A team of Alden engineers has combined their flow expertise and design experience to create a dual pressure fire fighting nozzle in response to a United States Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award. This innovative design combines both ultra-high pressure (UHP) and low-pressure (LP) capabilities for greater fire fighting versatility. Currently, there are no commercially available nozzles that can operate in both modes.
The dual pressure nozzle is designed to take advantage of two widely used methods of fire suppression—the delivery of water in a stream at low-pressure (LP) or ultra-high pressure (UHP) in a straight-stream or fog pattern. An LP system delivers a large amount of water at long ranges to penetrate fires and saturate the target area. A UHP system delivers 10–20% of the water of an LP nozzle, but at much finer droplet sizes (i.e. more droplets and greater water surface area) to quickly suppress fires at shorter distances.
The nozzle uses patented technology to seamlessly transition between low pressure and ultra-high pressure spray delivery modes. The nozzle operating in UHP Fog mode is shown.
Current UHP and LP technologies require separate pumps, hoses, and nozzle systems to respond to fire incidents, thus requiring support of two sets of firefighting equipment. By combining the close range power of UHP with the long range attack of LP, a firefighter’s attack power and safety is greatly increased. The single system also reduces equipment needs and related costs.
Currently, there are no commercially available nozzles that can operate in both modes.
A patent has been filed for the dual UHP/LP nozzle that uses internal devices to alter the operating point of the pump to create ultra-high pressure/low flow or low-pressure/high flow on the fly.
Two prototypes have been demonstrated to the USAF at their Fire Research Facilities at Tyndall Air Force Base. Results based on USAF performance metrics and USAF firefighter hands-on assessments have been very favorable. Alden expects final performance testing and evaluations to take place in the coming weeks.
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