UHP Water Gun Blasts the Fire Away
Ultra-high pressure waterjetting and wet abrasive blasting with a slurry are fairly common methods of surface preparation, but one Ocala, Florida-based company is betting on a similar technology for another purpose: to help firefighters knock down hard-to-reach fires by piercing through concrete, steel, brick and bulletproof glass.
As CNN recently reported, after a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on the runway at an American air base in Guam in 2008, firefighters had difficulty cutting through the composite layers of the aircraft skin to fight the fire. The loss of the aircraft moved the U.S. Air Force to look for a solution.
The answer? The PyroLance.
Fighting Fire with Abrasives
Ultra-high pressure technology allows the gun to break through barriers quickly while also conserving water, notes the company, also emphasizing that 90 percent of UHP flow was effective in knocking down and containing fires.
The PyroLance implements a mixture of pressurized water and granite material to pierce a 6-millimeter-wide hole through obstacles, said CNN Money. Once this happens, the nozzle pumps microdroplets into the enclosed space, lowering the temperature from 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit to 200 degrees in less than a minute. Moderate amounts of oxygen are then pumped in to the space, to reduce the chance of backdraft.
PyroLance president Scott Alexander told CNN Money that his company is the sole manufacturer of the technology that can pierce barriers.
The goal of the gun is to prevent deadly backdrafts, toxic smoke environments and intense heat that limit firefighters from doing their job. The gun does not produce heat and does not create sparks.
PyroLance began supplying the Air Force five years ago, and the technology has since been adopted by the U.S. Navy as well as number of airports and fire services around the world.
Each system costs $15,000-$80,000, and the company hopes to sell 350 units at home and abroad over the next year.