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Cousin Of The 'Ice That Burns' Emerges As Greener New Way To Fight Fires

Date:
May 1, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers in Japan are reporting development of a new type of ice that may provide a more efficient, environmentally-friendly method for putting out fires, including out-of control blazes that destroy homes and forests.

A new type of ice could be a more environmentally friendly method of extinguishing fires, scientists report.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers in Japan are reporting development of a new type of ice that may provide a more efficient, environmentally-friendly method for putting out fires, including out-of control blazes that destroy homes and forests.

Toshihisa Ueda and colleagues note in the new study that firefighters have used water and carbon dioxide as fire extinguishing agents for decades. That knowledge led the scientists on a quest to see if carbon dioxide hydrates, frozen crystals made of water and carbon dioxide bonded together, may serve as promising fire-suppressing materials. Such icy chunks occur naturally in some parts of the world, including hydrates containing methane. Methane hydrates are a potential new source of natural gas, and are renowned as the "ice that burns." They burst into flame when ignited.

To test their idea, the scientists used a special reactor to produce tiny pellets of carbon dioxide hydrates in the laboratory. They compared the fire-suppressing performance of these hydrates to similar-sized pellets made of normal ice (frozen water) and dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) after sprinkling them onto several small, carefully controlled fires. The hydrates extinguished flames faster than the other two substances, they say.

The hydrates also used less water than ordinary ice and released less carbon dioxide than dry ice, they note. Grinding the pellets into smaller pieces boosted their flame-fighting efficiency, the researchers say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hatakeyama et al. Fire Extinction Using Carbon Dioxide Hydrate. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2009; 48 (8): 4083 DOI: 10.1021/ie8019533

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Cousin Of The 'Ice That Burns' Emerges As Greener New Way To Fight Fires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427091548.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, May 1). Cousin Of The 'Ice That Burns' Emerges As Greener New Way To Fight Fires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427091548.htm
American Chemical Society. "Cousin Of The 'Ice That Burns' Emerges As Greener New Way To Fight Fires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427091548.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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