Evaluation of the Fire Suppression Effectiveness of Manually Applied Compressed-Air-Foam (CAF) System

Andrew K. Kim, George P. Crampton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mobile compressed-air-foam (CAF) systems represent a new type of fire suppression system, which is gaining popularity among fire services. Properly engineered CAF systems produce superior quality foam with high momentum. However, until now, there has not been a study to systematically evaluate the fire suppression effectiveness of mobile CAF systems. NRC has carried out a project to evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile CAF system in suppressing fully developed compartment fires. Several full-scale compartment fire tests were conducted to compare the fire suppression performance of a manually applied CAF system with that of hose stream application using water alone and using water-foam solution, under similar conditions. The study showed that a CAF system is much more effective in suppressing the compartment fire compared to hose stream application with water only or with foam-water solution. A CAF system with a 95 L/min (25 GPM) water flow rate suppressed the test fire better than the hose-stream application with water only or with foam-solution using 360 L/min (95 GPM). The CAF system suppressed the fire and cooled down the fire compartment (to 200°C) much quicker than the water alone or foam-solution. Also, the total amount of water used to control the test fire was much less with the CAF system than with the water alone or foam-solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-564
Number of pages16
JournalFire Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Compartment fire
  • Compressed-air-foam (CAF) system
  • Fire fighting
  • Fire suppression
  • Full-scale testing


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