Inert Gas Fire Suppression

Inert Gas Fire Suppression

This technology uses inert gases to suppress a fire by reducing the oxygen concentration to below 15% - where most combustible materials will not burn. At this level of oxygen, life is sustainable and healthy people would not notice any adverse effects. Systems of this type are an ideal solution in IT environments such as server rooms and data suites.

The key benefits of inert gas fire suppression include:

  • Non-conductive - they can be used safely on electrical fires in locations such as server rooms and data suites
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be used in occupied spaces

The most common gases used in inert gas suppression are IG55 (Argonite) and IG541 (Inergen).

IG55 is a 50/50 mixture of Argon & Nitrogen and is a colourless, odourless gas with a density slightly higher than air. It is commonly used for areas such as Electrical, EDP, flammable liquids, archive, gallery and artwork protection.

IG55 is not a fire-extinguishing agent in the strict sense, but works like carbon dioxide by displacing atmospheric oxygen. The extinguishing mechanism is purely physical in nature, reducing the oxygen concentration to below the specific threshold level required by any combustible material for combustion to be maintained. With this mechanism the fire assists in its own extinction, consuming oxygen in the flames, and the larger the flames at the start of discharge, the more rapid the reduction in oxygen level.

Unlike the chemical agents, IG55 does not break down in the flames to form hydrogen fluoride or other toxic/corrosive gases, so does not contribute to corrosive damage to equipment. The burning material itself may produce toxic/corrosive gases as a product of combustion, and to limit damage from these detection and extinction should be as rapid as possible.

  • No hazard to personnel at normal concentrations, even if trapped in room during discharge.
  • Density slightly higher than air, giving excellent mixing upon discharge and increased retention times.
  • Available worldwide.
  • Low container refill cost.
  • Genuine 'clean agent', with no agent breakdown adding to toxic or corrosive products of combustion from the fire.
  • Absolutely no environmental disadvantages, short or long term - a genuine green alternative.
  • IG55 has the benefits of no fogging of room atmosphere upon discharge, minimal short term room cooling so avoiding condensation on equipment, and straightforward system engineering, allowing long pipe runs from cylinders to nozzle.

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