Hot Aerosol-based Next-Generation Fire Suppression System: A Halon Alternative

IJEP 42(12):  : Vol. 42 Issue. 12 (December 2022)

Pyar Singh Jassal1*, Tribhuvan Kumar Pathak1,2, Vandana Sharma1, Raj Pal Singh2 and Rajni Johar3

1. University of Delhi, Department of Chemistry, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, New Delhi – 110 007, India
2. Defence Research and Development Organization, Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, Delhi, India
3. University of Delhi, Department of Chemistry, Maitreyi College, New Delhi – 110 021, India


In 1987, the Montreal protocol determined halon as ozone-depleting agent and subsequently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned its manufacture. Thus, against the urgent background of this elimination of halons, research and development efforts in pyrotechnically generated hot aerosol as a fire extinguisher resulted as one of the significant halons substitute technology. Unlike conventional fire suppression agents, like halon, water mist, foam and inert gas, pyrogenic aerosol-based suppression agents do not require pressurized gases to drive out the suppression agent and are more efficient than haloalkane extinguishing agents and can extinguish class A, B, C, D and K fires at fire extinguishing concentration (FEC) of 30-200 g/m3. Moreover, the ozone depletion potential (ODP) and global warming potential (GWP) values of aerosol extinguishing agents are nearly zero. This has provided thrust for research and development units to research aerosol-forming composites for many defence and civilian applications, especially for effective operation in hard to reach areas, such as in aircraft hangar and airfield, ammunition storage, vehicle engine compartment, ship engine room, aircraft engine, electronic equipment bay and wing pods, etc. Here, the application of condensed aerosol-based fire extinguishers and real fire test scenarios conducted by the defence and civilian laboratories of various countries has been reviewed. In addition, some of the limitations and concerns, like thermal hazard, occupational hazard, corrosivity and toxicity associated with these systems have been discussed. Nevertheless, enhancement for a highly efficient, much cleaner and non-corrosive aerosol-based fire extinguishing agent is still desired.


Halon alternative, Fire safety, Aerosol, Pyrotechnic, Firefighting, Environment safety, Gas generator, Fire extinguisher


  1. NFPA Report. 2020. Firefighter injuries-2019. NFPA no. FFI10. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S.A.
  2. Andrzej, W.M. and W. Tsang. 1997. Halon replacements: Technology and science. ACS Symposium series ebooks. Washington DC, U.S.
  3. Chen-guang, Z., et al. 2014. Improving strontium nitrate-based aerosol by magnesium powder. Fire Tech., 51(1): 97–107.
  4. Tapscott, R.E., et al. 1998. Halon replacement research-A historical review of technological progress and regulatory decision points. Halon options technical working conference. Albuquerque. Proceedings, pp 17-22.
  5. Senecal, J.A. 1992. Halon replacement: the law and the options. Plant/operations Prog., 11(3): 182-186.
  6. Hoke, S.H and C. Herud. 1996. Performance evaluation of a halogen acid gas analyzer. Halon options technical working Conference. Proceedings, pp 577-584.
  7. McNamee, M.S., et al. 2011. Evaluating the impact of fires on the environment. Fire Saf. Sci., 10: 43-59.
  8. Maina, E. A revolution in fire suppression technology. Scribd.
  9. Pagliaro, J.L. and G.T. Linteris. 2017. Hydrocarbon flame inhibition by C6F12O (Novec 1230): unstretched burning velocity measurements and predictions. Fire Saf. J., 87: 10–17.
  10. Zaggia, A., et al. 2009. Synthesis and application of perfluoroalkyl quaternary ammonium salts in protein-based fire-fighting foam concentrates. J. Surfactants Deterg., 13(1): 33–40.
  11. Wang, T., et al. 2016. Study on thermal decomposition properties and its decomposition mechanism of pentafluoroethane (HFC-125) fire extinguishing agent. J. Fluorine Chem., 190: 48–55.
  12. Li, H., et al. 2019. Fire suppression performance of a new type of composite superfine dry powder. Fire Mater., 43(8): 905–916.
  13. Senecal, J.A. 2005. Flame extinguishing in the cup-burner by inert gases. Fire Saf. J., 40(6): 579–591.
  14. Shrigondekar, H., et al. 2018. Characterization of a simplex water mist nozzle and its performance in extinguishing liquid pool fire. Exp. Thermal Fluid. Sci., 93: 441-455.
  15. Goode, T. 2018. Machinery space fire fighting – modern alternatives. 14th International Naval engineering conference and exhibition. Glasgow, U.K. Proceedings, pp 1-10.
  16. Rohilla, M., et al. 2021. Condensed aerosol based fire extinguishing system covering versatile applications: A review. Fire Tech.
  17. Korobeinichev, O.P., et al. 2012. Fire suppression by low-volatile chemically active fire suppressants using aerosol technology. Fire Saf. J., 51: 102-109.
  18. Jayaweera, T.M., et al. 2005. Flame suppression by aerosols derived from aqueous solutions containing phosphorus. Comb. Flame., 141(3): 308-321.
  19. Zhang, X., et al. 2015. Hot aerosol fire extinguishing agents and the associated technologies: A review. Brazilian J. Chem. Eng., 32(3): 707-724.
  20. Yan, Y., et al. 2017. New type pyrotechnically generated aerosol extinguishing agents containing phosphorus. J. Clean. Prod., 154: 151-158.
  21. Yan, Y., et al. 2018. A novel hot aerosol extinguishing agent with high efficiency for class B fires. Fire Mater., 43(3): 84-91.
  22. Kwon, K. and Y. Kim. 2013. Extinction effectiveness of pyrogenic condensed -aerosols extinguishing system. Korean J. Chem. Eng., 30(12); 2254-2258.
  23. Sheinson, R. 1994. Fire suppression by fine solid aerosol. International Conference on CFC and halon alternatives. Washington, DC. Proceedings, pp 419-421.
  24. Kibert, C.J. and D. Dierdorf. 1994. Solid particulate aerosol fire suppressants. Fire Tech., 30(4): 387-399.
  25. Richter, E. and U. Krause. 2020. Development of solid propellant for the production of fire suppression aerosols. Fire Saf. J., 120: 103-113.
  26. Yang, J. 2009. Fire extinguishment mechanism and influence of aerosol fire extinguishment agent. J. South Yangtze Uni. Nat. Sci., 2(3): 303-308.
  27. Agafonov, V.V., et al. 2005. The mechanism of fire suppression by condensed aerosols. 15th International halon options technical working Conference. Albuquerque. Proceedings, pp 1-10.
  28. Ma, D., et al. 2021. Laboratory investigation of underground fire hazard control in coal mines by use of the pyrotechnic aerosol. Comb. Sci. Tech., 1-15.
  29. Rohilla, M., et al. 2019. Aerosol forming compositions for fire fighting applications: A review. Fire Tech., 55(2): 1-31.
  30. Connell, M., et al. 2008. Large-scale tests of pyrotechnically generated aerosol fire extinguishing systems for the protection of machinery spaces and gas turbine enclosures in royal navy warships. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Conference. Proceedings, pp 1913-1921.
  31. Forssell, E.W., et al. 2010. Protection of engine enclosures using aerosol generators. SUPDET International Conference on Fire suppression and detection for research application. Orlando, Florida. Proceedings, pp 1-2.
  32. Smith, E.A. 1994. Toxicological assessment of sfe/emaa. International Conference on Toxicological assessment of Sfe/Emaa. Proceedings, pp 157-180.
  33. Kibert, C.J. and D. Dierdorf. 1993. Encapsulated micron aerosol agents (EMAA). Fire Research División, National Institute of Standards and Technology. pp 421-435.
  34. EPA report. 2009. Halon substitutes under SNAP. Air and radiation Stratospheric protection division, Environmental Protection Ageny, U.S.A.
  35. Wierenga, P.H. 2011. Advanced environmentally-friendly fire protection technology, general dynamics. International Halon options technical working Conference. Proceedings, pp 373-388.
  36. Wierenga, P.H. and G.F. Holland. 1999. Developments in and implementation of gas generators for fire suppression. International Halon options technical working Conference. Proceedings, pp 453-468.
  37. Vitali, J., et al. 1996. Pyrogenic aerosol fire suppressants: Engineering of delivery systems and corrosion analysis. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Proceedings, pp 101-116.
  38. MCA report. 1999. Marine systems-pyrotechnically generated fire extinguishing aerosol system, MCA test report PGUK: 9-12/9. England, U.K.
  39. CG report. 2006. An evaluation of aerosol extinguishing systems for machinery space applications. Report no. CG-D-03-06. U.S. Coast Guard, Research and Development Center, U.S.A.
  40. CSS report. 2011. Reduction of risk to fire fighters in responding to basement fires. Defence report no. DRDC CSS CR 2011-05. R and D Canada-Centre for Security Science, Canada. pp 1-42.
  41. FAA report. 2012. Options to the use of halons for aircraft fire suppression systems. Report no. DOT/FAA/AR-11/312012. Federal Aviation Administration, New Jersey, U.S.A.
  42. Jacobson, E., et al. 2001. Propelled extinguishing agent technologies (peat). 11th International Halon options technical working Conference. U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 351-363.
  43. Berezovsky, J. 1997. Pyrogen a new chemical alternative to halon. International halon options technical working Conference, Australia. Proceedings, pp 396-406.
  44. SPC report. 2001. Analysis performed on pyrogen fire suppression system installed in the engine compartment of pk 30 and its affected engine compartment. Pyrogen incident report: 01-0015. Singapore Police Coastguard, Malasiya, Singapore.
  45. NAWCAD report. 2000. Full scale aircraft electronics equipment bay aerosol generator fire suppression system proof of concept evaluation. Test report no. NAWCADLKEMISC-435100-0012. Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, New Jersey, U.S.A.
  46. Yang, J.C. and W. L. Grosshandler. 1995. Solid propellant gas generators: An overview and their application to fire suppression. NIST International Conference on Fire research and engineering. Proceedings, 198-208.
  47. Fallis, S., et al. 2002. Advance propellant/additive development for fire suppressing gas generators. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S.A. pp 1-15.
  48. Harrison, G.C. 1992. Solid particle fire exting-uishants for aircraft applications. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S.A. pp 437-463.
  49. Sheinson, R.S., et al. 1994. Intermediate scale fire extinguishment by pyrogenic solid aerosol. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 379-390.
  50. Chattaway, A., et al. 1995. The evaluation of non-pyrotechnically generated aerosols as fire suppressants. International Halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings,  pp 473-483.
  51. Kopylov, S.N., et al. 2002. An application of gas-aerosol tools for fire protection of sea oil-producing platforms. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S.A. pp 1-15.
  52. Kopylov, S.N., et al. 2003. The modification of the characteristics of the condensed fire extinguishing aerosol during its distribution through the pipelines. All Russian Scientific Research Institute for Fire Protection (NIST), Moscow, Russia, pp 1-14.
  53. Vasil’evic, D.N. 2003. Pyrotechnical aerosol forming composition for fire extinguishing fires and process for its preparation. European patent A0804946.
  54. Yonghua, H. 2011. Steam hot aerosol fire-extinguishing composition and use method and fire-extinguishing device thereof. China patent 101554520 B.
  55. Hao, W.U. 2017. Fire extinguishing composition comprising heterocyclic compounds. U.S. patent 043196 A1.
  56. Sparks, P.J. and J.M. Peters. 1980. Respiratory morbidity in workers exposed to dust containing phenolic resin. Int. Arch. Occup. Env. Health. 45(3): 221-229.
  57. Cohen, N., et al. 1989. Acute resin phenol-formaldehyde intoxication. A life threatening occupational hazard. Hum. Toxicol., 8 (3): 247-250.
  58. Isaksson, M., et al. 1999. Occupational dermatoses in composite production. J. Occup. Env. Med., 41(4): 261-266.
  59. EASHW report. 2009. Expert forecast on emerging chemical risks related to occupational safety and health. European risk observatory report. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.
  60. Groot, A.C. D., et al. 2009. Formaldehyde-releasers: Relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy. Contact allergy to formaldehyde and inventory of formaldehyde-releasers. Contact Dermat., 61(2): 63-85.
  61. Ingram, W.H., et al. 2004. Low formaldehyde emission phenol-formaldehyde resin and method for manufacture thereof. U.S. patent 6706845 B2.
  62. Salthammer, T., et al. 2010. Formaldehyde in the indoor environment. Chem. Rev., 110(4): 2536-2572.
  63. Pathak, T., et al. 2020. Aerosol forming pyrogenic composition for class B firefighting application: A halon alternative. International Conference on Environmental challenges and solutions (ICECS). Faridabad, India.
  64. Pathak, T., et al. 2020. Evaluation of small-scale n-heptane fire extinguishing efficacy by natural antioxidants based pyrotechnic compositions: An experimental study. Fire Mater., 44(6): 865-878.
  65. Pathak, T., et al. 2019. Advantages of natural binder over conventional binder on the combustion characteristics of KNO3/ KClO3based pyrotechnic mixtures. 12th HEMCE International Conference on High energy materials, Chennai, India. Proceedings, pp 1-8.
  66. Pathak, T., et al. 2021. A comparative evaluation of natural and synthetic binder systems and their influence on the thermal and mechanical properties of gallic acid-KNO3-KClO3tertiary pyrotechnic mixture. Propellants Explos. Pyrotech., 46: 1248-1259.
  67. Web Link:
  68. Yechiel, S. 1994. New products using particulate aerosol technology. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S.A. pp 11-13.
  69. Kopylov, N.P., et al. 2001. Toxic hazard associated with fire extinguishing aerosols: The current state of the art and a method for assessment. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 332-336.
  70. Spring, D.J. and D.N. Ball. 1995. Alkali metal salt aerosols as fire extinguishants. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S.A. pp 413-419.
  71. Smith, E.A., et al. 1994. The toxicological assessment of a fire suppressant and potential substitute for ozone depleting substances. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 359-370.
  72. Smith, E.A., et al. 1995. The assessment of toxicity after exposure to a pyrotechnically generated aerosol. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 521-532.
  73. Smith, E.A., et al. 1995. Toxicological evaluation of exposure to two formulations of a pyrotechnically generated aerosol: Range finding and multiple dose. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 117-128.
  74. Kimmel, E.C., et al. 1996. Pulmonary edemogens in f-344 rats exposed to sfe (formulation a) atmospheres. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 129-142.
  75. Kimmel, E.C., et al. 1996. The physico-chemical properties of sfe fire suppressant atmospheres in toxicity vs fire extinguishment tests: Implications for aerosol deposition and toxicity. International halon options technical working Conference, Albuquerque, U.S.A. Proceedings, pp 143-154.