FM-200, chemically known as heptaflouropropane, is an effective fire extinguishing agent manufactured by Great Lakes Chemical Cooperation - United States.
A characteristic fire suppression system has FM-200 stored in a cylinder or sphere as a liquid, pressurized with nitrogen then conveyed into distribution nozzle via a network of pipes.
Critical to the system is the sensing unit and equipment control panel. Sensors detect the occurrence of combustion within the protected area. This panel then locks all the air handlers, triggers an alarm, disconnects electricity supply to the device and discharges the agent, F-200, into the protected area.
Chemistry of extinguishing fire
Fire is a physical manifestation of a series of high heat-releasing reaction between oxygen and fuel. While a portion of heat is dissipated to the surrounding enough heat ought to be absorbed by the fuel to vaporize it and hence continue the burning process.
Physically-acting extinguishing agents, like FM-200, extinguish fires by absorbing heat and disturbing the dynamic balance. Electrically non conductive, the FM-200, when introduced in sufficient amounts into the fire gases reduces flame temperatures to a limiting value below which combustion cannot be sustained. Its unique characteristic also chemically prevents re-ignition.
Due to high concern over the protection of the ozone recently, any compound that is going to be found in the market for a long period must offer zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). FM-200 contains no bromine or chlorine and is lacking in ozone damaging properties, it offers ODP of zero. At its design concentration, FM-200 does not sufficiently deplete oxygen level to appoint where it is unsafe for the occupants to remain in the room. It is for these reasons that FM-200 was introduced to replace Halon 1301 which was a known ozone depleting agent. This property has enabled this agent to gain popularity the world over and is currently the most widely used fire extinguishing agent in critical facilities of the world.