that the consequences of extinguishing a fire are often as severe as the effects of the fire itself. Water, powder spoil equipment, documentation, works of art and everything valuable that is in the room; gases - inergen, freon, carbon dioxide do not affect material values ​​so much, but they are mortally dangerous for people in a protected room, therefore they require immediate evacuation.
    In the search for a combination of the efficiency and safety parameters of fire extinguishing substances over the past decades, several generations have changed from carbon dioxide and inert gases to freons. However, for the most part they have serious limitations on their use. As I mentioned earlier, carbon dioxide systems are deadly for humans, and first-generation freons are banned worldwide due to the enormous negative impact on the atmosphere. And this is an important factor, because global warming is at a record pace. For example, the glacier on Mount Kilimanjaro, which, according to scientists, was supposed to melt by 2015, melted already in 2005

    How did we come up with this

    Realizing the shortcomings of the existing agents for gas fire extinguishing, a group of 3M scientists did not modify the chladones, but directed their efforts into a completely new direction. It was decided to use one of the basic 3M technological platforms - the chemistry of perfluorinated organic compounds. By the way, this technology allows the company to succeed in the field of ultrafine cleaning of various parts, applying protective coatings on glass, metals and plastic, as well as cooling electronic devices.
    A 10-year period of research work was a real success - a new class of gas fire extinguishing substances - fluorinated ketones - was created and introduced into international practice. Numerous test tests conducted by leading world organizations specializing in fire safety were surprising among experts: fluoroketones were not only excellent fire extinguishing agents (with an efficiency similar to freons), but at the same time showed a very positive environmental and toxicological profile.

    A little boring chemistry

    So, fluoroketones. These are synthetic organic substances in the molecule of which all hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms firmly bound to the carbon skeleton. Such changes make the substance inert from the point of view of interaction with other molecules. Why is dry water?
    Novec 1230 (ФК-5-1-12) (С-6 fluoroketone) is a colorless transparent liquid with a faint smell, which is 1.6 times heavier than water and, which is especially important, does not conduct electricity. Its dielectric constant is 2.3 (drained nitrogen is used as a unit).

    Exit Novec 1230 from the nozzle during a fire extinguishing

    The innovative properties of this extinguishing agent are explained by the structure of its six-carbon molecule, which has weak bonds. They allow Novec 1230 to quickly transition from a liquid state to a gaseous state and actively absorb the thermal energy of a fire. Fire suppression is due to the cooling effect (70%). A chemical flame inhibition reaction (30%) also occurs. At the same time, the concentration of oxygen in the room does not decrease (which is important for increasing the time for evacuating people from the room). The substance instantly evaporates, without entering into chemical reactions, which allows not to damage materials and expensive equipment, and dielectric properties prevent short circuits.

    How it works?

    Another important property of fluoroketones is the extremely low solubility in water, which prevents the substance from passing through cell membranes into the body, i.e. provides their low toxicity and high heat capacity of vapors, leading to active cooling of the flame and its extinction. This means that people who are in the room at the time the system is triggered are not at risk. The Novec 1230 based fire extinguishing system is equipped with the Mission Control Centers of the Vnukovo and Koltsovo Airports; dispatchers can do their job when the system is triggered without putting their life at risk.

    How does this affect a person?

    I will dwell separately on such an indicator as the degree of safety of a fire extinguishing agent for people. It is determined by the difference between the working concentration and the maximum permissible concentration. In world practice, a parameter called NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level - concentration that does not cause harmful effects) is used. It sets the threshold concentration of substances for cardiosensitizing and cardiotoxic effects on the body. Sometimes this difference is called the safety margin, which compensates for inaccuracies in calculating the amount of gas agent in the system, uneven distribution of the volume of the room, the use of increasing factors for the calculated concentration and other factors. A negative value of this parameter indicates the danger of the agent in the working concentration after the system is triggered.

    So, systems using "inert" gases (not supporting combustion) use the principle of extinguishing fire by diluting air oxygen to values ​​significantly lower than the level in normal air (12-13% versus 21% in ordinary air). This leads to the risk of suffocation in people indoors, although such gases do not have a toxic effect. Separately, carbon dioxide, for which working concentrations are always fatal to humans, should be said. This is due to its physiological effect on the body at concentrations above 5% (for comparison, the normative fire extinguishing concentration for CO2 is 35%).

    Chemical agents do not reduce the oxygen concentration in the room. Therefore, for them, the safety factor for personnel is the safety factor considered earlier. For rooms where people may be located due to industrial needs, even if for a short time, agents with the maximum safety margin should be chosen.

    About ecology

    Now about the environmental component of extinguishing agents. Especially in the context of international integration and ratification on the territory of the Russian Federation of documents adopted by the international community. An example is the fulfillment by Russia of obligations under the Montreal Protocol, which led to the ban on the production, import and use of many gas fire extinguishing substances with ozone-depleting properties in our country. The next step is to reduce emissions of agents with a high potential for global warming, among which, chladones for firefighting occupy a large share.

    Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in Russia (Federal Law of November 4, 2004 N 128-ФЗ “On Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”) also provides for the gradual reduction of such emissions.
    In 2011, at a UN climate change conference, several countries took the initiative to introduce a ban on the use of freon-23 and a regime of strict control of consumption and the gradual reduction of emissions of the main freon for firefighting (freon-125, freon-227, etc.). Such measures are vital, because otherwise it is simply impossible to keep the global warming process within the framework defined by scientists as moderately dangerous for the Earth’s climate. The results of these initiatives were not long in coming: the countries of the European Union were the first to implement these new environmental safety measures. Corresponding amendments to EU legislation are currently being approved. Next in line are other members of the international community,

    When Novec 1230 is released into the atmosphere, fluoroketones are easily destroyed in the upper atmosphere by ultraviolet radiation; the agent is removed from the environment within 5 days. There is also no cumulative effect characteristic of freons, i.e. the substance is not stored in the atmosphere for decades and even centuries.

    For comparison, the production of a gas fire extinguishing installation (GST) based on freon (348 kg of freon 227) is equivalent to the emission of 1,008 926 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is comparable to the annual CO2 emission from 211 cars. The production of a gas turbine plant based on fluoroketones (401 kg Novec 1230) is equivalent to the emission of 401 kg CO2 (0.07 cars per year). It can also be compared with the carbon dioxide emissions from the life of one cow for one month.

    That is why the fluoroketon FK-5-1-12 (Novec 1230) was very quickly included in all international and regional standards for gas fire extinguishing, making serious competition to the old class of agents - freon, which has accumulated a lot of questions, both among ecologists and fire protection specialists.

    Where to meet

    Speaking about the list of objects that can be protected from fire by such installations, it should be borne in mind that according to Russian and international certificates, installations with GOTV Novec 1230 can extinguish fires of solid combustible materials, including paper archives without access to firefighters, flammable liquids and energized equipment. Thus, almost all the tasks of protecting especially valuable objects of the enterprise are covered.

    Install Novec 1230

    The issue of certification of an agent for extinguishing class C fires (i.e., combustible gases) is currently being considered - the last option out of the possible. Moreover, the creation of special conditions for the equipment is not required - the plants can be operated at temperatures from minus 20 ° С to plus 50 ° С. These are requirements for the arrangement of the cylinders themselves. In the room where the release is made, the temperature can significantly differ from the given values, both to a smaller and a larger side. There are examples of the use of systems at facilities in harsh climates, in which case the system modules are installed in a thermally insulated compartment.
    Summing up the above, it can be stated that the final choice of a fire extinguishing agent depends on criteria that are important for each of us: efficiency and cost, compliance with regulatory and technical standards, safety for humans and the environment. It was these criteria that guided the scientists of 3M, creating the Novec1230 fluoroketone.

    The dream of any programmer :)

    We hope our story was interesting and informative. We would like to introduce you to one of the key products of the company in the Russian market.
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    We will be happy to answer any of your questions, as well as listen to your comments / suggestions for future publications with pleasure!

    Thanks to the Aquahawk habrayuzer for reminding me about the review from the Galileo show, we initially decided not to add it so as not to clutter up the article.

    Since a large number of questions and comments are related to the purchase of this product for bottling at retail, we would like to explain in more detail the specifics of its application.

    Novec 1230 was developed as a gas agent for extinguishing indoor fires, in its working form it is part of a system that also includes cylinders, pipe wiring, nozzles. In this regard, the supply and packaging of this substance occurs in bulk to equipment manufacturers, which can be both Russian companies and international ones with representative offices in the Russian Federation. They are engaged in the implementation of projects for the installation of turnkey systems specifically for the customer’s facilities.
    Since the product has no domestic use, we are not able to sell it at retail or for bottling.

    Here you can see in more detail and clearly all the stages of the design and installation of the system.

    If you have a desire to see the substance live, you can always visit our technical seminar or come to our office and we will demonstrate it to you!

    Many thanks to the BubaVV user for the article written overnight about the applicability of Novec 1230 for a computer immersed in liquid .

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