Nov. 10, 2021

026 - Field report from IWMA conference in Warsaw

026 - Field report from IWMA conference in Warsaw

Thanks to the courtesy of the International Water Mist Association I have been invited to the recent conference held in Warsaw. The conference was a two-day event focused on water mist technology. In fact, it was the 20th meeting of this kind, and in a way special, as it was the first at which the new European standard EN 14972-1, which is a cornerstone for the future growth of this technology. You can learn more about the standard here.

It was a huge pleasure to participate in the conference, and I must say I have learnt a lot about water mist technology. Out of all talks, the one I have enjoyed the most was probably the talk by Arnstein Fedøy on sprinkler reliability. You will hear more about this in the podcast episode and you can also check Arnstein's book on sprinkler reliability. For me, the runner up was Max Lakkonen who discussed the use of numerical modelling in the water mist world, but I admit, I am biased. The CFD is my world and I love hearing a different perspective from a different industry. It was refreshing to hear Max's balanced stance on what can and what cannot be done. I regret not interviewing him, but at least I have discussed the matter with Alex Palle - one of the leaders of the water mist industry from VID Fire Kill. Alex told me what's all the fuzz with the EN standard, and why it is such an important step for the community.

I wish I could cover every talk that was given, as their technical level was really good, and I have enjoyed all of them. Hopefully, some of these resources will be made publically available, and if not, keep your eyes open for the next IWMA conference in 2022 (I've heard it will be in Madrid).

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about water mist technology, the IWMA website is full of great resources, which I highly recommend exploring. Starting with How does the watermist work? by Bettina McDowell and other seminar papers shared on the site. You should also check their position papers on the water mist technology.


[00:00:00] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Hello, everybody. Welcome to Fire Science Show session 26. Today I have a very different episode. I've been playing a journalist and I've went into a conference and I'm about to give you a relation of about what happened on the conference, what they like and, have some interviews with the participants.

[00:00:42] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So a few months ago, I've learned that there's going to be an International Water Mist Association conference in Warsaw, where I live. So it has made me very happy, not too far away to go for a conference. In the meantime, I've contacted Bettina McDowell, who is the secretary for [00:01:00] the IWMA.

[00:01:01] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I've kindly asked her if, they would be interested for me to come to the conference, , sneak around, talk with some people and then maybe produce a podcast episode about it. And, uh, she was very happy to provide me the chance to be there. So I gladly took it and I'm very happy. I did, one thing for sure.

[00:01:18] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Having a conference in your hometown is not the easiest thing to do, and they've missed most of the social events But, nevertheless I participated in the most important parts, which were the sessions. Yeah. The sessions were really, really interesting. The conference was held for two days and a very beautifully located hotel near the Łazienki park in Warsaw.

[00:01:42] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I highly recommend this area. If you ever come, to Warsaw,

[00:01:46] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And the conference was. Separated into six sessions with a panel discussion and then a member meeting of the Association. So I hope the members of the Association were very happy with it. And there was [00:02:00] over a hundred people on the site and some attendees that joined us remotely because it was also a hybrid event.

[00:02:07] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So I would say. For the times were at, it was very well organized. Very nice. And I'm really happy to have been to a real conference. I don't remember when was my previous time.

[00:02:19] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So now for the topic, obviously water mist association, they, the conferences about what a mist and what a mist is a technology for suppression. It's similar to how sprinklers work. So you have a. remote devices. And you're building that when activated a spray water inside the building, either each of them separately, or you can activate them all together, like in deluge system, the difference is within the nozzles and the pressures, water mist would work at much higher pressures then sprinklers. And the consequence of that is that a, water spray is a consisting of much smaller [00:03:00] droplets. So these droppers are not as effective in penetrating the fire as the water from sprinklers would be, but they are very easy to evaporate. So they are very efficient at taking their heat away from the smoke and flames. And that's one of the ideas of operation of the watermist systems. And I've learned a lot about watermist systems on the conference actually. eight or nine years ago, I had to prepare a white paper for my company about watermist technology. And I really enjoyed it back then. And now to see how this technology has matured and grown. It's, it's really unbelievable. One thing that I've learned here is that watermist guys are really into full-scale fire testing and verifying the performance of their solutions in true tests where they literally puts up fires of relevant, commodities and try to extinguish them with watermist to prove that their technology is actually, correct for this type on the application.

[00:03:58] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And this is fantastic. [00:04:00] I've

[00:04:00] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I don't think I've ever seen a field of fire science, so well fueled with, , compartment fire dynamics and building like tests. It's so different from the world of smoke control and so different from the world of fire testing that I'm used to. So it was very, very refreshing to participate in, see all these new applications for water mist that were presented on the site.

[00:04:23] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Now let's move into the conference. And first, I've talked with Chairman of the IWMA Mr. Are Wendelborg Brandt. And, yeah, we've discussed about the conference, the history and the future of the water mist.

[00:04:42] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Hello. I'm here with Are Wendelborg Brandt who's the chairman of International Water Mist Association and also a researcher in RISE Research Institute of Sweden hi Are great to have you in Poland. Yeah. Thank you for bringing this conference through to Poland. That's much appreciated. Yeah.

[00:04:58] Are Wendelborg Brandt: Thank you. It's nice [00:05:00] being here. , Haven't been to Warsaw before, so that's a great opportunity.

[00:05:04] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'm happy to hear that. So you brought a hundred participants here in COVID times. That's an achievement. I'm very pleased. That makes me very happy. It's also, I'm impressed. It's like 20th. The conferences is the true that's

[00:05:19] Wojciech Wegrzynski: that's quite a history.

[00:05:21] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Is that, does that mean it's 20 years of watermist or more? Uh,

[00:05:26] Are Wendelborg Brandt: it's, it's more, , it's we're supposed to be the 21st. Okay. Due to the COVID situation, we, we had to postponed last year's conference and I move it to this year and, and we had, the organization has existed a few years before we started with conferences as well.

[00:05:41] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Well, if it was 20, it would be much nicer, but, uh, having more, it's not a problem. So we're entering our third decade of, of water mist, so what are your feelings about the future , of the technology? Because I certainly see it a lot more than 10 years ago.

[00:05:57] Wojciech Wegrzynski: There's a lot more projects, a lot [00:06:00] more. Interests in the community about application of water is so how does the future look for, well, it

[00:06:06] Are Wendelborg Brandt: it's, it's been a slow process, uh, as you say, we we've been working with this for almost 30 years and, working on, on the standard , for 20 years and the new, a European standard, 14972

[00:06:21] Are Wendelborg Brandt: and that has arrived now and being approved finally. Uh, and I think that will, bring a huge boost to the industry and to the promotion of, water mist and when you have, , a standard that you can, test against , which is a European standard for land based use. That will. Bring a lot more, uh, attention and acceptance of watermist I believe.

[00:06:47] Wojciech Wegrzynski: as, as I understand the approach, it's in a way similar to how sprinklers are put into the market, you demonstrate the capability of a solution to fight the certain type of a fire. And to my audience may be [00:07:00] actually interesting because I think these water-based fixed extinguishing systems are one of very few where such an approach would be a common, for example, in smoke control I rely on simulations and other means of calculation the performance. You resort to full-scale testing. What are your thoughts about this approach? Do you think it's, it's truly viable.

[00:07:23] Are Wendelborg Brandt: I think that in the future you can, do more simulations and calculations, but, at the end, you need to get the final approval with testing.

[00:07:35] Are Wendelborg Brandt: fire in general is difficult to simulate, because it's not linear. And when you add water and evaporation and the droplet movements and all that sort of things into the equation as well. From my point of view that the simulation is, a pointer. It's not the, the, a final answer. You only get the final answer and by doing the fire test. [00:08:00]

[00:08:00] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yeah, and I think there's a lot of fire science in these tests as well. Because as long as in a simulation, you can fiddle with the parameters. You can even change the gravity. If you want. In a full scale testing, there are some things that you cannot jump above and it definitely gives you a lot, a large base of research results that you can work with. And that's a, it's interesting. I'm wondering to what extent, results of this protocols. That's how you call the experiments in, in this field I've learned how are these results, obtainable by scientists or you have to be in FM Global or RISE to, to have them,

[00:08:37] Are Wendelborg Brandt: When we do tests for a producer to do documentary, then also also the system, the results are there property.

[00:08:46] Are Wendelborg Brandt: So I'm I'm as a scientist is not allowed to get away, but you can approach, producers asking to get the results. And, with the permission from the produce and we are using the. As, uh, as [00:09:00] input for the simulations and calculations. So they all work going on on I, I think we need. Yeah,

[00:09:06] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'm asking because in the facades, for example, we had the exact same issue. A lot of tests done all hidden behind and on a disclosure agreements and stuff like that. But in my Institute together with Imperial College London, we've managed to find a way how to anonymize them and work on them as a big data project, which opens a lot of doors that were previously closed in terms of data analysis.

[00:09:27] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And it was something interesting. And then I see, Your people doing these dozens of full-scale burns and it's, it's so fascinating to me that such a field exists and it's so common. it's like almost natural for you to burn a whole warehouse. It's just to see that the nozzle works,

[00:09:43] Are Wendelborg Brandt: In an ideal world, we should share all the data, but the properties of the producer and it's their company secrets and they're trained to do, to sell their product.

[00:09:58] Are Wendelborg Brandt: So I [00:10:00] understand them as well, but ideally as a scientist, I would have liked to be able , to share all the data with everyone.

[00:10:06] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I have a one more question uh, regarding the water mist technology. How do you, place it within the systems market. And in terms of, for example, in Poland, we're in Poland. So I'll refer to Polish context.

[00:10:21] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Our, law does not dictate whether it's mist or sprinklers or foam, it just says fixed water extinguishing systems. Do you perceive it also in a way as equivalent or maybe you feel like it's a tool for particular areas and niches,

[00:10:37] Are Wendelborg Brandt: I think, uh, all extinguishing systems has their strengths and weaknesses.

[00:10:43] Are Wendelborg Brandt: Watermist has it, sprinkler has it, the gasseous system has it foam has. Everyone. , so I think that water mist is just one tool that, uh, the builders can choose from and they need knowledge to, to evaluate which type of [00:11:00] system is best for their application. And I think that watermist could be used.

[00:11:05] Are Wendelborg Brandt: Um, a lot more applications than they are used today, but not all.

[00:11:09] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'm surprised looking on the conference program there's, , industrial oil fryers there are archives. I've seen some tunnel tests with like extremely huge fires with watermist. So I see that this industry is really working on finding the technologies and solutions for, all the needs,

[00:11:28] Are Wendelborg Brandt: historically, watermist has been used in, special cases so protecting your aircraft hangers, uh, and asyou said tunnels, historical buildings, ships, the ships was the first that was early nineties when, after this Canadian Star, accident or fire, then, water mist really got momentum going in the IMO organization. So in maritime It's widely used and widely [00:12:00] accepted as, , a way of, of extinguishing fires.

[00:12:02] Are Wendelborg Brandt: But it's been a real struggle to get the same acceptance on shore as you have on this.

[00:12:09] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And this is quite a surprising because maritime, requirements are usually like 10 times more severe than building requirements. So you would imagine that if something is wildly accepted in maritime dates,

[00:12:19] Are Wendelborg Brandt: it's not that easy.

[00:12:21] Are Wendelborg Brandt: No.

[00:12:22] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Well, As, but, it's great to see the great amount of research being put into this technology. Is great to see full-scale fire tests being done and multiple numbers, many places of the world. It's also amazing how many new fire laboratories are born to, carry for the needs of. Sprinkler producers and water mist producers to, to perform these tests, these protocols for the fires.

[00:12:48] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So, uh, I wish all the best to the water, mist technology.

[00:12:52] Are Wendelborg Brandt: I'm sure it will grow and prosper in the future. Yes.

[00:12:57] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Thank you very much for inviting me to the conference and, [00:13:00] all the best, Are

[00:13:00] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So as Are mentioned, the future looks bright for the watermist technology. I wonder if really one day we could lay our hands on this data from fire testing of different laboratories that test this protocols for watermist and other suppression systems that could be actually quite interesting.

[00:13:17] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I hope I've planted some inception in Are's head to try and at least work a bit on the RISE data, which is very rich to do what I know. Are has mentioned an important thing that happened in just recently, which was the publication of the European,watermist standard EN 14972. And from what I have noticed in the conference, there is a lot of interest about the standard.

[00:13:44] Wojciech Wegrzynski: There are presentations related to it. There's a discussion panel, completely devoted to the standards. So I assume this is a very important event for the community. And, uh, we'll come back to that just in a few seconds. but [00:14:00] first I wanted to share with you another discussion they had. It was with our local colleague Dr Piotr Tofilo who is the president of Polish Suppression System Foundation and organization that's promoting suppression systems in Poland and, um, Piotr is had interested in growing this field of fire technology in Poland. And it's, it's quite a challenging move to do that in Poland because Poland is not really a sprinkler country.

[00:14:29] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And that's one of the things I wanted to talk with with Piotr about, what is a sprinkler culture and why in some parts of the world is quite obvious. You put sprinklers inside your building and in other places such as Poland, it's not that often that you find them. So yeah, lets jump into the talk with piotr

[00:14:49] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'm here with Piotr Tofiło the head of Polish suppression system foundation, Hi Piotr

[00:14:54] Piotr Tofiło: hello? Hello. Wojtek

[00:14:56] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And one of the organizers of this, conference. First [00:15:00] congratulations on organizing this event. I see it it's very successful for the troubling times we're in.

[00:15:05] Piotr Tofiło: Yes. Yes. I think it's successful because this topic, the use of water mist, Uh, suppression agent in Poland is actually on the rise.

[00:15:13] Piotr Tofiło: a lot of people are really interested on the many, many details, , regarding this, uh, relatively new technologies, at least in Poland. Uh, so, we are not the organizers. The organizers are international. water mist association, association, we're just a local local helpers.

[00:15:30] Piotr Tofiło: But, it's actually a great thing and I think this organization actually appreciates , that there's such a big interest in this technology in Poland. It's the second actually conference. the previous one was in Krakow. Okay. Two or three years.

[00:15:44] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And we also hosted this suppression detection conference two years ago, which was also quite fun I remember.

[00:15:49] Piotr Tofiło: Yes. We actually invited Bettina McDowell who is is the secretary of IWMA so she was present. So, so we collaborated

[00:15:57] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yes, that's great. Thanks for bringing [00:16:00] world's best specialists to us. And, I'm really happy that Poland is also viewed as an emerging market for big players in the, suppression systems, , industry.

[00:16:09] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So, you've had, you had a keynote that opened this this conference and. Yeah, I found it interesting because, uh, Poland is not necessarily a country of a sprinkler culture and you exactly know what I mean. And they think many of my listeners who, who live in countries similar to Poland, know what I mean.

[00:16:27] Wojciech Wegrzynski: That, sprinklers are, for some reason, not very popular or water-based extinguishing systems are for some reason, , considered as difficult, expensive, uh, hassle and. Yet we as engineers or scientists, we recognize their performance. We recognize what they bring to the fire environment. And, tell me does such a thing as a sprinkler culture exists and if it does exist why Poland is, does not seem like a sprinkler country. And is, is that something that's going to change.

[00:16:56] Piotr Tofiło: Poland is actually, , similar to the rest of Europe a little [00:17:00] bit because historically there was a bigger, influence of, passive fire protection in Europe and still it is. And now there's also, active, fire protection in terms of smoke control.

[00:17:11] Piotr Tofiło: And, , ventilation is actually also much appreciated in Europe. On the other hand in United States and other parts of the world, , sprinklers , are more, frequently. There are common there's a big technology. There is big history. There is a lot of solutions and applications, a very, very mature technology actually.

[00:17:29] Piotr Tofiło: And it is mature also in respect that. the whole Uh, related community like fire brigade and, , everyone knows, the important bits of this technology. so it kind of works, flawlessly , in the society. But, well in Poland, we, on the other hand, we do have, a significant number of local

[00:17:48] Piotr Tofiło: uh, companies who are , really competent and so historically , we didn't have a lot of sprinklers in Poland, as far as I know, the first sprinklers in Poland were installed in connection [00:18:00] with, , some cable factory near Warsaw. And, uh, it was installed when, uh, because it was a French company. So, so they wanted really to be well-protected and, uh, it was like in the seventies.

[00:18:12] Piotr Tofiło: Okay. So, since then, the technology is on the rise. We are a comparable to some other countries. I mean, we still, uh, like have maybe half of the sprinklers that UK has every year installed. So, so, but we are catching up quite a lot. So definitely there is a need to actually, popularize, this topic it's important to share reliable knowledge. This is what we are trying to do.

[00:18:37] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I think interesting outcome of this, let's say, low popularity or late introduction of the technology to the country is that I assumed that in like US you would fit sprinklers because that's a common thing to do. You would not like question the need of a sprinkler system.

[00:18:53] Wojciech Wegrzynski: You would just design it because , that's how the buildings are designed. Yet in Poland we would focus on the performance of the [00:19:00] device. Like you would have to prove that it is really needed. It can change the outcomes of a fire, or you just want to attack the, allowances from the building code that allow you to build a larger building or have a longer evacuation pathways.

[00:19:15] Wojciech Wegrzynski: But it's in a way related to performance.

[00:19:18] Piotr Tofiło: Well, yes. Has, Sprinklers in Poland are typically used, because of the regulations. If you cannot do something, you often have to, uh, apply sprinklers. But on the other hand, , this is the topic you asked initially is whether we have a culture.

[00:19:35] Piotr Tofiło: This is actually what we started at my, university. Main School of Fire Service we looked at reliability and we started, data from the fire brigade and it wasn't easy to ask. This data is not perfect, , in Poland. So we, but we put the extra effort to actually analyze the description of every fire that, there was involved sprinklers.

[00:19:56] Piotr Tofiło: So we. Having an estimate of the [00:20:00] reliability of 96%. So it actually is is comparable with the international data. So it shows that in Poland, this, technologies doesn't work differently so far. So, so, uh, definitely we will have to educate all stakeholders. about this technology to, to improve.

[00:20:21] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I know that this transfer of knowledge, this education and promoting the technology was one of the reasons you've started the Suppression System Foundation in Poland. so how's it going , for the Polish Suppression System Foundation.

[00:20:33] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I see the conference, so that's a good step, but so that's the next step. Yeah.

[00:20:36] Piotr Tofiło: So , this is popularizing, , and, bringing people together. Uh, so this is, this part is relatively easy. Uh, what's, what's difficult is actually to challenge and change those kind of long-standing beliefs. How to actually the whole structure of, fire regulations, how actually everything connects and [00:21:00] where's the logic. And sometimes we have logic which dates back from for 50 years and. So nobody remembers why, and nobody remembers logic and justification

[00:21:11] Piotr Tofiło: it's magic numbers. And

[00:21:14] Piotr Tofiło: so this is what, what we have to actually face. And the, it is so hard to, stand up and say, look, everything is wrong. We have to start from scratch.

[00:21:24] Piotr Tofiło: But to do that, we have to really collect a lot. Important data and evidence to actually, , suggest, uh, that the change is needed. It's, it's a hard job actually.

[00:21:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yeah. I think this education. In the countries, like in here and to any, any of you listeners who are in a similiar sprinkler cultured countries, this is a viable technology well, test it for more than a hundred years,

[00:21:48] Wojciech Wegrzynski: and definitely useful, uh, for many reasons. Uh, so I think this pushing on the education is probably the best way to have a healthy [00:22:00] culture in your own country, because it's easy to write it in the standard that you have to have one piece of water based extinguishing system in it, but that doesn't solve the problem of doing this system correctly in a way that's truly delivers safety.

[00:22:16] Piotr Tofiło: Yes. , In general, , fire protection of buildings is, a complex topic and there is a lot of. Confusion. And we see a lot of confusion in Poland regarding like I mentioned, sometimes , some rules are very old, nobody's questioning them and it's very hard to question them. But that's why we have to really make a good effort to actually, show everyone how it can look like, how we can protect building's better and how to use the present day technologies to achieve.

[00:22:46] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks Piotr and enjoy the rest of the conference. And it was great to, to catch up with you. See around.

[00:22:53] Piotr Tofiło: Thank you very much Wojtek.

[00:22:56] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So thanks Piotr for this cultural introduction into the [00:23:00] world of sprinklered culture and, how it is in Poland. This was also a part of his opening keynote of the conference. In the sessions. And the first two sessions, there was plenty of, interesting talks. Um, the first was by Hans Schipper about protection of industrial, oil fryers, which are seemingly quiet the challenge to, to extinguish and, , and the water mist that was used has proven to be quite effective in controlling these fires. Then we've learned about upgrading the performance of first attack systems and the way of developing spray technology. It was presented byGiancarlo Franchini, from Italy.

[00:23:42] Wojciech Wegrzynski: After the break, we had some talks about, watermist technologies and testing. Our colleague Bogdan Raciega has presented new Polish laboratory and, Christopher Gill from Viking has discussed in, in depth, some anti corrosion tackling, [00:24:00] systems, which I assume is very important for maintaining the reliability of the systems.

[00:24:07] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And yeah, reliability is the key word because the talk that really caught my attention and it was really inspiring and interesting was talk given by Arnstein Fedoy from Igneus AS in Norway who was talking about sprinkler reliability. And how this knowledge could be used for other water-based extinguishing systems.

[00:24:31] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And that was a hell of a talk. It was really interesting. And, uh, he has brought so many important points that, , reliability studies often do not distinguish much between the types of the sprinklers while it will very matter for the outcomes. That the. Definition of what means a successful release of water is not necessarily defined.

[00:24:56] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And it would vary between , the studies. Does it mean that the fire was [00:25:00] extinguished? It was confined to the location where it started. It doesn't mean it was confined to the room of all of its origin and all of the probabilities for the boat will be completely different. So in the end if we are working with reliability statistics, but we don't truly know what this number truly means, what is the final fire outcome within this reliability?

[00:25:25] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It gives. A huge dose of uncertain identity in designing fire safety systems. And we must realize that often water-based extinguishing systems are used in buildings as proxies of safety. Like if you sprinkler, the building is going to be safe and many of the are technical systems in the building are designed with this principle in mind, that there are sprinklers that will operate in the building. And if the sprinklers are not working, they're in a way on the reliable at that moment, it completely changes the outcomes of the fires.

[00:25:55] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And so in a way, this reliability statistics are absolutely key to [00:26:00] designing the fire safety of the buildings at whole. And. There are some doubts about how the existing statistics were produced, how the surveys were performed, how the results were analised. And Arnstein actually has published a book about this sprinkler reliability which I'm going to link in the show notes, and I just couldn't stop it. And I had to invite him for a few questions. So here you go. You're going to hear about it directly from, from Arnstein Fedoy So, hi, Arnstein. Thanks for spending a few seconds with me. I really enjoyed your talk on the reliability of, sprinklers and water mist, I assume as well. In your research you've, uh, looked into statistics of reliability, but you took quite an interesting approach to try and understand how the statistics are built rather than find a blind value of what the reliability is.

[00:26:53] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So maybe you can introduce the listeners. Your work on the reliability.

[00:26:58] Arnstein Fedøy: Thank you for that. Yes. [00:27:00] The work to try to understand all the statistics and service that's been done on reliability has to come from somewhere. They have had some kind of idea why they wanted to find this out and how they want to do the survey.

[00:27:14] Arnstein Fedøy: The problem , for me as a scientist to find out what was actually done to come to the conclusions, that's very strongly proposed that accurate because when you look on all the service service that's been done, that they are, have a big, difference in level of reliability. Some of them suggest as low as 80%.

[00:27:40] Arnstein Fedøy: And others point out that the reliability is close to a hundred percent, just a few decimals that, and there has to be some reason for that. So my approach to it was okay, first of all, I wanted to find out if I just could read the, do the disservice that bit done and find out.[00:28:00] That gave me much more questions.

[00:28:03] Arnstein Fedøy: Okay. So the next question I had to ask myself was are there, and the type of an analysis I can do on the survey itself to find out what's been done. And that was actually very fortunate to find that. Th this approach was, , applied scientific methods, really an older, areas of scientific, like, in social areas.

[00:28:25] Arnstein Fedøy: I started to think, okay, if they are using this kind of methods to find out if this is true, this survey, uh, can I apply for the engineering, felt a field as well, and to my surprise, and fortunately you could, the principle applies. So, yeah, that was a very interesting approach because it was very systematically.

[00:28:47] Wojciech Wegrzynski: This is actually quite important because, for me, the consumer of the numbers, I don't research sprinkler reliability, but I heavily rely on the data I see. And, I usually see numbers between [00:29:00] 85%, 95%. And it is kind of important to me because. If I see number 95%, that's not bad. That's quite a reliable system. However, 85%. That means one in the six times, it's not gonna work well. That's quite a drastic difference. And then especially when you come into the world of, let's say sustainable timber buildings, the moment that once your structure starts burning and participating in the fire and you have means to stop it. And your whole strategy relies on this single system to be reliable. This reliability data becomes more than critical for the project. That's like the whole project is on it. So if it's 95% or 85%, that makes quite a severe difference, right?

[00:29:50] Arnstein Fedøy: Yeah. Very big. Actually talking about what I like to talk about this a Titanic syndrome.

[00:29:56] Arnstein Fedøy: We talk aboutthe Titanic the syndrome [00:30:00] is the assumption because I've done this and this and this. This is ship within practical sense. not. sink. But as long as it's out on the water, there is also ways the possibility that something can go wrong. Yeah. The special thing about Titanic was that it happened on his first trip.

[00:30:21] Arnstein Fedøy: Yes. Yeah. So, so many people know about that and then also know about it that they will very aggressive advertising take the ship. You're perfectly safe. And that's a little bit the same where within the fire community, we talk about that we have actually a very good control on fires burn.

[00:30:47] Arnstein Fedøy: The problem is that the fires that we have seen all the time, but especially the last 20 years, I think has shown us. There's still happening a lot of things that we have no clue to. [00:31:00] Why does this happen? And I, as an engineer, as a scientific person, we have to ask ourselves is my approach within my field, within fire, the correct one, or could I do better?

[00:31:14] Arnstein Fedøy: And I think that one of the reasons we, we don't do that, it because it hurts to find. Okay. Perhaps we do not know so much about, for instance, what I'm talking about today. It sprinkler reliability, because we have tried to put that number down for almost 130 years, and suddenly the guy from Norway tells you that, sorry, but the methods are, you're done are absolutely not correct. Unscientific. Yeah, not sometimes at all. Yeah. And done the question goes on from, from a strictly scientific point to be a personal and your beer funded. Yeah. You want, you do not want to learn anything about it. And that's what makes this, the whole area of fire expertise.

[00:31:59] Arnstein Fedøy: Very [00:32:00] difficult. Because. We have a lot of iffy feelings for work. We know we're working with something that's very important. So we have the personal touch as well, that's have a much bigger, efect on what we do and what, how we do things. And we probably like to fix.

[00:32:17] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yeah, that's that was really good.

[00:32:19] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I really enjoyed your talk. , I will, link your book on reliability of sprinkler systems in the. I guess they're kicking us out, but I would absolutely love to, to continue that as a separate episode and I hope we can manage and record it. So it goes out soon. Thank you so much Arnstein and, congratulations. It was a really, really nice talk. I've enjoyed it a lot.

[00:32:42] Arnstein Fedøy: Thank you. Same to you.

[00:32:43] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Wow, the talk with Arnstein has really blew my mind and I immediately see so much impact in this reliability statistics and how they influence the safety of buildings It is incredible to what extent such number has an impact over [00:33:00] built environment.

[00:33:01] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And as I mentioned in the interview, I'm definitely taking this into a full episode and already invited Arnstein to come to the show. And let's talk about reliability of sprinklers, and I've also organized a separate episode about how reliability statistics influence the design of buildings, which I think also will be interesting to y'all.

[00:33:22] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Obviously the session continued and there were many, many more good talks, including a talk, by Hong-Zeng Ye from FM global about extinguishing exhaust duct fires. There was a talk bout by Yoon Ko from National Research Council of Canada on protecting mass timber buildings. And that was really interesting. And I really enjoyed it a lot. Watermist and mass timber are like two technologies that fit each other together so well, because of the capabilities of mist to control fires and the limited damage that the water does to the timber, [00:34:00] because in watermist technology, you use much less water than you would in sprinkler technology, I assume .

[00:34:06] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yeah, that was definitely something to look up for. And, um, I have a feeling that we're going to hear lots of great things coming on the use of water mist in mass timber buildings in the future. Um, the day has ended with a large session dedicated to the new standard EN 14972. And there was a presentation by Alex Palle from VID Fire Kill in Denmark about the status of the standard.

[00:34:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And that was followed with a large discussion panel about the road ahead for water mist and the new developments related to this master standard that has just been published. I saw that it was a big deal to everyone around, uh, the publication of this standard. And, , so much attention was given to this topic. The next day, I've decided to take a Alex Palle on the side. and, I've asked him a few questions about, the new [00:35:00] standard developments and what the future holds for the water mist technology. So, yeah, th that's what he told me.

[00:35:07] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'm here with, Alex Palle from, , VID Fire Kill Denmark. What a nice name. Hey, you're killing fires.

[00:35:13] Alex Palle: Yeah, that's what we do.

[00:35:14] Wojciech Wegrzynski: That's what you do. Killing fires with water, good. , Alex was giving an update on the state of EN 14972 standard. And as I observe you guys in this conference, uh, everyone seems pleased excited about the standard or at least that there's this atmosphere , of something important happening for the community. So, tell me why, why is this standard such a big deal for your community?

[00:35:38] Alex Palle: I think what, you also have to recognize that we spent 22 years on developing also. So when you invest so much time, it is really an amazing that we now have an end product.

[00:35:47] Alex Palle: And also for the, industry itself, it means that we are suddenly not seen as a special technology, but it can become, what it has to become, what it is supposed to become, which is a commodity technology. Like you [00:36:00] have, , sprinklers, you have foam, you have gas and you have watermist.

[00:36:03] Alex Palle: And now you can say also in the normal or in the standardization world now it's equal.

[00:36:07] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's the same

[00:36:08] Alex Palle: And that's why it's important. So when you see the passion here, do this conference with people being happy that it's finally there. it's two things. One, we spend so much time on it and two now it's here.

[00:36:19] Alex Palle: Right?

[00:36:19] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So it's excitement plus a huge dose of relief,

[00:36:22] Alex Palle: Correct. And as I said, also in my presentation that in my case, so I come from a family of all have all been working with in fire. And my father was even in that standardization group when it started. Okay. And he retired. So then I came in, so you can see for me personally, this has also been a family journey.

[00:36:40] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's like raising a child 22 years old. It can drink alcohol in us now.

[00:36:47] Wojciech Wegrzynski: But it's not the end of the road because it's part one which summarizes the whole concepts. And now there's a bunch of, substandards to be written, about how to test the water mist for particular [00:37:00] applications. And how, how is this going?

[00:37:02] Alex Palle: It's going well. And it's, I would not say that we are having to write the protocols. They are already existing in the market. So what we're doing is we're taking the let's call it the best, the highest quality standards, just standards from VDS from FM, fromLPCB.

[00:37:16] Alex Palle: And then we embedding them in the same wheel. Of course , you could say we adjusting it to the EN world. So currently we have planned those 2 - 17 parts. So that's 16 parts, which covers basically all that you need to protect the building with water mist. Then of course, we will then begin after that work. We will embed, further test protocol.

[00:37:35] Alex Palle: So there are new protocols being made everyday. You've also seen that in the conference, so we will continue that work. So it will be neverending work. Okay. Yeah, but, I expect, let's say within the next two, three years, I think we have the parts in place.

[00:37:48] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Tell me, because I know you have experience in, creating this protocol, how does one create the protocol? You figure out an application and then?

[00:37:56] Alex Palle: I mean, it depends on, you also saw some presentations [00:38:00] from FM research in this conference. And as you can see, there's a lot of background testing or pre-testing to let's say, to define the appropriate way. Doing the writing the test protocol.

[00:38:10] Alex Palle: So you have to take into account. What's your objective, first of all, are you looking at extinguishment or you're looking at control and suppression. So when that, with that said, you also need to look at the environment in real life. So if are we talking small closed rooms, we're talking. Big holes with plenty of oxygen available and so on.

[00:38:28] Alex Palle: So when you have these things taken into account then you have to begin to look at what type of fuels do we want to use in such a protocol. And there, there are different approaches, but I also believe that now we have so many protocols using more or less the same type of fuels. So it is becoming easier and easier, but it's a long task. It's a lot, lot of work to develop a test protocol.

[00:38:48] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I've heard that it's a good path of career to produce plastic cups.

[00:38:52] Alex Palle: That is definitely right. I mean, a FM plastic cups you've heard about, it's a expensive,

[00:38:58] Wojciech Wegrzynski: These are legendary, [00:39:00] legendary in our community. And, you are my have fifth or sixth guests in this conference and all of them, I say, I am amazed by the amount of full scale research being performed on watermist.

[00:39:10] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's something that. you barely see not the fields of fire safety, certainly in my field of smoke control and ventilation, that is we're on the absolute other side of the spectrum with a use of modeling for almost everything. And the full-scale tests are very rare. In your case, the full-scale testing is the common way and modeling would be, uh, something not that common.

[00:39:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And we, we just, had a great talk by Max Lakkonen, about the use of CFD in here. And I wondered from your experience, , to what extent is technology is something that you guys are looking for or, do you consider it useful? Needed?

[00:39:49] Alex Palle: I could say I don't believe that we will ever get to a stage where it's possible to simulate the fire, including the behavior of fire when you include water mist into the equation.

[00:39:59] Alex Palle: Right. [00:40:00] What I do believe is that we can use it for once. We've done all the, all these tests that we are doing in the industry. Then if there are small modifications in real life, so where let's say you have adjustments or changes, then you can, most likely you can take the results you have the data you have.

[00:40:15] Alex Palle: You can make sure that you are, that your simulation matches. And then you can adjust the environment a little bit.

[00:40:22] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So more like exploratory tool, not commissioning tool, not, , not the final approved the solution works.

[00:40:27] Alex Palle: I mean, you know you, you're working in this industry also with this, so, you know how hard it is to, to simulate the fire itself.

[00:40:33] Alex Palle: Just imagine taking into account water mist, which it comes in billions of droplets. So I know we're talking about an average droplet size, but it comes in billions of droplet sizes, billions of different velocities and so on. So how can you really simulate that.

[00:40:46] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yes, that's absolutely. And that's the one challenge that we are facing and even then, to simulate the single sprinkler or watermist sprinkler, I guess I could perform such a simulation with my tools and [00:41:00] maybe even I would get an accurate representation, but we were talking just about the sprinkler flow and water distribution and not, uh, let's say water induced flows or heat transferred to the droplets, evaporation, influences on the flame chemistry, because Max said that's the most difficult one. And I completely agree that, and yet in your full-scale tests, that's explicitly model because you don't turn the combustion model in your experiment, right. That's right. I see there's a bright future, , for this, technology for this community. And, uh, I'm very happy that I could join you guys.

[00:41:33] Wojciech Wegrzynski: In here and all the best developing your hundreds of protocols,

[00:41:36] Alex Palle: Thank you, thank you it very much. Thank you so much.

[00:41:39] Wojciech Wegrzynski: As you noticed with Alex, we've talked a lot about CFD systems because our discussion took place just after great talk by Max Lakkonen from IFAB Germany, who discussed and the use of CFD to assess the impact of different variations of watermist systems. And for me personally, that was such an interesting talk because, , I, myself am a [00:42:00] CFD engineer and I do simulate building fires all the time. Especially with relation to smoke control systems and learn how this technology can be used in water mist. What's really fascinating. And I really appreciated the way how Max has shown the true capabilities of CFD codes without being trigger happy or over optimist, he explained how the water mist is usually modeled by Lagrangian particles, how the particle physics is challenging for the modeling. How number of particles will have a huge impact on the overall CFD simulations. But the thing I liked the most about his talk was how he subdivided let's say the CFD tasks related to watermist into easy, medium, and hard. In easy. he claimed that , it's easy to change a single parameter in a system or in a building fire to track what happens. It's easy to measure the activation times for sprinklers, and it's quite easy to [00:43:00] simulate spray patterns of a single devices. Into medium, he mentioned quite hard to measure temperatures and smoke, uh, in CFD simulations with water mist active. And, it's very difficult to quantify the influence that the fire has on humans and into the hard category. He placed the fire spread and combustion modeling, which I completely agree. It's really hard to model this things. Even in a small compartment, it's difficult. And, what about the whole building? That's almost impossible to account for extinguishing factors, the way how the water mist affects the chemistry of the reactions.

[00:43:41] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And by the way, the conference also had a nice talk about the production of gases under water sprays given by Nicharee Thinnakornsutibutr from the University of Sciences in Japan who connected with us remotely. And that must have been very late for her. And, uh, it was such a nice talk but coming back [00:44:00] to Max you see all the time, some people claim, they just can place watermist sprinklers inside their FDS simulations and simulate them like if it was nothing, it's kind of. Let's say suspicious to me. And I wouldn't go that far with my modeling. I'm not really comfortable simulating extinguishing effects or more complex physics, but then for the more simple things, like activation patterns the CFD seems to be in the really great fit of a tool, on the second day of the conference there were other great talks and another one that picked my attention was taught by Simone Parolo who talked about mist protection of bus garage.

[00:44:42] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And he considered both the protection of the building as well as the protection of the vehicles. That was, really interesting and leaving the talk I've crushed into a fellow podcaster. My colleague from Poland, Szymon Kokot, who is a firefighter [00:45:00] legend in Poland, and he's very heavily involved in training firefighters in here. As I had the microphone in my hand, I had to take the chances. I asked him some hard questions about, what he liked about the conference and what he thought about, talk about the bus garages Okay. So in the conference I found a real fireman watching from the side with me it's Szymon Kokot. Hi. So what brought you to the watermist conference.

[00:45:26] Szymon Kokot: Yeah. You know, I've been publishing in the social media that I'm fulfilling my dreams because as an operational or more, also involved with training a firefighter, I know the benefits of mist.

[00:45:38] Szymon Kokot: We are trying to convince firefighters what they are and to. We'll also limit , water damage, and so on and to have greater efficiency of firefighting. So the name International Water Mist Association was always appealing to me. And actually it was my dream to, , at some point visit conference.

[00:45:55] Szymon Kokot: So when I recently found out that this conference is being held in Warsaw, I said, yeah, this is my [00:46:00] opportunity. Closes one. You can get.

[00:46:03] Wojciech Wegrzynski: uh, What are your thoughts so far? How do you see the developments in the water mist technology and the progress these guys are doing in, spreading the solution to every time, new and new types of facilities in which it can be used.

[00:46:17] Szymon Kokot: Well, this is great to see. And, and actually in the beginning I was thinking that perhaps I will be on only listening and that not all the topics will be very interesting to me, but I was wrong to my pleasant surprise. Like today there was a, presentation on, securing of bus depots with water mists, including perhaps some thoughts about, internal.

[00:46:40] Szymon Kokot: Solutions for, for the engine compartment or for the entire building. So that was very interesting because these are very problematic fires, especially with the perspective of new alternative fuels. They will be very problematic fires once they develop, out of the incipient stage.

[00:46:57] Szymon Kokot: So, very much looking [00:47:00] forward to these developments. Will in any case, make the job of, interventional firefighters, a lot easier and lot safer.

[00:47:08] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's really interesting that Seriously considered, the internal protection of the engine compartment, which means that in a way, the layers of protection of the building extends to the fuel source because you're suddenly installing suppression inside your fuel source, which in this case is the bus.

[00:47:24] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And that's a really intriguing concept. And, in case of such an infrastructure as buses, trains, trams and I think that's a reasonable way to go through to secure this because if you lose a hundred buses in the huge fire, that's a, that's not only lots of money, but the problems for the city.

[00:47:40] Szymon Kokot: Exactly. That's what he was also talking about.

[00:47:43] Szymon Kokot: Over the years of working as a firefighter, I developed a kind of saying, so I quote myself. Nobody never produces nothing with the thought that it will catch fire and burn, but we know that everything that humans produce will [00:48:00] eventually catch fire and burn and we will go to this fire. So now I'm starting to see that actually the mist community is probably the only identified ally so far for the firefighters, , because they are trying to limit the threat before it develops also what I noticed this recent presentation from a lady from Japan, she was talking about how the water mist can limit production of toxic gases. This is another issue that. In because, you know, I represent a CFBT, foundation.

[00:48:34] Szymon Kokot: We work with cancer awareness for firefighters, with new technologies. So this was also very much interesting. And, last but not least, uh, with the production of this music video close before you those or the Polish version, , I'm also discussing with some colleagues here, the possibilities of engaging in to, in the, into the domain of Public education in safety.

[00:48:57] Szymon Kokot: So like, we're trying to see if there's a [00:49:00] potential for already promoting sprinklers in residential buildings. And if not yet, but eventually how we can draw a roadmap to this stage. But also let's start with, let's say our senior citizen care homes and such problematic, let's say from the perspective of the fire protection, kinds of buildings.

[00:49:20] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And if I can ask you to be the spokesperson of your profession, how do you think the firefighters? And I'm talking more about the prevention side of firefighters, what are their thoughts about watermist, do they treat it as a, another system that just works? Or are there any doubts, legends myths about the system? And if there are, uh, how can we clarify them

[00:49:44] Szymon Kokot: all right. Yeah. Well, that's a very responsible, uh, stance to take. I will say that to my best knowledge. , the community of prevention engineers is well educated in. The multiple benefits of water mist. So we always say, [00:50:00] is that the best firefighter is the sprinkler be it water or mist based because it's always on the scene of the fire even before the fire is, is starting.

[00:50:08] Szymon Kokot: That's the, prerequisite or the idea behind the sprinkler. Well, I have some concerns which are connected to let's say, portable intervention devices. Like we have here there's Cobra. There are the systems that, at some stage of the fire development and in case of a water-based extinguishing systems, this leads to let's say design.

[00:50:33] Szymon Kokot: If the design is not correct or not performance-based I suppose there can be a threat of the fire growing beyond the incipient stage. And then we are dealing with, physics. There's only a limited amount of heat that can be taken away by one liter of. So, if we were saying about liters per minute, then perhaps this is the concern, but then again, the safety measure in that is good education meetings. Like this one exchange of knowledge and proper [00:51:00] design and performance-based, design.

[00:51:02] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Didn't you once rip out the door of a compartment by putting some watermist. inside through the change, actually that I'm

[00:51:11] Szymon Kokot: sure there's a bit here. Oh yeah. There is, there are actually two videos, but one is more spectacular.

[00:51:16] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'll link that in the show notes. All right. Yeah. Maybe the watermist guys will not be happy that we're doing that, but yeah. Physics are physics of fires are interesting.

[00:51:25] Szymon Kokot: That was, uh, not vented compartment. So. Almost perfectly sealed were no windows and that there was a large fire and we actually created a sort of an artificial situation where during open doors, we created heat and during closed doors, we created smoke and we repeated that like 10 times or something. So we had a lot of hot smoke inside and by piercing the door with the piercing, , nozzle and, uh, applying water. So it evaporates in the gases and not on the compartment boundaries. We created the. Excuse me, the vacuum sub pressure that pulled the door [00:52:00] inside out of hinges. It was like a scene from a horror movie,

[00:52:03] Wojciech Wegrzynski: That's a very interesting manifestations of fire physics. Thanks Szymon and enjoy the rest of the conference.

[00:52:08] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Thank you. So that funny story, the end of this talk with Szymon requires some explanation. And since when we were in the fire science show, that's a pretty fun fire science. When the water evaporates, it creates steam that has a much larger volume, something like 1700 times larger volume than the original water droplet. So when you have evaporate a water mist, you create a lot of steam gas. So you would expect that the steam gas will create an over pressure wherever that steam is formed.

[00:52:38] Wojciech Wegrzynski: However, if you do that in a very hot air, which has low density because of its high temperature. And you start cooling that air by evaporating water in it. Air starts to, implode because the density is increasing and the volume is smaller. So. Quite the fun, the interplay [00:53:00] between the evaporation of water droplets and the change of density of the smoke and fire gases that you are cooling actively by including water mist into that layer.

[00:53:11] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And there's a point at which, , instead of expanding the mixture will actually collapse and will create massive under pressures. And that's what my friends did in that compartment, uh, where they rip doors up. With this force of physics. So yeah, that's a, that's a funny manifestation of, fire science, and not something you would expect in a normal operation or the normal fire.

[00:53:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: As Szymon mentioned, they've changed the physics a bit by opening and closing doors, multiple times to have at the high temperature and a lot of smoke at the same time in the compartmetn but yeah, that's, uh, that's physics then that's, that's what I really love about, fire.

[00:53:51] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And this last interview pretty much summarizes the whole conference. It was really nice event filled with great people, great [00:54:00] atmosphere. It was so good to be physically present at the conference side again, to interact. People have real coffee breaks and, uh, yeah I missed this a lot hoped that we will be able to meet each other on conferences more often in the future.

[00:54:19] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode about the conference. And for me, it was crazy to record there. I feel the same, like when I was recording my first podcast episode, because I'm pretty much clueless about , what to do and how does one cover a conference. So I hope I didn't do a really bad job.

[00:54:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: A huge thank you to go to Bettina McDowell for inviting me for the event. Thank you so much, Bettina, it was a pleasure to cover your conference for my audience. I've really enjoyed it. I've really liked what I've learned about water mist. I see there is a bright future for this technology. And that's what I wish to my, watermist friends that they grow and prosper. And for you, Fire Science Show [00:55:00] listeners. Thanks for being here with me.

[00:55:02] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Thanks for listening to this episode. If you would like me to cover more conferences in future, please let me know where should I go? Maybe I'll get an invitation and be able to give you. And overview of what happened, like just in this conference. And as usual you will find me here next Wednesday, and I have another great guest, another great episode, which you will enjoy a lot. Thank you so much. See you around. Cheers.