The primary objective of this one-year project is to acquire key Class B fire test data on increasingly large pan fires to demonstrate the viability and performance of new fluorine-free green surfactant proprietary mixtures designed to meet the performance requirements of MIL-F24385F. Fire test performance is a key technical risk in evaluating new agents, and the data to be acquired here is critical to evaluate the new formulations and their potential for full-scale military qualification in a potential follow-on project.
This one-year project is intended to provide new agent performance data on 5B (12.5 feet squared [ft2] ) pan fires (heptane and JP-8) to identify a viable fluorine-free foam candidate. This candidate would then be tested on the MIL-F-24385F 28 ft2 pan (and larger) in a subsequent phase. Because limited data currently exists on the fluorine-free agents proposed here, this project focuses on acquiring small-scale data first. The testing of the best mixture compositions will constitute the bulk of the technical activities. ADA Technologies has already tested some compositions on a 1 ft2 heptane fire, sufficient to show promise and rank the various compositions of interest based on fire extinguishment, robustness of the foam layer and resistance to burnback. The small pan test will be used in the proposed project to fine tune surfactant composition. The behavior of the foams tested so far has not yet been fully characterized on pan fires of large size however. Validation on larger pan sizes is necessary and will be conducted in this project. Aquatic toxicity of the selected foams will be evaluated as part of the project as well.
Use of the currently approved military Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) is not desirable and should be eliminated as soon as possible. Fluorine-free AFFF achieving the required fire suppression MIL-SPEC performance standard has been an elusive goal for the DoD and industry as a whole for many years. Identifying such formulations would provide a viable, high-performance alternative to biotoxic Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid/Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS/PFOA)-containing AFFF. In turn, this would end the use of these polluting foams, stopping the accumulation of biotoxins into organisms, soils and streams, especially in and around DoD bases.