The two most used active fire systems are sprinkler and mist systems. They both use water in order to extinguish the fire, however, their use of the water is different.
This can be easily described with the fire triangle. Every fire need three elements to ignite and to keep burning: a sufficient amount of heat, fuel, and the right amount of oxygen. In order to prevent or extinguish a fire, at least one of those three elements in the fire triangle needs to be removed from the environment.
A fire sprinkler system is designed in such a manner to slowly extinguish a fire by discharging water on the fire. The sprinkler system also removes the excessive heat (removing the ‘heat’ element) from the surroundings and by wetting the potential fuel sources, it slows down the fire spread (removing the ‘fuel’ element). The water mist system extinguishes a fire by removing the oxygen in the air and replacing it with steam (removing the ‘oxygen’ element). The surrounding temperatures are also cooled down by the use of the water mist system (removing the ‘heat’ element).
The flowchart with the main differences between these two systems is shown below:
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