any experience. re: 3M Novec 1230 fire protection fluid system?

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    • #132430
      Charlene Martin

      I was wondering if anyone has has experience using this, or knows of an instance where it was used. I am wondering what the impact of the fluorinated ketones would be on archival or artifact collections.


      The contract engineers for the renovation of my musuem/archive building recommended this in lieu of a water-based sprinkler system. It is a successor of the Halon systems – when it is distributed to suppress a fire, it becomes a gas.


      Thank you!

    • #132432
      Ann Frellsen

      We are using the Ansul Sapphire [3M’s Novec 1230] system to protect our rare books and manuscripts collections. It has not been triggered, so I don’t have personal experience with what happens. But I was reassured by several presentations and articles the vendor has done.

      If you google “Ansul Sapphire”  or “3M Novec 1230” you should find several YouTube videos demonstrating the fluid. An example:

      and if you go to the 3M site

      you will find there more information supporting its use to protect historic and archival collections. I’m not locating it at the moment but when I was doing research on this product a historic collection in Texas had used it to protect their collections when they had a fire. There was an article or video that had them endorsing it. You could contact them.

      Ann Frellsen
      Emory University Libraries

    • #132431

      I’m not personally familiar with 3M Novec 1230 but here in canada many archies, libraries have installed FM200 as a replacement for halon systems or, because they prefered not to have a water based system.

      While gas based suppression systems may work well enough to extinguish a fire there are other consideration to selecting that type of suppressant over a water sprinkler system.  Gas suppressants are more costly to install and to maintain properly.  If the gas discharges it is expensive to refill the tanks.  Once it discharges you have no protection until the tanks are refilled – what if the fire restarts because the gas did not completely extinguish it first time. If you have a back-up of water sprinkler as some institutions do then that is not an issue. The force at which the gas is released  however can pose a risk of damage to collections on shelves near the gas discharge heads.  They should not be installed in rooms where people regularly work.  You have very limited time to evacuate the room once alarm sounds and before gas is discharged.  The room must be a closed area with a door kept closed at all times – not propped open during working hours as I have frequently seen on my risk assessment tours of facilities.  Just a few thoughts.

      Personally I still favour plain old wet pipe sprinkler systems.  With the right warning alarms and type of sprinkler heads they are best cost , low maintenance, and effective in my humble view.

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