Fire Suppression Substitutes and Alternatives to Halon for U.S. Navy Applications

Committee on Assessment of Fire Suppression Substitutes and Alternatives to Halon

Naval Studies Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.
1997



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--> Fire Suppression Substitutes and Alternatives to Halon for U.S. Navy Applications Committee on Assessment of Fire Suppression Substitutes and Alternatives to Halon Naval Studies Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1997

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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This work was performed under Department of the Navy Grant N00014-96-1-0220 issued by the Office of Naval Research under contract authority NR 201-124. However, the content does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Department of the Navy or the government, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The United States Government has at least a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license throughout the world for government purposes to publish, translate, reproduce, deliver, perform, and dispose of all or any of this work, and to authorize others so to do. Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. International Standard Book Number 0-309-05782-5 Copies available from: Naval Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 COVER: Fuel oil fire in U.S. Coast Guard full-scale shipboard fire test facility aboard the State of Maine, docked in Mobile, Alabama. Photo courtesy of Richard L. Hansen, U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center, Groton, Conn. Printed in the United States of America

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--> COMMITTEE ON ASSESSMENT OF FIRE SUPPRESSION SUBSTITUTES AND ALTERNATIVES TO HALON DAVID W. McCALL, AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired), Chair RONALD L. ALPERT, Factory Mutual Research Corporation JAMES G. ANDERSON, Harvard University PHILLIP J. DINENNO, Hughes Associates, Inc. DAVID A. DIXON, Pacific Northwest Laboratory RICHARD E. FERNANDEZ, DuPont Fluoroproducts ROBERT H. GORMLEY, RADM, USN (retired), The Oceanus Company MALCOLM K. KO, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. RUDOLPH PARISER, R. Pariser & Co., Inc. AKKIHEBAL R. RAVISHANKARA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration REVA RUBENSTEIN, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency GEORGE M. RUSCH, Allied Signal, Inc. ROBERT E. TAPSCOTT, University of New Mexico TIMOTHY J. WALLINGTON, Ford Motor Company DONALD J. WUEBBLES, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Navy Liaison Representative Ronald DeMarco, Office of Naval Research Consultants Sidney G. Reed, Jr. James G. Wilson Staff Peter W. Rooney, Program Officer Ronald D. Taylor, Director, Naval Studies Board Susan G. Campbell, Administrative Assistant Mary G. Gordon, Information Officer Christopher A. Hanna, Project Assistant

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--> NAVAL STUDIES BOARD DAVID R. HEEBNER, Science Applications International Corporation (retired), Chair GEORGE M. WHITESIDES, Harvard University, Vice Chair ALBERT J. BACIOCCO, JR., The Baciocco Group, Inc. ALAN BERMAN, Applied Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University NORMAN E. BETAQUE, Logistics Management Institute NORVAL L. BROOME, Mitre Corporation GERALD A. CANN, Raytheon Company SEYMOUR J. DEITCHMAN, Chevy Chase, Maryland, Special Advisor ANTHONY J. DeMARIA, DeMaria ElectroOptics Systems, Inc. JOHN F. EGAN, Lockheed Martin Corporation ROBERT HUMMEL, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University DAVID W. McCALL, AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired) ROBERT J. MURRAY, Center for Naval Analyses ROBERT B. OAKLEY, National Defense University WILLIAM J. PHILLIPS, Northstar Associates, Inc. MARA G. PRENTISS, Jefferson Laboratory, Harvard University HERBERT RABIN, University of Maryland JULIE JCH RYAN, Booz, Allen and Hamilton HARRISON SHULL, Naval Postgraduate School (retired) KEITH A. SMITH, U.S. Marine Corps (retired) ROBERT C. SPINDEL, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington DAVID L. STANFORD, Science Applications International Corporation H. GREGORY TORNATORE, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University J. PACE VANDEVENDER, Prosperity Institute VINCENT VITTO, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology BRUCE WALD, Arlington Education Consultants Navy Liaison Representatives Paul G. Blatch, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, N911T1 Ronald N. Kostoff, Office of Naval Research Ronald D. Taylor, Director Peter W. Rooney, Program Officer Susan G. Campbell, Administrative Assistant Mary G. Gordon, Information Officer Christopher A. Hanna, Project Assistant

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--> COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Co-Chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-Chair PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California at Santa Barbara L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, Elf Atochem North America, Inc. JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University RHONDA J. HUGHES, Bryn Mawr College SHIRLEY A. JACKSON, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California at Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory L.E. SCRIVEN, University of Minnesota SHMUEL WINOGRAD, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center CHARLES A. ZRAKET, Mitre Corporation (retired) NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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--> Preface On January 1, 1994, under the latest revision of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, the domestic production of halons, widely used by the civilian, commercial, and military communities as a fire and explosion suppressant, was banned. The ban did not prohibit the use by the Navy of existing halon stocks, which may be adequate for projected use well into the next century at present levels of consumption. There is some concern, however, that potential future restrictions may limit the use of existing supplies. The Navy is critically dependent on halon as a fire and explosion suppressant aboard existing aircraft and surface ships. Therefore, the Navy is faced with the following question: In view of the ban on halon production and the possibility of future restrictions on the use of existing stocks, should the research effort on halon substitutes be placed at a high priority or at a low priority while transferring emphasis to the search for alternative (non-halon-like) approaches? To answer that question, the Office of Naval Research requested the assistance of the Naval Studies Board. Accordingly, the Committee on Assessment of Fire Suppression Substitutes and Alternatives to Halon was established under the auspices of the Naval Studies Board and charged to examine the following issues and provide advice to the Navy regarding its research on fire suppression systems and possible replacements for halons: Beginning with a thorough understanding of the mechanism whereby halon adversely influences the ozone layer, and possibly contributes to global warming, assess the research effort directed at finding a substitute for halon as a fire and explosion suppressant, and evaluate any potential substitute for its (a) effectiveness compared to halon, (b) toxicity as a pure compound and after exposure to fire, (c) stability of the compound (e.g., thermal, material compatibility), (d) ozone depletion potential, and, if possible, global warming potential, and (e) impact on the firefighting system (e.g., weight and volume competitiveness). Based on the results of Task 1, assess the potential for finding a drop-in replacement for halon, and identify the most promising areas of research. Time and resources permitting, address the issue of comparable alternative approaches to fire and explosion suppression aboard military platforms. The committee conducted a study of roughly eight months' duration beginning in April 1996 and including the following meetings and site visits: April 9-10, 1996, in Washington D.C. Held organizational meeting; received navy briefs. June 10-11, 1996, in Norfolk, Virginia. Toured halon installations aboard the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship. Received briefings from Naval Sea Systems Command personnel. July 15-16, 1996, in Mobile, Alabama. Toured U.S. Navy shipboard full-scale fire test facility aboard the ex-USS Shadwell and observed a full-scale test of an FM-200™-based fire suppression system in the U.S. Coast Guard shipboard full-scale fire test facility aboard the State of Maine. Received briefings from Naval Research Laboratory personnel and contractors and U.S. Coast Guard personnel and contractors. August 14-15, 1996, in San Diego, California. Toured North Island Naval Base and examined halon systems on U.S. Navy fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Received briefings on halon and inert gas generator systems from Naval Air Systems Command personnel and contractors. November 11-12, 1996, in Washington, D.C. Final meeting. The resulting report represents the committee's consensus view on the issues posed in the charge.

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--> Acknowledgments The Committee on Assessment of Fire Suppression Substitutes and Alternatives to Halon wishes to express its gratitude to the many individuals who provided valuable information and support during the course of the study. Mr. James Homan and his staff in the Halon R&D Program in the Naval Air Systems Command, and Mr. Robert Darwin and Mr. Joel Krinsky and their staffs in the Fire Protection Division and the HVAC Submarine Life Support Division, respectively, in the Naval Sea Systems Command were exceptionally helpful. Likewise Dr. Ronald Sheinson, Head of the Combustion Dynamics Section of the Chemistry Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, and Dr. Richard Gann, Chief of the Fire Science Division of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and their staffs provided extremely valuable technical data. The committee wishes to thank the commander and crew of the USS Kearsarge , a modem amphibious assault vessel (LHD-3) based in Norfolk, Virginia. The committee toured this vessel and inspected the halon installations on board. The ship's procedures with regard to the halon systems were described in detail and the committee was impressed with the logic embodied in the Navy's practices. The committee wishes to thank the commander, crew, and staff of the ex-USS Shadwell, site of the shipboard full-scale fire test facility operated by the Naval Research Laboratory, and the staff of the State of Maine, site of the shipboard full-scale fire test facility operated by the U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center. Both vessels are docked in Mobile, Alabama. The committee was able to witness a full-scale test of an FM-200 TM-based fire suppression system aboard the State of Maine. Finally, the committee wishes to thank the men and women of the North Island Naval Air Depot for graciously hosting the committee on its tour of the aviation maintenance facility there. The committee received informative briefings from the staff of the Naval Air Systems Command and the Naval Air Warfare Center in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   3     References   5 2   Assessment of Research on Alternatives for Halon   6     Chemical and Physical Considerations in Evaluating Alternative Fire Suppression Agents   7     Toxicology Issues   15     Brief Overview of Studies of Halon Substitutes and Mechanisms   19     Findings   19     References   20 3   Atmospheric Chemistry and Evaluation of Environmental Effects of Fire Suppressants   22     Reduction of Zone—Mechanism and Effects   22     Atmospheric Lifetime, Ozone Depletion Potential, and Global Warming Potential as Indicators of Environmental Impact   26     Other Environmental Effects   35     References   42 4   Navy-Specific Issues   45     Ship Systems   46     Aircraft Systems   50     Navy Halon Inventory   53     Retrofitting Non-Halon Systems in Existing Ships and Aircraft   56     Summary, Findings, and Recommendations   61     Appendixes     A   Halon Use in the Navy   63     Why Halon? A Historical Overview   63     Ship Fire Extinguishing Systems   65     Aircraft Fire Extinguishing Systems   73

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--> B   Regulation of Halon and Halon Replacements   75     U.S. Regulation of Halons and Halon Substitutes   76     Alternatives to use of Halons   78     Halon Banking   79     References   79 C   Stability and Materials Compatibility of Candidate Replacements for Halon   80     Storage Stability   80     Effects of Halon-Like Alternative Agents on Organic Materials and Metals   82     References   84 D   Water Mist Fire Suppression Technology   85     Theoretical and Design Considerations   86     Recent Technology Advances   86     Experimental Evaluation of Water Systems   88     Current Status of Water Mist Systems   92     References   93 E   Glossary   96