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FM Global develops new fire protection innovation: thermal radiation-activated sprinklers

First-ever scientific research successfully demonstrates the viability of the advanced sprinkler designs and the benefits of bringing such products to market

Commercial and industrial property insurer FM Global has developed a new design for automatic fire sprinkler protection beyond what can be addressed with current commercially available sprinklers. The sprinklers are designed to activate due to their enhanced sensitivity to thermal radiation from flames and would be suitable for particular applications where a new, specialized sprinkler design would be beneficial, such as sprinkler protection beneath grated mezzanines and special fire hazards such as covered open yard storage.

Among the key findings from FM Global’s scientific research:

  1. There are scenarios where traditional sprinklers developed for ceiling-level protection might not activate in a timely manner, or not at all, because hot gasses from a fire never reach them, despite a fire being physically close.

  2. Sprinklers can be designed with enhanced sensitivity to thermal radiation to provide adequate response to the heat from flames of a nearby fire.

  3. The sprinklers designed for this study were reliably capable of addressing specialized fire protection scenarios.

The complete findings are available free of charge in a new research technical report titled ‘Radiation-Activated Sprinklers’ at www.fmglobal.com/researchreports.

“Many major developments in sprinkler technology since 1955 have been a result of FM Global’s scientific research,” said Louis A. Gritzo, Ph.D., vice president, manager of research at FM Global. “We are freely sharing this patented technology with the fire protection industry to encourage the development of commercially available radiation-activated sprinklers. As a mutually-owned insurer with a unique engineering focus, the availability of such sprinklers will benefit our policyholder-owners by helping them better prevent property loss and be more resilient.”
 

About FM Global
Established nearly 200 years ago, FM Global is a mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research capability and engineering expertise are solely dedicated to property risk management and the resilience of its client-owners. These owners, who share the belief that the majority of property loss is preventable, represent many of the world’s largest organizations, including one of every three Fortune 1000 companies. They work with FM Global to better understand the hazards that can impact their business continuity in order to make cost-effective risk management decisions, combining property loss prevention with insurance protection.

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