Screening Tests for Fluorine-Free Firefighting Foams

Brian Lattimer | Jensen Hughes, Inc.



The focus of the research is to produce a series of bench-scale tests that foam developers can use to assess the large-scale fire suppression performance of potential fluorine-free foams in order to accelerate the development of new foams. Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) are currently being phased out due to environmental concerns over fluorinated compounds. As a result, new fluorine-free firefighting foams need to be formulated for Department of Defense (DoD) and civilian applications to provide equivalent firefighting performance compared to AFFF. The physical characteristics used to judge an effective AFFF may not be the same as those which result in an effective fluorine-free foam due to the different properties that result in effective suppression and burnback performance. As a result, bench-scale tests that quantify the primary physics which influence fire suppression need to be developed to assist in evaluating potential foam formulations. Bench and large-scale tests will be conducted to produce data that establishes a connection between scales as well as metrics that can be used to predict fire suppression/burnback performance in the MIL-F-24385F pool fire tests.

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Technology Description

The project will produce a series of bench-scale tests that can be used to predict the larger scale fire performance of fluorine-free firefighting foams. Data will be generated to correlate bench-scale test data with the fire suppression/burn-back performance in the MIL-F24385F pool fire tests. At the conclusion of the study, a series of bench-scale tests and data metrics will be produced that can be used to predict whether the foam will meet the MIL-F24385F fire suppression and burnback performance requirements. 

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Manufacturers currently need to go directly to larger scale pool fire tests in MIL-F-24385F to evaluate a formulation. The bench-scale tests and correlating metrics developed in this research will allow foam developers to rapidly and cost-effectively evaluate potential foam formulations prior to larger scale pool fire testing. In addition, the bench-scale tests could be used in future test standards for fluorine-free firefighting foams to demonstrate their performance for DoD applications.

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Brian Lattimer

Virginia Tech

Phone: 540-835-3330