Navy Researchers Apply Science to Fire Fighting

A fire aboard a Navy ship can quickly become a deadly cauldron. The grim reminders of this would be the deadly fires that took place aboard the USS Forrestal in 1967 or the USS Enterprise in 1969.

Today’s Navy scientists are conducting research to insure that sailors and their ships can be protected from the deadly effects of fire. The Navy Technology Center for Safety & Survivability, located at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC, carries out research aimed to solve current and future Navy problems regarding combustion, fire extinguishment, fire modeling and scaling, damage control, and atmosphere hazards. Dr. Frederick Williams, Director of the Center explains that, “The Center’s mission is to assure that the sailors have the best tools possible to combat the ravages of shipboard fires.”

For a number of years, the Navy and Air Force have tried to find a suitable replacement for Halon 1211 for aviation applications and this research is still on-going. For the SSC, the Halon 1211 alternative options had to take into account the mixed fuel loads and extreme clutter that may be present, and to identify a firefighting agent that would provide effective standoff capability for a firefighter that will have minimal personal protection equipment. Navy fire tests engineers tested alternative fire extinguishing agents aboard the Navy’s fire test ship, ex-USS Shadwell, in the spring of 2009 and identified that a 150 lb ABC extinguisher is the best alternative for the Halon 1211 replacement for the SSC Cargo Deck application.

NRL’s successes with the SSC Halon Replacement program is significant because PEAT provides an effective technology remedy that provides:

  • An environmentally friendly fire fighting agent 
  •  A module approach with sealed units (no moving parts, no pressurized containers, no pumps, and self-monitoring electric release)
  • Simple installation and minimal maintenance (no pipes to be installed)
  • Long self-life (10 years minimum)

 These advantages may soon be applied to other U.S. Navy ship applications, where a low cost and weight fire protection system is desired.


This information was found via Science Codex. You can read the full article at :


Please contact Wesco’s with any questions on this article


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