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Патент USA US3065807

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Nov. 27, 1962
R. w. BARNES
3,065,797
FIRE FIGHTING FOAM GENERATOR
Filed Nov. 2, 1959
2 Sheets-Sheet 1
mm.
INVENTOR
Robert W. Barnes
ATTORNEY :
R. w. BARNES
Nov. 27, 1962
Filed Nov. 2,
FIRE FIGHTI
NG FOAM GENERATOR
3,065,797
2 Sheets-Sheet 2.
1959
\NVENTOR“
Roberi W. Barnes
my
ATTORNEY
United States Patent O?ice
3,65,???
Patented Nov. 27., 1962
1
2
Another object of the invention is to provide a ?re
3,665,797
Robert W. Barnes, Penn Hills Township, Allegheny
Qounty, Pa. (319 Walnut ?n, Greenshnrg, Fa.)
?ghting foam generator in which the necessity for spray
FIRE FIGHTING FOAM GENERATUR
Filied Nov. 2, 1959, Ser. No. 85%,216
6 Claims. (Cl. 169—15)
This invention relates to ?re ?ghting equipment, and
more particularly to apparatus of the type described
ing nozzles is eliminated.
UK
Still another object of the invention is to provide means,
in combination with a ?re ?ghting foam generator, for
directing and guiding a foam plug to a ?re zone without
?lling the entire area surrounding the generator and the
?re with foam.
As will become apparent from the following detailed
adapted to generate a mass of water-containing foam or 10 description, the invention comprises a wind tunnel having
bubbles capable of extinguishing a ?re.
a fan at one end which forces air axially through the tun
Recently, a method was developed for ?ghting ?res
nel. Positioned at the opposite end of the tunnel is a
wherein a foam plug (i.e., mass of bubbles) is generated
foam-forming structure. In contrast to previous foam
by spraying a solution containing a wetting agent onto a
generators, however, the foam-forming structure of the
woven fabric net having natural or induced air currents 15 present invention comprises a pair of corrugated and
?owing therethrough. The net is loosely knit from cot
closely spaced parallel walls which, in most cases, are
ton yarn or some other highly absorbent material, the
inclined with respect to vertical. The walls are fabri
arrangement being such that a plurality of apertures are
cated from metal, plastic or some other similar material;
formed in the material across which bubbles may form.
and the perforations or apertures in the one wall are
When the solution containing a wetting agent is thus 20 usually smaller and more closely spaced than those in the
sprayed onto the net, it will be absorbed by the cotton
other. In one illustrative embodiment of the invention,
yarn until such time as the yarn becomes saturated. At
this point the solution bridges across the various aper
tures in the net; and the air currents ?owing through the
net cause the formation of bubbles at these apertures.
The resulting foam plug then ?lls the entire area in front
of the net and travels to the ?re zone Where it forms steam
the one wall may take the form of a mesh or screen while
the other wall is a punched metal sheet. A solution con
taining a wetting'agent is injected into the top of the
space between the walls whereby it will flow downwardly
between the walls and, because of capillary action, will
bridge across the various apertures. The air ?owing
through the tunnel will then form bubbles at these aper
which eventually smothers the ?re.
As will be understood, the method described above is
tures. Either one of the walls may face the fan; however,
particularly adapted for use in ?ghting ?res within en 30 larger
foam bubbles will be formed when the plate with
closures such as, for example, those occurring-in coal
the smaller apertures faces the fan than when the op
mines and in buildings. In such enclosures heat, smoke
posite condition exists. Since the plates are formed from
and other obstacles make it extremely di?icult to get close
metal or some other non-deteriorating material, they may
enough to the ?re zone where the water jet from a ?re
hose can be applied directly onto the ?re. The problem
is particularly acute in the case of mine ?res where the
lowness of the mine roof limits the range of the jet from
a hose. By using a foam generator, however, the foam
plug or mass of bubbles can effectively travel around
corners and will ?ll the entire mine shaft or building so
that the foam generating equipment can be located at a
considerable distance from the ?re zone, and the problem
of directing a water jet onto the ?re is eliminated. In the
case of building ?res, the foam also has the advantage
of eliminating water damage since, although the foam
be used inde?nitely without requiring replacement from
time to time.
The above and other objects and features of the in
vention will become apparent from the following detailed
description taken in connection with the accompanying
‘drawings which form a part of this speci?cation and in
which:
FIGURE 1 is a cross sectional view, taken along a
vertical plane, showing one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a partially broken away view showing the
structure of the foam-forming walls of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional View, taken along line
III—III of FIG. 2, showing the construction of the means
for feeding a solution containing a wetting agent into
furniture and other ?xtures within the building.
the space between the parallel, perforated walls shown
A foam generator usually takes the form of a wind
in FIGS. 1 and 2;
tunnel having a fan at one end and a woven fabric net 50
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the paral
at the other end. Nozzles are provided between the fan
lel foam-forming walls of the invention;
and the net for spraying a solution containing a wetting
FIGS. SA-SE are enlarged views showing the stage-by
agent onto the net. The generator may be transportable
stage formation of a foam bubble in the apparatus of
or it may be permanently installed within a building and
FIG. 1;
arranged to be turned on automatically in response to
FIG. 6 illustrates the appearance of the beginning of a
will ?ll the entire area of the building surrounding the
?re, its water content is relatively small and will not soak
a ?re in much the same way as an automatic sprinkler
system. In either case, a net woven from cotton yarn
or other similar material tends to rot after a certain
amount of time so that it is altogether desirable to pro
vide a foam-forming instrumentality in a foam generator
which will not deteriorate after prolonged periods. This
is particularly desirable in the case of permanent instal
lations where the generator may be inactive for years be
foam plug generated by the apparatus of the invention;
FIG. 7 is an illustration of a device for directing and
guiding a foam plug to a ?re zone without ?lling the
entire area surrounding the generator; and
FIG. 8 is an illustration of another embodiment of
the invention wherein the parallel foam-forming walls
are reversed with respect to those shown in FIG. 1.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the embodiment of the
The present invention has as its primary object the 65 invention shown comprises a wind tunnel 10 which is
fabricated from three sections l2, l4 and 16. Sections
provision of a new and improved ?re-?ghting foam gen
fore it becomes necessary to use it.
erator in which none of the parts will deteriorate after
prolonged periods of time.
More speci?cally, an object of the invention resides
in the provision of a new and improved foam-forming
wall for a foam generator of the type described above.
12 and 16 may be rectangular or circular in cross sec
tion, depending upon requirements, and have their cross
sectional areas ?xed along their lengths. Sections 14,
however, is tapered and connects section 12 of larger
cross sectional area to section 16 of smaller cross sec
tional area. As shown, bolts or other similar fastening
3,065,797
3
means may be used to secure the respective sections to
gether.
Positioned within section 16 of small cross sectional
area is a fan 18 having a rotor 26 with a plurality of
across the screen and a second bubble blown as shown
in FIG. 5E. The resulting mass of bubbles formed by
the generator is shown in FIG. 6. A foam plug, iden
ti?ed by the numeral 50, will gradually ?ll the various
Fan 18 is also provided 5 rooms of a building or a mine shaft, as the case may
be, until it reaches the ?re zone where the heat of the
with a stationary housing 24 having a plurality of vanes
?re will vaporize the bubbles. The resulting steam then
26 extending radially outwardly toward the ‘Wall of sec
smothers the ?re.
tion 16. As will be understood, the fan 18 creates
Referring to FIG. 7, there is shown a polyethylene or
an air current which travels through the wind tunnel
10 other similar bag 52 connected to the discharge end of
from left to right as shown in FIG. 1.
the foam generator. The polyethylene bag 52 is coiled
Welded or otherwise securely fastened to the inner
as shown such that when the foam generator is turned
periphery of section 12 is an inclined foam-forming as
fan blades 22 a?ixed thereto.
sembly, generally indicated at 28. The assembly 28 is
on, the resulting foam plug will gradually uncoil the
polyethylene bag while at the same time forming an
30 having a plurality of openings 32 punched therein. 15 elongated tube ?lled with foam. This action will con
tinue until the coiled end of the polyethylene bag reaches
The openings 32 are ?ared as shown in FIG. 1 due to
the ?re zone. The heat of the ?re will then melt the
the particular punchingr operation employed; however,
best shown in FIG. 2 and comprises a ?rst sheet or wall
such ?ared openings are not necessary for the success
ful operation of the device. Parallel to wall 3% and
closely adjacent thereto is a second wall 34 which, in the
embodiment of the invention shown herein, comprises
a mash or screen having a plurality of openings therein.
polyethylene, thereby opening the end of the foam-?lled
tube which then directs the foam plug directly onto the
blaze. In this manner, the foam plug may be directed
directly onto the ?re zone Without ?lling the entire area
surrounding it.
In FIG. 8 another embodiment of the invention is
It should be understood, however, that the wall 34 may
shown wherein the inclined walls 30 and 34 are re
also be a punched plate as is the wall 130. In addition,
under certain circumstances, it may not be necessary 25 versed. That is, the wall or screen 34 with the smaller
apertures now faces the outlet of the generator whereas
for the walls to be inclined at all. Ordinarily, the aper
the wall 35} with the larger apertures faces the fan 18.
tures or openings in one of the walls will be smaller
The operation of this generator is essentially the same
and more closely spaced than those in the other wall;
as that shown in FIG. 1 except that the foam bubbles
however, this again is a factor which can best be deter_
30 are now blown across the smaller apertures of the screen
mined by experiment.
Extending across the top of walls 30‘ and 34 is a con
duit 36. As is shown in FIG. 3, the conduit 36 has a
slot ‘38 extending along its axial length.
This slot is
located on the circumference of conduit 36 whereby it
will direct a solution containing a wetting agent into the
space between the parallel walls 36 and 34. From con
duit 36, the solution will flow downwardly through the
inclined walls 30 and 34 until it reaches a collecting con
duit 40 which is similar in construction to the conduit
34 while the apertures in wall 30 merely serve to direct
air from fan 18 onto the screen.
' Although the invention has been shown in connection
with certain speci?c embodiments, it will be readily ap
parent to those skilled in the art that various changes in
form and arrangement of parts may be made to suit re
quirements without departing from the spirit and scope
of the invention.
I claim as my invention:
1. In a ?re ?ghting foam generator of the type which
40
36 already described.
includes an elongated wind tunnel having means at its
The wetting agent solution is conveyed to conduit 36
one end for forcing air axially through the tunnel and
foam-forming means at the opposite end of the tunnel;
with a wetting agent from conduit ‘46. Any suitable wet
the improvement in said foam-formin g means which com
ting agent in conduit 46 may be used which will generate
bubbles across the apertures of the foam-forming assem 45 prises ?rst and second closely spaced parallel walls ex
tending across said opposite end of the tunnel at an
bly 28. However, as an example, 30% active ammonium
oblique angle with respect to vertical, each of said walls
lauryl sulfate dissolved in water in a proportion of about
having a plurality of closely spaced apertures therein
15% active material by weight to give a concentrate
with the apertures in the wall facing said one end of the
in conduit 46 which is then mixed with water in con
tunnel being smaller and more closely spaced than those
duit 44 at the rate of about 3% by volume has been
in the wall facing said opposite end, valve means for mix
found to give suf?ciently good results in generating the
ing water and a bubble-forming wetting agent, and con
foam material.
duit means connected to said valve means and having a
In FIG. 4, it will be seen that as the wetting agent
discharge opening in the space between the walls at the
solution ?ows downwardly through the walls ‘30 and 34
it will form small pockets of liquid 48 at the edges of 55 tops thereof for injecting the mixture of water and wetting
agent directly into the space between said walls whereby
the apertures 32 in wall 30!. After the liquid in these
the solution will bridge across the aperture in the wall
pockets builds up to a certain level, it will bridge across
facing said opposite end of the tunnel while the air ?ow
the apertures ‘32 and likewise, by capillary action, will
ing through the tunnel forms bubbles at said apertures.
bridge across the various apertures in the screen 34. The
2. In a ?re ?ghting foam generator of the type which
?re-?ghting foam is produced by the air blowing bubbles
includes an elongated wind tunnel having means at its
from the ?lms of liquid which are stretched over the
one end for forcing air axially through the tunnel and
holes or apertures 32 in wall ‘30. The stage-by-stage
foam-forming means at the opposite end of the tunnel;
formation of the bubble is shown in FIGS. 5A-5E. The
from a valve 42 which serves to mix water from conduit 44
the improvement in said foam-formin g means which com
through conduit 36 at a constant rate into the top of the 65 prises ?rst and second closely spaced parallel walls ex
tending across said opposite end of the tunnel at an oblique
space between the walls 30 and 34. This solution will
angle with respect to vertical, each of said walls hav
gradually build up in the space between the walls as
ing a plurality of closely spaced apertures therein with
shown in FIG. 5A until it comes into contact with the
the apertures in the wall facing said one end of the tun
screen or wall 34 as shown in FIG. 53. At this point
the solution will bridge across the various small aper 70 nel being larger and more widely spaced than those in the
wall facing said opposite end, a liquid proportioning de
tures in the screen 34 by capillary action to produce a
solution containing a wetting agent will be injected
?lm of liquid across the aperture 32. Thereafter, the air
vice for mixing water and a bubble-forming wetting agent,
and condui' means connected to said proportioning device
currents flowing through the aperture 32 will gradually
and having a discharge opening in the space between said
blow a bubble as shown in FIGS. 50 and 5D; and, after
this bubble leaves the aperture, a second ?lm is formed 75 walls at the tops thereof for injecting the mixture of wa
5
3,065,797
ter and wetting agent directly into the space between said
walls.
3. In a ?re ?ghting foam generator of the type which
includes an elongated wind tunnel having means at its one
end for forcing air axially through the tunnel and foam
forming means at the opposite end of the tunnel; the im
provement in said foam-forming means which comprises
?rst and second closely spaced parallel walls extending
across said opposite end of the tunnel, each of said walls
6
perforated wall and extending parallel thereto, the open
ings in said screen member being smaller and more closely
spaced than the perforations in said Wall, a liquid propor
tioning device for mixing water and a bubble-forming
wetting agent, and a conduit connected to said propor
tioning device and having a discharge opening in the
space between said screen and wall for injecting the mix
ture of water and bubble~forming wetting agent directly
into the space between the screen and the wall at the tops
having a plurality of closely spaced apertures therein 10 thereof.
with the apertures in one wall being smaller and more
6‘. A ?re ?ghting foam generator comprising an elon~
closely spaced than those in the other Wall, a liquid pro
gated housing forming a wind tunnel, means at one end
portioning device for mixing water and a bubble-form
of said tunnel for forcing air axially therethrough, a pair
ing wetting agent, and conduit means connected to said
of parallel and inclined perforated walls extending across
proportioning device and having a discharge opening in 15 the other end of said housing, the perforations in one of
the space between the walls at the tops thereof for inject
said walls being smaller and more closely spaced than
ing the mixture of water and wetting agent directly into
those in the other wall, said walls being separated by an
the space between said walls whereby the mixture will
open space to permit unrestricted ?ow of air therebe
flow down through the space between the walls and bridge
tween, a liquid proportioning device for mixing water
across the apertures in one of the walls while air'traveling 20 and a bubble-forming wetting agent, and conduit means
through the tunnel forms bubbles at said apertures.
connected to said proportioning device and having a dis
4. A ?re ?ghting foam generator comprising an elon
charge opening in the space between the walls at the tops
gated housing forming a wind tunnel, means at one end
thereof for injecting the mixture of water and wetting
of said tunnel for forcing air axially therethrough, a pair
agent directly into the space between the walls at the tops
of spaced parallel Walls extending across the other end of 25 thereof whereby the solution will ?ow downwardly
the tunnel, said walls being inclined whereby a liquid in
through the walls.
jected into the top of the space between the Walls will
?ow downwardly to the bottoms of the walls, each of said
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
walls having a plurality of apertures therein with the
UNITED STATES PATENTS
apertures in one wall being smaller and more closely 30
1,051,661
Anderson ____________ __ Jan. 28, 1913
spaced than those in the other wall, a liquid proportion
ing device for mixing water and a bubble-forming wetting
agent, and conduit means connected to said proportioning
device and having a discharge opening in the space be
tween the walls at the tops thereof for injecting the mix 35
ture of water and wetting agent directly into the space be
tween the walls at the tops thereof.
5. A ?re v?ghting foam generator comprising an elon
gated housing forming a wind tunnel, means at one end
of said tunnel for forcing air axially therethrough, an in 40
clined perforated wall extending across the other end of
said tunnel, a screen member closely spaced from said
2,133,499
2,137,905
2,225,702
2,322,110
2,356,757
2,535,386
2,599,796
2,645,292
2,776,716
Dolan _______________ __ Oct.
Church et a1 __________ __ Nov.
Lyon _______________ __ Dec.
Bock ________________ __ June
Fleisher _____________ __ Aug.
18,
22,
24,
15,
29,
1938
1938
1940
1943
1944
Brookins ____________ __ Dec. 26,
Wicklander __________ __ June 10,
Williams _____________ __ July 14,
Wicklander ____________ __ Jan. 8,
1950
1952
1953
1957
FOREIGN PATENTS
292,951
Switzerland __________ __ Aug. 31, 1953
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