Fire protection systems involve active and passive protection systems. Active protection systems are concerned with a more direct approach to extinguishing fire with the help of dry or wet agents.
What is fire testing?
Fire testing is an integral part of fire protection systems, which involves testing materials to see if they reach temperatures of 140 degrees Celsius, or remains below it. This is essential, since building materials such as concrete, wood and wires that can sustain very high combustion temperatures are used in construction works to ensure passive safety measures for fire protection.
For example, structural steel can sustain 550 degrees Celsius, after which it collapses. Fire doors and dampers are also tested with the same intention as per the basic test standards for construction materials. Sometimes endothermic materials along with substances that have a high ignition point are used for construction. Gypsum and concrete are two prime examples of endothermic substances.
In fire testing gypsum it is found that the moisture in it boils out of it and makes it lose its stability. This is because the water in such substances has chemical compositions that allow them to sublime. However, even at its boiling point, this water does not reach the unexposed side of the structure, thus containing the fire.
After the hydrants burn out, this unexposed side becomes very hot very fast. However, in concrete, the water content should be measured while application in a fire testing, since too much water will cause the substance to explode in combustion.
No matter how fire resistant any of these materials are, they are by no means useful as individual substances. They only come into use as a combination, installed as per certifications by the National Fire Protection Association or catalogues such as the Canadian National Building Code and DIN 4102 Part 2.
Fire resistant materials are tested on the basis of the number of hours they can resist the fire. Therefore, fire doors, fire stops and firewalls are installed in accordance with building codes to maximize the fire protection systems of properties.
Fire dampers, which are air or grease ducts that contain the fire, are electronically triggered off, unlike other passive fire protection measures.
Activefire protection systems can be handled both automatically and manually.
It is important that in case of a fire, the automatic fire suppression system is triggered off via smoke detection and temperature rise signals.