The Effect of Underground Mining Conditions on the Activation of Automatic Sprinklers
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted a study to evaluate the effect of underground mining conditions on the activation of automatic sprinkler heads. Sprinklers were exposed to liquid fuel fires in a rectangular tunnel at airflows of 0, 45, 90, 150, and 250 m/min to determine the effect of ventilation and fire size on the time to activation. As the airflows were increased, the time to activate the sprinklers for a given fire size increased. Also, as the fire size increased, the activation time decreased. Temperature profiles of the tunnel showed that the maximum temperature near the roof was shifted downstream as the airflow increased. Experiments to determine the effect of rated activation temperature and response time index (RTI) value on activation time showed that the time to activate increased with increasing activation temperature, and decreased with decreasing RTI value. Exposure to the mine environment showed little effect on the activation times in large-scale experiments, and no significant effect in laboratory experiments. The results showed that airflow can have a significant effect on the activation times of automatic sprinklers. This needs to be considered in the design of effective sprinkler suppression systems for ventilated areas.
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