(19)
(11)EP 3 067 095 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/31

(21)Application number: 16166598.9

(22)Date of filing:  15.04.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A62C 3/08(2006.01)
A62C 37/44(2006.01)
A62C 35/68(2006.01)
A62C 99/00(2010.01)

(54)

FIRE SUPPRESSION FLOW CONTROL SYSTEM APPARATUS AND SYSTEM

FEUERUNTERDRÜCKUNGSDURCHFLUSSREGELSYSTEMVORRICHTUNG UND -SYSTEM

APPAREIL ET SYSTÈME DE SYSTÈME DE COMMANDE DE FLUX D'EXTINCTION D'INCENDIE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 16.04.2014 US 201414254646

(43)Date of publication of application:
14.09.2016 Bulletin 2016/37

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
15163664.4 / 2933003

(73)Proprietor: Kidde Technologies, Inc.
Wilson, NC 27896 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • HAGGE, Harlan
    Knightdale, NC 27545 (US)

(74)Representative: Dehns 
St. Bride's House 10 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JD
London EC4Y 8JD (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 289 600
US-A1- 2013 000 927
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to fire suppression systems, and more specifically, to flow control systems for fire suppression system that control the flow of a fire suppression agent as a function of temperature and pressure.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Fire suppression systems generally comprise a high rate discharge ("HRD") fire suppression agent system and a low rate discharge ("LRD") fire suppression agent system. Typically, LRD systems may generally be configured to deploy and/or discharge a fire suppression agent at a constant mass flow rate. In typically systems, the mass flow rate may remain constant to provide a minimum concentration of fire suppression agent at undesirable operating conditions. In this regard, typical systems may not consider actual ambient parameters such as ambient pressure and temperature during aircraft operation.

    [0003] A prior art low rate discharge system having the features of the preamble to claim 1 is disclosed in EP 2 289 600.

    SUMMARY



    [0004] The present invention provides an LRD system in accordance with claim 1.

    [0005] Other features of embodiments are recited in the dependent claims.

    [0006] The forgoing features and elements may be combined in various combinations without exclusivity, unless expressly indicated herein otherwise. These features and elements as well as the operation of the disclosed embodiments will become more apparent in light of the following description and accompanying drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] The subject matter of the present disclosure is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. A more complete understanding of the present disclosure, however, may best be obtained by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the drawing figures, wherein like numerals denote like elements.

    FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a fire suppression system include a control unit and a fire suppression agent flow control system, in accordance with various embodiments; and

    FIG. 2 illustrates a poppet valve that is a portion of a fire suppression system, in accordance with various embodiments.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0008] The detailed description of exemplary embodiments herein makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which show exemplary embodiments by way of illustration. While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the inventions, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that logical changes and adaptations in design and construction may be made in accordance with this invention and the teachings herein. Thus, the detailed description herein is presented for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation. The scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims. For example, the steps recited in any of the method or process descriptions may be executed in any order and are not necessarily limited to the order presented. Furthermore, any reference to singular includes plural embodiments, and any reference to more than one component or step may include a singular embodiment or step. Also, any reference to attached, fixed, connected or the like may include permanent, removable, temporary, partial, full and/or any other possible attachment option. Additionally, any reference to without contact (or similar phrases) may also include reduced contact or minimal contact.

    [0009] Furthermore, any reference to singular includes plural embodiments, and any reference to more than one component or step may include a singular embodiment or step. Surface shading lines may be used throughout the figures to denote different parts but not necessarily to denote the same or different materials.

    [0010] In various embodiments and with reference to FIG. 1, a fire suppression system 110 may be configured to discharge a fire suppression agent (e.g., a inert gases and/or chemical agents used to extinguish fire such as, for example, HALON®) into an aircraft structure 120. Fire suppression system 110 may consist of an HRD system 140 and an LRD system 130. HRD system 140 may comprise a bottle 142 (e.g., a pressure vessel) configured to store and/or hold a fire suppression agent. HRD system 140 may also comprise an exhaust device 144 (e.g., a flow regulating device, an orifice, a nozzle, a diffuser, and/or the like). Flow regulating device 144 may be configured to direct the discharge of a fire suppression agent deployed from bottle 142 in response to activation of HRD system 140.

    [0011] In various embodiments, LRD system 130 may comprise a pressure vessel and/or bottle 150, an actuation mechanism 155, a valve 160, and an orifice 170. Bottle 150 may be configured to deploy and/or contain fire suppression agent (e.g., Halon). Actuation system 155 may be configured to contain and/or restrain the fire suppressant agent in bottle 150. Actuation system 155 may be any suitable actuation system including for example an explosive device and/or any other suitable actuation system. Moreover, actuation system 155 may create a hermetic seal that is configured to minimize and/or eliminate leakage of the fire suppressant agent contained in bottle 150. Valve 160 may be configured to receive fire suppression agent flow and regulate the flow rate, pressure, and/or other attributes of the fire suppression agent being discharged from bottle 150. Moreover, valve 160 may be configured to conduct fire suppression agent from bottle 150 to orifice 170 at a predetermined condition. This predetermined condition may vary based on atmospheric conditions such as temperature and pressure in the aircraft structure and/or exerted on LRD system 130.

    [0012] In various embodiments, HRD system 140 may be configured to provide an initial knock down of a fire. In this regard, HRD portion 140 may be configured to initially mitigate, minimize, and/or limit the propagation of fire in an aircraft structure 120. LRD portion 130 may be configured to provide an extended duration of flow of fire suppression agent to maintain an agent concentration level in aircraft structure 120 that is sufficient to mitigate fire restart and/or fire propagation and compensate for the effects of airflow ventilation, leakage and/or the like that may reduce agent concentration levels in aircraft structure 120. FAA regulations may call for an LRD system to maintain volumetric fire suppression agent concentrations of at least 3% or greater (e.g., a concentration of fire suppression agent in compartment volume)

    [0013] In various embodiments and with reference to FIG. 2, valve 260 may be a poppet style valve. Valve 260 may comprise of bellows 262, a poppet 264, and a poppet seat 266. Valve 260 may further comprise and/or define a pressure chamber 265. Pressure chamber 265 may be configured to receive a flow suppression agent HI from the LRD system. Flow HI may be conducted into pressure chamber 265 causing the pressure in pressure chamber 265 to increase creating a force on bellows 262 causing movement of poppet 264 to close onto poppet seat 266. Low downstream pressure in the direction of HO acts upon poppet 264 to move the poppet 264 away from poppet seat 266. In this regard, HI may be configured to flow around poppet 264, past poppet seat 266 and downstream in the LRD system as flow HO to an orifice or other suitable flow control device.

    [0014] In various embodiments, bellows 262 may be subjected to an ambient pressure on an outer surface of the bellows (e.g., ambient pressure = PA). Moreover, an interior surface of bellows 262 may be subjected to a fire suppression agent pressure PH upstream of any metering orifice and/or device. As ambient pressure PA increases, bellows 262 may be compressed allowing poppet 264 to actuate open. In this regard, poppet 264 may move away from or translate away from poppet seat 266.

    [0015] In various embodiments and with reference to FIG. 1, fire suppression system 110 may be further coupled to and/or be in electronic communication with a controller 180. Controller 180 may be configured to monitor the mass flow rate and atmospheric conditions of LRD system 130 and/or aircraft structure 120. In this regard, controller 180 may monitor the flow through valve 160 and/or orifice 170. Moreover, controller 180 may monitor the temperature and pressure at valve 160, orifice 170, and/or aircraft structure 120. Controller 180 may comprise a memory and a processor. Moreover, controller 180 may be configured to store and execute any suitable software and/or computer executable instructions.

    [0016] In various embodiments, in order to achieve a concentration level of 3% or more of fire suppression agent, the mass flow rate of the fire suppression agent may need to vary. In this regard changes in air density, and/or bay pressure and temperature of aircraft structure 120 may require that different mass flow rates are needed to achieve at least a 3% fire suppression agent concentration. Concentration of a fire suppression agent may be defined by:



    [0017] where:

    R = the mass flow rate of fire suppression agent (e.g., pounds per minute)

    C = agent volumetric concentration in percent by volume

    E = bay ventilation rate or leakage rate (e.g., volume per minute)

    S = specific volume of fire suppression agent vapor (e.g., volume per mass)



    [0018] In various embodiments, specific volume S of fire suppression agent HI or HO can vary based on both temperature and pressure, for example, specific volume may increase as temperature increases. Specific volume may also increase as ambient pressure decreases. As such, as specific volume increases the mass flow rate required to sustain a 3% concentration of fire suppression agent may decrease. In this regard, conditions such as high temperature and low compartment pressure of aircraft structure 120 (e.g., when aircraft structure 120 is at high altitude) may require less mass flow from LRD system 130 than when aircraft structure 120 is at a relatively low temperature and/or high compartment pressure.

    [0019] In various embodiments and with reference to FIGs. 1 and 2, with proper sizing of orifice 170 located downstream of valve 160/260, it may be possible to increase the internal pressure PH acting on bellows 262. At high temperature, compressed liquefied gaseous agents have higher pressure, and as a result, at higher temperature there will be a higher internal pressure PH acting inside the bellows causing bellows 262 to further close poppet 264 against poppet seat 266. This configuration may lower the fire suppression agent flow rate. At low temperature, the fire suppression agent may be at a lower pressure and bellows 262 may open poppet 264 (e.g., translate poppet 264 away from poppet seat 266) resulting in a higher flow rate HO.

    [0020] Restricting the size and/or flow area of orifice 170 may provide an increased flow rate HO at cold temperatures, and decreased flow rate HO at high temperatures.

    [0021] The fire extinguishing systems described herein may be deployed in any suitable aircraft structure. For example, the fire extinguishing systems described herein may be deployed and/or used in cargo bays, and other aircraft structures, as part of any suitable fire protection system in an aircraft, structure, and/or vehicle.

    [0022] Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described herein with regard to specific embodiments. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures contained herein are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. It should be noted that many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical system. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any elements that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of the inventions. The scope of the inventions is accordingly to be limited by nothing other than the appended claims, in which reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean "one and only one" unless explicitly so stated, but rather "one or more." Moreover, where a phrase similar to "at least one of A, B, or C" is used in the claims, it is intended that the phrase be interpreted to mean that A alone may be present in an embodiment, B alone may be present in an embodiment, C alone may be present in an embodiment, or that any combination of the elements A, B and C may be present in a single embodiment; for example, A and B, A and C, B and C, or A and B and C.

    [0023] Systems, methods and apparatus are provided herein. In the detailed description herein, references to "various embodiments", "one embodiment", "an embodiment", "an example embodiment", etc., indicate that the embodiment described may include a particular feature, structure, or characteristic, but every embodiment may not necessarily include the particular feature, structure, or characteristic. Moreover, such phrases are not necessarily referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with an embodiment, it is submitted that it is within the knowledge of one skilled in the art to affect such feature, structure, or characteristic in connection with other embodiments whether or not explicitly described. After reading the description, it will be apparent to one skilled in the relevant art(s) how to implement the disclosure in alternative embodiments.


    Claims

    1. A low rate discharge ("LRD") system (130), comprising:

    a bottle (150) configured to hold a pressurized fire suppression agent; and

    a poppet valve (160; 260) in fluid communication with the bottle (150) and configured to regulate a flow of fire suppression agent from the bottle (150) in response to the LRD system (130) being activated, the poppet valve (160; 260) configured to regulate the flow of fire suppression agent as a function of ambient temperature and ambient pressure, characterized in that the poppet valve (160; 260) comprises a bellows (262) that is in fluid communication with the fire suppression agent in the bottle (150).


     
    2. The LRD system of claim 1, wherein the ambient temperature and ambient pressure are associated with an aircraft structure.
     
    3. The LRD system of claim 1 or 2, wherein the flow of fire suppression agent is passed through and further regulated by an orifice (170).
     
    4. The LRD system of claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein the LRD system (130) is in electronic communication with a controller (180), and wherein the controller (180) is configured to monitor the poppet valve (160; 260).
     
    5. The LRD system of any preceding claim, wherein the flow of the fire suppression agent is also a function of the specific volume of the fire suppression agent.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Abgabesystem mit geringer Geschwindigkeit (low rate discharge system - LRD-System) (130), umfassend:

    eine Flasche (150), die dazu ausgelegt ist, ein druckbeaufschlagtes Feuerunterdrückungsmittel zu enthalten; und

    ein Tellerventil (160; 260) in Fluidkommunikation mit der Flasche (150) und dazu ausgelegt, einen Durchfluss von Feuerunterdrückungsmittel aus der Flasche (150) als Reaktion drauf, dass das LRD-System (130) aktiviert wird, zu regeln, wobei das Tellerventil (160; 260) dazu ausgelegt ist, den Durchfluss des Feuerunterdrückungsmittels als Funktion von Umgebungstemperatur und Umgebungsdruck zu regeln, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    das Tellerventil (160; 260) einen Faltenbalg (262) umfasst, der in Fluidkommunikation mit dem Feuerunterdrückungsmittel in der Flasche (150) steht.


     
    2. LRD-System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Umgebungstemperatur und der Umgebungsdruck einer Flugzeugstruktur zugeordnet sind.
     
    3. LRD-System nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei der Durchfluss des Feuerunterdrückungsmittels durch eine Düse (170) geleitet wird und durch diese weiter geregelt wird.
     
    4. LRD-System nach Anspruch 1, 2 oder 3, wobei das LRD-System (130) in elektronischer Kommunikation mit einer Steuerung (180) steht und wobei die Steuerung (180) dazu ausgelegt ist, das Tellerventil (160; 260) zu überwachen.
     
    5. LRD-System nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Durchfluss des Feuerunterdrückungsmittels außerdem eine Funktion des spezifischen Volumens des Feuerunterdrückungsmittels ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système de décharge à faible débit (« LRD ») (130), comprenant :

    une bouteille (150) configurée pour contenir un agent d'extinction d'incendie sous pression ; et

    une soupape champignon (160 ; 260) en communication fluidique avec la bouteille (150) et configurée pour réguler un flux d'agent d'extinction d'incendie à partir de la bouteille (150) en réponse à l'activation du système LRD (130), la soupape champignon (160 ; 260) étant configurée pour réguler le flux d'agent d'extinction d'incendie en fonction de la température ambiante et de la pression ambiante, caractérisé en ce que la soupape champignon (160 ; 260) comprend un soufflet (262) qui est en communication fluidique avec l'agent d'extinction d'incendie dans la bouteille (150).


     
    2. Système LRD selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la température ambiante et la pression ambiante sont associées à une structure d'aéronef.
     
    3. Système LRD selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel le flux d'agent d'extinction d'incendie est traversé et régulé en outre par un orifice (170).
     
    4. Système LRD selon la revendication 1, 2 ou 3, dans lequel le système LRD (130) est en communication électronique avec un dispositif de commande (180), et dans lequel le dispositif de commande (180) est configuré pour surveiller la soupape champignon (160 ; 260).
     
    5. Système LRD selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel l'écoulement de l'agent d'extinction d'incendie est également fonction du volume spécifique de l'agent d'extinction d'incendie.
     




    Drawing











    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description