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About Halotron BrX 2-BTP (3)
Halotron BrX (stabilized 2-BTP) is a high-performance clean extinguishing agent (i.e. volatile and electrically non-conductive) and is a drop-in replacement for halon as a streaming agent. It contains bromine (The chemical name is 2-bromo-trifluoropentene) which is the chemically active chain breaking atom, that effectively extinguishes the fire, and offers an advantage over other clean agents.
It has a relatively high boiling point of 93F(34C) and this makes it a suitable replacement for Halon, making it suitable for use in portable fire extinguishers, where the operator can apply the agent at extended distances. This is in contrast to other agents (HFC’s) that have lower boiling points and are therefore more gaseous, giving it a decided advantage. It has a marked environmental advantage over all other streaming agents, and does not contain any greenhouse gases or ozone depleting substances, having a low GWP and an extremely low ODP.
It works very similar to halon; -bromine from the molecule scavenges the chemical reaction (i.e., the fire) by stripping hydrogen from the fuel source, creating hydrogen bromide (HBr), which interrupts the combustion cycle by reacting with combustion radicals to create water. The bromine is then free to start the process again. This chain breaking scavenging along with its physical properties that cool the fire results in extinguishing the fire very quickly.
About Halon (16)
Halon is a “Clean Agent.” The National Fire Protection Association defines, a “Clean Agent” as “an electrically non-conducting, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation.”
Halon is a liquefied, compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion. Halon 1211 (a liquid streaming agent) and Halon 1301 (a gaseous flooding agent) leave no residue and are remarkably safe for human exposure. Halon is rated for class “B” (flammable liquids) and “C” (electrical fires), but it is also effective on class “A” (common combustibles) fires. Halon 1211 and Halon 1301 are low-toxicity, chemically stable compounds that, as long as they remain contained in cylinders, are easily recyclable.
Although still not fully understood, the mechanism of extinction by halons can be explained by an effect on the radical reactions that take place during combustion.
The conversion of combustible material to carbon dioxide and water, the final stage of combustion, takes place by combination with oxygen in the air passes through intermediate stages involving free radicals.
RH + O2 = R + H0 + 0 + Ho
Comb mat’l + oxygen = free radicals
CF3 Br = CF3 + Bro
HBr +OHo = H20 + Bro
The halons dissociate under the action of heat, giving bromine radicals
The Br radicals combine to give HBr, which is able to block the Hydroxl radical, Ho, regarded as being responsible for the development of fire. Halons 1211 & 1301 contain about 50% bromine, which is the key component in extinguishing a fore. This explains why only a small amount of halon in air (4%), is enough to extinguish a fire!
The FAA accepts hand held extinguishers approved by Underwriters Laboratories. For occupied spaces on aircraft, halon 1211 extinguishers should have a minimum fire rating of 5BC and contain not less than 2.5# of halon. Halon agents include halon 1211/1301 blends approved for use.
Halons are very effective in extinguishment type “B”& “C” fires.
For type “A” fires, halons extinguish the residual flames, but only rarely causes complete extinction of gas to diffuse into the solids into deep seated “A” type fires. It is therefore seen that in the case of a burning solid, early detection is necessary during the period where there is a surface fire.
Some fuels are not extinguished by halons; these are:
Fuels whose molecules contains all or part of the oxygen required for their combustion;-such as nitrates, explosives.
Metals in general;-alkali metals, aluminum, heavy metals.
Certain very reactive chemicals or explosives, metal hydrides, peroxides.hydrazine etc.
Because Halon is a CFC, the production of new Halon ceased in 1994. There is no cost effective means of safely and effectively disposing of the Halon that has already been produced, therefore recycling and reusing the existing supply intelligently and responsibly to protect lives and property is the best solution.
Halons are used for “essential uses” only, namely for the Aviation industry and the military.
Halons are not allowed for use in commercial or residential applications since the Montreal protocol.
Halon, which has been in use for several decades, is most commonly found in two forms: 1211, a liquid streaming agent found in hand-held extinguishers which gasifies under normal atmospheric conditions, and 1301, a gaseous flooding agent which is found in built-in flood systems.
Halon 1211 extinguishers should be inspected from time to time, the pressure gauge should be visually checked to verify adequate pressure, the nozzle should be visually checked to be sure there are no obstructions, and the cylinder should be weighed to meet the manufacturer’s weight requirement. Halon 1211 extinguishers requires a six year tear down maintenance and a 12 year hydrostatic test by a licensed fire service professional, which can be very expensive.
Halon 1211/1301 blend extinguishers on the other hand do not require the six year maintenance, hydrostatic testing, or recharging since they are classified as non rechargeable units. The units should be visually inspected to ensure the extinguisher is fully charged and operable. The units should be weighed from time to time to see if the weight is within the limits indicated on the label. See name plate instructions for further details. The shelf life of non rechargeable units is 12 years from the date of manufacture.
Halon 1211 and 1301 or “Halon Blend” are liquefied compressed gasses which stop the spread of fire by chemically interrupting combustion as previously explained. Halons are odorless, colorless, electrically nonconductive, leave no residue after use and are “people safe.”
The Halon blend is far superior to the 1211 Halon propelled by nitrogen because it generates its own pressure so that it does not change even if the extinguisher is almost empty. It is also more effective than straight halon 1211 in extinguishing fires.
Effective April 6, 1998, the manufacture of the Halon 1211-1301 blend is prohibited (Federal Register, 63 FR 11084 dated March 5, 1998) except for aviation fire protection, and military, provided that the owner at the time of disposal, if there is any Halon remaining in the unit, properly returns the unit to the manufacturer for the recycling of the Halon.
Therefore, effective April 6, the Halon 1211-1301 blend will only be sold “for aviation use only” in the United States.
The rule does not prohibit:
The sale or use of Halon blends produced prior to April 6, 1998.
Halon 1211 propelled by nitrogen.
Halon 1211-1301 outside the United States.
PRT provides a Certificate of Conformance with every aviation distributor’s order. Below is a sample Certificate of Conformance:
This is to certify that the following 1211-1301 Halon Fire Extinguishers ( serial numbers listed)are rated and listed by Underwriter’s Laboratory. These units meet A.N.S.I./UL Standards 711 and 1093 as tested and are listed by Underwriter’s Laboratory. They have a shelf life of 12 years from the date of manufacture.
A. Studies conducted by Factory Mutual (in 1975) demonstrated that the blend of Halon 1211 and 1301 is much more effective than either 1211 or 1301 alone. The optimum blend of 1211 and 1301 possesses up to 50% more fire kill capability, than 1211 alone.
B. Less leakage. 1211-1301 Blended fire extinguishers maintain their pressure when used. Since the Halon molecule is larger than the nitrogen molecule, the blended units experiences less leakage around the valve and “O” rings.
C. Halon 1211-1301 fire extinguishers are exempt from the six year teardown maintenance and 12 year hydrostatic test which represents huge savings.
Extensive toxicity evaluations have been compiled by nationally recognized US Medical laboratories & institutions on Halon 1301 and 1211. These evaluations have shown that Halon 1301 is the safest extinguishing agent available, and that Halon 1211 is the second safest. Dual Halon concentrations of about 4-5% by volume in air are adequate to extinguish fires of most combustible materials. This concentration is equivalent to emptying twelve (12) 2.5 lb units in a closed room of 1000 cubic feet, which would be highly unlikely.
A fax received from the FAA along with excerpts from AC 20-42C and 25.851 clearly indicate that a gauge is not a requirement on any type of aircraft. The fax response states: “There should be no problem with an extinguisher that is U.L approved and has no gauge for extinguishant capacity, provided that the weight tolerance for the extinguishant is known.”
- In FAA Advisory Circular 20-42C dated 3/7/84 titled “Hand Held Extinguishers for Use in Aircraft”, it states:
“Disposable type fire extinguishers should be maintained and inspected in accordance with the nameplate instructions”.
- The nameplate instructions for the RT A1200 are:
“Inspect monthly or more frequently. Ensure nozzle is not obstructed and safety seal is intact. To be installed, inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA no. 10. Return to manufacturer… if gross weight is below 1420 grams” (2½ lb. f/e gross weight).
- NFPA no.10 states in Chapter 4 “Inspection, Maintenance, and Recharging” the following:
“Inspection is a “quick check” that an extinguisher is available and will operate. It is intended to give reasonable assurance that the extinguisher is fully charged and operable. This is done by seeing that it is in its designated place, that it has not been actuated (discharged) or tampered with, and that there is no obvious physical damage or condition to prevent operation… Determine fullness by weighing or “hefting.”
- “Extinguishers shall be subjected to maintenance not more than one year apart … During annual maintenance…, such extinguisher shall be thoroughly examined externally in accordance with the applicable items of 4-4.2(a) mechanical parts.”
- Regarding RECHARGING, the 1211-1301 HALON requires no recharging.
These excerpts relating to 1211-1301 Halon are taken from the above mentioned AC which “provides methods acceptable to the Administrator for showing compliance with the hand fire extinguisher provisions in Parts 25, 29, 91, 121, 125, 127, and 135 of the FAR.”
“For occupied spaces on aircraft, Halon 1211 extinguishers should not be less than 2½ pounds capacity. These extinguishers should have a minimum 5 B:C rating; not less than 8 seconds effective discharge time; not less than a 10 foot range…”
“For occupied spaces on aircraft, Halon 1301 extinguishers should have a minimum 2B:C rating, and should have an effective discharge time of not less than 8 seconds.”
“Halon fire extinguishing agents approved for use include … a combination of the two (Halon 1211-1301).”
“Halon 1211 is a multipurpose, Class A, B, C rated agent effective against flammable liquid fires. Halon 1301 offers limited Class A capability when used in portable fire extinguishers.”
“In accordance with Section 21.305(d) of the FAR, the FAA accepts hand held extinguishers approved by Underwriters Laboratories…”. Also, in accordance with Section 25.851 (601(b1) “An approved type fire extinguisher includes those approved by the Underwriter’s Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual, Underwriter’s Laboratories of Canada…”
“Non-refillable disposable fire extinguishers (1211-1301) are exempt from the periodic hydrostatic test requirements.”