US20060022361A1 - Bubble generating arrangement, system & method - Google Patents

Bubble generating arrangement, system & method Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060022361A1
US20060022361A1 US11197314 US19731405A US2006022361A1 US 20060022361 A1 US20060022361 A1 US 20060022361A1 US 11197314 US11197314 US 11197314 US 19731405 A US19731405 A US 19731405A US 2006022361 A1 US2006022361 A1 US 2006022361A1
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gas
foam
foamable liquid
porous material
max
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Abandoned
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US11197314
Inventor
Yong Cho
Philip Kim
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Cho Yong M
Kim Philip Y
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A62LIFE-SAVING; FIRE-FIGHTING
    • A62CFIRE-FIGHTING
    • A62C5/00Making of fire-extinguishing materials immediately before use
    • A62C5/008Making of fire-extinguishing materials immediately before use for producing other mixtures of different gases or vapours, water and chemicals, e.g. water and wetting agents, water and gases
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A62LIFE-SAVING; FIRE-FIGHTING
    • A62CFIRE-FIGHTING
    • A62C99/00Subject matter not provided for in other groups of this subclass
    • A62C99/0009Methods of extinguishing or preventing the spread of fire by cooling down or suffocating the flames

Abstract

An arrangement to generate foam, the arrangement comprising: a porous material; a plenum having an aperture disposed to supply gas to the porous material; and a tub containing a foamable liquid, disposed to at least partially submerge the porous material in the foamable liquid; foam being generated as the gas is injected via the porous material into the foamable liquid.

Description

    PRIORITY INFORMATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 upon a non-provisional U.S. patent application having Ser. No. 10/901,418 filed Jul. 30, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • Foaming technologies for use in fire suppression and fire fighting are generally known. Such foaming technologies are typically classified in one of two categories of foam, namely air-aspirated foam and compressed-air foam.
  • The older of the two is air-aspirated foam. A stream of foamable solution is piped to a nozzle at a given pressure and at a given speed. The nozzle is configured so as to produce an increase in the speed and the turbulence, and consequently a drop in the pressure, of the foamable solution. The pressure drop draws air into the nozzle where it becomes entrained by the turbulence of the foamable solution. A stream of liquid (albeit containing entrained air) is ejected at the nozzle.
  • The newer of the two is compressed-air foam. Compressed air is injected into the stream of foamable solution inside the pipe away from the nozzle. That is, compressed air forces its way into the foamable stream away from the nozzle rather than being aspirated (or drawn) into the stream of foamable solution at the nozzle. Here, similarly, a stream of liquid (albeit containing entrained air) is ejected at the nozzle.
  • SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • An embodiment of the present invention provides an arrangement to generate foam, the arrangement comprising: a porous material; a plenum having an aperture disposed to supply gas to the porous material; and a tub containing a foamable liquid, disposed to at least partially submerge the porous material in the foamable liquid; foam being generated as the gas is injected via the porous material into the foamable liquid.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention provides a system to suppress fire within a substantially enclosed volume, comprising: a first plurality of foam generators, each foam generator including stream-forming means for forming a second plurality of low-speed streams of gas and for introducing the same into a foamable liquid, the foamable liquid being at about atmospheric pressure.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention provides a method of generating foam comprising: providing a porous material; at least partially submerging the porous material in a foamable liquid; forcing a gas into the foamable liquid via the porous material.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention provides an arrangement to generate foam, the arrangement comprising: a tub containing a foamable liquid; stream-forming means for forming a plurality of low-speed streams of gas and for introducing the same into the foamable liquid.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a top view block diagram of a bubble generating system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a quasi cross-section of a bubble generator according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention will be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which example embodiments of the present invention are shown. It should be understood, however, that example embodiments of the present invention described herein can be modified in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the embodiments described herein are provided by way of example and not of limitation, and the scope of the present invention is not restricted to the particular embodiments described herein.
  • In particular, the relative thicknesses and positioning of structures or regions may be reduced or exaggerated for clarity. In other words, the figures are not drawn to scale. Further, a structure is considered as being formed “on” another structure when formed either directly on the referenced structure or formed on other structures overlaying the referenced structure.
  • Reference number similarities from one figure to the next suggest at least similar components/items.
  • FIG. 1 is a top view block diagram of a bubble generating system 102 according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • In FIG. 1, bubble generating system 102 is disposed within a substantially enclosed volume 100, e.g., the interior of a warehouse, a compartment of a ship, etc. System 102 can include: a plurality of bubble generators 3, each of which can include a porous material 2; a source 1 of gas 7, e.g., air; a network 104 of pipes that supply gas 7 to bubble generators 3; a source 4 of foamable liquid 5 (i.e., a solution which can form a foam when mixed with a gas); and a network 108 of pipes that supply foamable liquid 5 to bubble generators 3.
  • Network 104 can include a plurality of plenums 106 that connect to the plurality of bubble generators 3, respectively. Source 1 can be arranged to draw gas, e.g., from outside of, and introduce it into, volume 100. Network 108 can include a plurality of branches 10 that connect to the plurality of bubble generators 3, respectively.
  • The plurality of foam generators 3 can be dispersed within the substantially enclosed volume 100. For example, at least a majority of the plurality of foam generators 3 can be dispersed proximate to a ceiling region (not depicted) of volume 100.
  • Foamable liquid 5 can be an aqueous solution that includes at least an agent to reduce the surface tension of water. For example, foamable liquid 5 can be PYROCOOL® brand, formula FEF solution, made available by Pyrocool Technologies Inc.
  • FIG. 2 is a quasi cross-section of a bubble generator according to an embodiment of the present invention. The quasi cross-sectional perspective of FIG. 2 corresponds to sectional II-II′ of FIG. 1.
  • In FIG. 2, bubble generator 3 includes tub 20 which can be used to contain foamable liquid 5 received from branch 110 (not depicted in FIG. 2). In tub 20, foamable liquid 5 can be at about atmospheric pressure. An end of plenum 106 can be disposed in tub 20, more an end portion of plenum 106 that includes an aperture 22 can be disposed in foamable liquid 5 contained in tub 20. Aperture 22 can be any shape, e.g., in FIG. 2 it is depicted as rectangular.
  • Plenum 106 can be arranged so that aperture 22 can supply gas 7 to porous material 2. More particularly, at least a portion of porous material 2 can be fit as a plug into aperture 22, e.g., FIG. 1 shows an example circumstance in which the entirety of porous material 2 is fitted into aperture 22. Tub 20 is disposed to at least partially submerge porous material 2 in foamable liquid 5, e.g., FIG. 2 shows an example circumstance in which porous material 2 is fully submerged in foamable liquid 5.
  • Porous material 2 can be a sponge, aerogel, e.g., silica aerogel, a porous resin, etc. Porous material 2 includes pores. More specifically, porous material 2 includes at least one of macropores, mesopores and macropores. Pore size is a significant factor in determining the size of the bubbles produced. The size of the bubbles will vary depending upon the size of volume 100, the chemical composition of foamable liquid 5 and the capacity of source 1 & network 104.
  • Foam generation will now be described.
  • Gas 7 is pumped by source 1 via network 104 such that plenums 106 deliver gas to porous material 2 at apertures 22 in plenums 106. Without being bound by theory, the porous nature of porous material 2 acts to form a plurality (if not a multitude) of streams of gas, and the submergence of porous material 2 causes the streams to be introduced directly into foamable liquid 5, where bubbles 6 are formed. In other words, gas 7 is injected via porous material 2 into foamable liquid 5, and the speed of gas 7 in the streams is relatively low, e.g., as contrasted to the Background Art foam generation systems. Gas 7 experiences a pressure drop across porous material 2. Bubbles 6 rise within foamable liquid 5 and eventually escape or bubble up and out so as to enter the atmosphere within substantially enclosed volume 100. In contrast to the Background Art air-aspirated and compressed-air technologies, a liquid stream having entrained gas is not being ejected from porous material 2.
  • Some example calculations are provided for a specific albeit sample implementation of system 102. Suppose that substantially enclosed volume 100 represents: R (cubic feet), and that system 100 should be able to fill volume 100 with bubbles in a time Tf minutes, e.g., Tf=3. Thus, system 102 must be capable of generating R/Tf of bubbles (in units of CFM). Assuming that there are N bubble generators such that there are N apertures 22, and further describing apertures 22 as rectangular with a length L and a width D (D, e.g., is 0.24 feet (ft), then L=R/(Tf*N*V*D), where W is the speed (in feet per minute (FM)) needed to achieve R. If V=200,000 ft3, Tf=3 minutes, N=20, D=0.25 ft and W=1000 ft/min, then L=14 ft.
  • An ideal rate of foam generation, Ri, can be scaled by compensation factors to obtain a desired rate of foam generation, Rd. At least two compensation factors can be: Cs, representing a compensation factor for the shrinkage that foam typically undergoes, e.g., Cs=1.15; and C1, representing a compensation factor for leakage of the foam from the substantially enclosed volume 100, e.g., C1=1.1 (for slight leakage). As such, Rd=CsRi, Rd=C1Ri or Rd=(Cs+C1)Ri.
  • Some further example calculations are provided for a second specific albeit sample implementation of system 102. Suppose that the density of foamable liquid 5 is almost the same as water, the difference being negligible. Then, if porous material 2 is disposed to a depth of about 0.5 inches in foamable liquid 5, then the minimum or threshold gas speed Vb (at the point where gas 7 is injected via porous material 2 into foamable liquid 5) needed to generate a bubble within foamable liquid 5 is calculated as follows.
    V b=√{square root over (2*(ρH2Ogas)*g*h))}
    where ρH2O is the density of water (assumed to be substantially the same as the density of foamable liquid 5), ρgas is the density of gas 7, g is the acceleration due to gravity and h is the height (depth) of the foamable liquid 5. Taking ρH2O=1000 kg per cubic meter, taking gas 7 to be air such that ρgas=1.225 kg per cubic meter, g≈10 meter per square second and h=0.5 inches, then Vb≈14 meters per second≈about 30 MPH (miles per hour).
  • While the speed of gas that exits porous material 2 into foamable liquid 5 should be at least Vb, as a practical matter there is also a maximum speed (Vmax) above which bubble formation is retarded substantially. For example, Vmax≦(≈1.5Vb), more particularly e.g., Vmax≈1.2Vb. It should be understood that the density of foamable liquid 5 influences the value of Vb.
  • Continuing the example calculations regarding the second specific albeit sample implementation of system 102, assume that substantially enclosed volume 100 has a value VOL=200,000 ft3 and that Tf=3 minutes. Further assume that network 104 (including plenums 106) is ideal such that no pressure drops are experienced therein, and that gas source 1 is a fan assembly with an 8 inch diameter (Area, A=0.349 ft2) that delivers gas at a speed S=150 mph (miles per hour) thus yielding a capacity of about 4200 CFM (cubic feet per minute)=0.349*150*3*1600/60. To fill VOL in time Tf, the air speed will be S=200000/3/60/0.349=3184 feet per sec=2387 mph. Therefore, such an instance of system 100 would need about 16 gas sources 1. The total effective area of holes which porous material 2 represents to gas 7 blowing therethrough would be Aeffective=0.349*150/30=1.7 square feet.
  • FIG. 2 has depicted the example circumstance for system 102 in which aperture 22 can facilitate a downward flow of gas 7 into foamable liquid 5 via porous material 5. Alternatively, e.g., system 100 can be arranged like, e.g., a sink in a kitchen/bathroom such that plenum 106 and aperture 22 can be positioned analogously to the drain pipe and the drain hole of the sink, and porous material 2 can be positioned analogously to a stopper inserted into the drain hole. Such an alternative arrangement has gas 7 flowing substantially continually upward from plenum 106. In contrast, system 102 of FIG. 2, gas flows downward from plenum 106 and then changes direction, moving upward, in the form of bubbles when it becomes enclosed inside walls of foaming liquid 5 in tub 20.
  • Embodiments of the present invention having been thus described, it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the present invention, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention.

Claims (26)

  1. 1. An arrangement to generate foam, the arrangement comprising:
    a porous material;
    a plenum having an aperture disposed to supply gas to the porous material; and
    a tub containing a foamable liquid, disposed to at least partially submerge the porous material in the foamable liquid;
    foam being generated as the gas is injected via the porous material into the foamable liquid.
  2. 2. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 1, wherein:
    the porous material is one of a sponge, an aerogel and a porous resin.
  3. 3. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 1, wherein:
    the porous material includes at least one of macropores, mesopores and macropores.
  4. 4. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the pressure of the foamable liquid is about atmospheric pressure.
  5. 5. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the porous material is fitted as a plug into the aperture.
  6. 6. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the gas is air.
  7. 7. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 1, wherein a maximum speed Vmax at which the gas is injected into the foamable liquid is

    V max≦(≈1.5V b),
    where Vb is the minimum speed at which injection of the gas into the foamable liquid can achieve bubble formation.
  8. 8. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 7, wherein Vmax≈1.2Vb.
  9. 9. A system to suppress fire within a substantially enclosed volume, the system comprising:
    a first plurality of foam generators, each foam generator including
    stream-forming means for forming a second plurality of low-speed streams of gas and for introducing the same into a foamable liquid, the foamable liquid being at about atmospheric pressure.
  10. 10. The system of claim 9, wherein each stream-forming means includes a porous material via which the gas is introduced into the foamable liquid.
  11. 11. The system of claim 10, wherein the porous material is at least partially submerged in the foamable liquid.
  12. 12. The system of claim 9, wherein the second plurality of low-speed streams is a multitude.
  13. 13. The system of claim 9, further comprising:
    a source of gas;
    a plurality of plenums arranged to conduct gas to the plurality of stream-forming means, respectively.
  14. 14. The system of claim 9, wherein the first plurality of foam generators are dispersed within the substantially enclosed volume.
  15. 15. The system of claim 9, wherein at least a majority of the first plurality of foam generators are dispersed proximate to a ceiling region of the enclosed volume.
  16. 16. The system of claim 9, wherein the low-speed of the streams of gas has a maximum Vmax,

    V max≦(≈1.5V b),
    where Vb is the minimum speed at which introduction of the gas into the foamable liquid can achieve bubble formation.
  17. 17. The system of claim 16, wherein Vmax≈1.2Vb.
  18. 18. A method of generating foam comprising:
    providing a porous material;
    at least partially submerging the porous material in a foamable liquid;
    forcing a gas into the foamable liquid via the porous material.
  19. 19. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
    using the foamable liquid at about atmospheric pressure.
  20. 20. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
    using air as the gas.
  21. 21. The method of claim 18, wherein a maximum speed Vmax at which the gas is forced into the foamable liquid is

    V max≦(≈1.5V b),
    where Vb is the minimum speed at which the gas can be forced into the foamable liquid and still can achieve bubble formation.
  22. 22. The method of claim 21, wherein Vmax≈1.2Vb.
  23. 23. An arrangement to generate foam, the arrangement comprising:
    a tub containing a foamable liquid;
    stream-forming means for forming a plurality of low-speed streams of gas and for introducing the same into the foamable liquid.
  24. 24. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 23, wherein the plurality of low-speed streams is a multitude.
  25. 25. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 23, wherein the low-speed of the streams of gas has a maximum Vmax,

    V max≦(≈1.5V b),
    where Vb is the minimum speed at which introduction of the gas into the foamable liquid can achieve bubble formation.
  26. 26. The foam-generating arrangement of claim 25, wherein Vmax≈1.2Vb.
US11197314 2004-07-30 2005-08-05 Bubble generating arrangement, system & method Abandoned US20060022361A1 (en)

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US10901418 US20060022358A1 (en) 2004-07-30 2004-07-30 Distributed bubble generating system
US11197314 US20060022361A1 (en) 2004-07-30 2005-08-05 Bubble generating arrangement, system & method

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US7598188B2 (en) * 2005-12-30 2009-10-06 3M Innovative Properties Company Ceramic materials and methods of making and using the same

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US216903A (en) * 1879-06-24 Improvement in cotton-gin ribs
US2597913A (en) * 1947-09-12 1952-05-27 Joshua B Webster Fire foam nozzle
US2548409A (en) * 1949-11-14 1951-04-10 Phillips Petroleum Co Foamite fire-extinguishing system
US2601899A (en) * 1950-07-21 1952-07-01 Nat Foam System Inc Combination water and foam sprinkler unit
US3037887A (en) * 1959-05-04 1962-06-05 Dow Chemical Co Foam cleaning of surfaces
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WO2006015136A9 (en) 2006-03-09 application
WO2006015136A3 (en) 2006-04-06 application
US20060022358A1 (en) 2006-02-02 application
WO2006015136A2 (en) 2006-02-09 application

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