Pressure-Loss Correlations for Designing Foam Proportioning Systems
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Aspirating and compressed-air foam systems incorporate proportioners or pumps designed to draw a sufficient rate of foam concentrate into the flowing stream of water. The selection of relevant piping follows from the engineering correlations linking the pressure loss with the flow rate of a concentrate, for specified temperature (usually 20°C) and pipe size. Undocumented reports exist in industry that such correlations are often inaccurate, resulting in the design of underperforming suppression systems. To illustrate the problem, we introduce two correlations, sourced from industry and developed for the same alcohol-resistant concentrate, which describe, respectively, effective viscosity and pressure loss as functions of flow rate and pipe diameter. We then investigate the internal consistency of each data set. We demonstrate that neither of the data sets displays internal consistency, and suggest possible errors in data processing and unit conversion that might have led to the observed discrepancies. We correct the original data to produce correlations that are internally consistent and are characterised by realistic rheology. We then investigate three other pressure-loss correlations (one for Newtonian and two for non-Newtonian concentrates), obtained from a different manufacturer, to demonstrate the widespread existence of inaccurate correlations in industry.
Key wordsATC-AFFF AR-AFFF alcohol tolerant concentrates alcohol resistant foams class B foams rheology of foam concentrates flow and pressure losses of non-newtonian fluids Light WaterTM FC 600
The authors acknowledge the support of this work by 3M Company. We also thank Messrs Luc Jacobs of Solberg Scandinavian AS Norway, David Meyer of Orion Safety Australia as well as Henry Persson and Magnus Bobert of SP Sweden for stimulating discussions.
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