Dendritic Polymers as Fire Suppressants

Report No. ARL-TR-2071
Authors: Beck Tan, Nora C.; DeSchepper, Daniel C.; Balogh, Lajos
Date/Pages: October 1999; 39 pages
Abstract: This report describes an evaluation of the applicability of one of the latest advances in polymer technology (dendritic polymers) to suppressing fires, one of the greatest survivability threats to military personnel and vehicles. Certain types of alkali and transition metal complexes are known to have the capability to act as fire suppression super-agents. Unfortunately, the most effective of these agents are also highly toxic. Dendritic polymer molecules, because of their unique architecture, have been found to have the ability to make tens to hundreds of metal ions complex, either in their interior or on their surface. This "complexation" allows the dendrimer to act as a non- toxic carrier of metal ions. Because the solubility of the complex is controlled by the polymer, the dendrimers can be used to carry the metal ions in various fire suppression fluids, such as water. In this study, our aim was to investigate the effectiveness of dendrimer-metal complexes as fire suppression agents in an aqueous solution. This project was undertaken as a 1-year, proof- of-concept effort as part of the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)-Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP). We found that the dendritic polymers do enhance the fire suppression effectiveness of water. Our results indicate that the fire suppression effectiveness depends on the type of complexed ion delivered and the mechanism of delivery. Our results also uncovered a need to develop new fire suppression agent screening methods suitable to evaluate experimental liquid and solid powder fire suppressants.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 1999