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'Switzerland would fit into Tyumen region in Siberia seven times. But it doesnt't want to. '

Could this Siberian invention combat future forest infernos?

By 0 and 0 and 0
13 August 2012


Testing aerosol fire extinguisher, Novosibirsk. Picture: Pr. Oleg Korobeinichev, Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion 

At the last count almost a quarter of a million firefighters and volunteers were involved in battling blazes around Russia. Countless thousands of tons of water have been hosed at fires or dropped from the air by planes and helicopters. 

Yet with the heatwave and drought continuing over much of Siberia, the destruction to nature in some of the world's remotest areas is unforgiving and relentless.

Ideas are clearly needed for more effective ways of countering this annual scourge, especially as the trend towards drier and hotter summers means the taiga can more easily become a tinderbox. 

Recently interntational science journals have highlighted intriguing research work in Novosibirsk on the use of salt solution aerosols as a way of dousing forest fires. The results are hopeful and could mean a Siberian solution to a (not only) Siberian problem if investment can be found to develop the technology.

Pioneered by Professor Oleg Korobeinichev of the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, the technique involves the use of mixtures of organophosphorus and iodine-containing compounds and inert diluents.

fire extinguisher Siberia

aerosol fire extinguisher Siberia

Generator of controlled dispersion is based on aircraft engine AI-9. Picture: Pr. Oleg Korobeinichev

'The results of these measurements were used to develop and test new effective fire-suppression compositions whose components exhibit a synergetic effect and to estimate the lower temperature limit of their application,' said a recent issue of Science Letter.

The journal reported: 'The results of laboratory experiments were verified by full-scale tests in which two types of model fire sources were extinguished by salt solution aerosols'.

The tests, shown in exclusive pictures supplied the The Siberian Times, demonstrated that 'short-term action of an aerosol cloud of an aqueous solution of potassium ferrocyanide' ....... 'on the flame front of a surface forest fire led to suppression of gas-phase combustion, and in the case of wood burning, to complete flame extinction'.

In plainer language the researchers concluded that 'in fire suppression by the aerosol, the volumetric flow rate of this fire suppressant was found to be 30 times lower than the standard flow rate of pure water from a fire hose'.

aerosol fire extinguisher Siberia

aerosol fire extinguisher Siberia

Testing aerosol fire extinguisher, Novosibirsk. Picture: Pr. Oleg Korobeinichev

Potentially, then, such aerosols, which are designed to be 'fired' from a vehicle though could also be targeted from an aircraft, are far more effective than squirting ordinary water at a forest fire

'The use of reactive aerosol significantly reduces the amount of water required to extinguish the fire,' added Professor Korobeinichev.

This presumably means that any anti-fire appliance could be more effective and carry more fire-suppressing agents to the scene of a blaze. 

While the method itself is seen as fully tested, the professor said that there is a need to improve the system of spraying the fire

'For its practical application, it requires an improved aerosol generator,' he said.

Professor Oleg Korobeinichev of the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, can be contacted at the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia, tel. +7 3832 333346

Comments (3)

It's nice to see innovations brought in use by Russians. Moscow will host an event for innovative development this October: https://www.facebook.com/OpenInnovations2012 , so I guess all this mean their serious will to introduce innovations in the economy.
VicVans, Washington, USA
07/09/2012 00:52
no need to be hysterical, Siberian scientists are in fact v good in converting their inventions into new technologies all around the globe
F, Akademgorodok
14/08/2012 19:51
The answer to your question will be NO because even if this is a good invention - and I have no way to know - there's a failure in general in Russia to turn great science into great industrial applications. It's a tragedy for our scientists, some of best in world, who cannot know how to convert their knowledge into marketable products. Why no-one addresses this question? America, too other countries do this so well, we need this to be applied too.
Roman T, Krasnoyark
14/08/2012 00:23

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