Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rehabilitation of Fire Sprinkler Systems Affected by Corrosion

When corrosion becomes a problem in a fire protection system, it can be a challenge to determine the extent and severity of the damage. Because internal corrosion typically causes irreversible damage, fractional pipe replacement is almost always needed. In other words, a replacement of the affected pipe sections is usually required. Alternatively, a complete replacement of the entire pipe system may be required, or at least recommended. Depending on the extent of the corrosion and the scope of its affects throughout the system, a full replacement may make more sense.

What is corrosion and how does it occur?

Corrosion is a reaction that occurs when moisture and oxygen are present within the metal pipes. This is why using a supervisory gas such as Nitrogen can be highly beneficial in maintaining a fire protection system (FPS). Nitrogen is a safe, inert gas that has a very low dew point, meaning it is much less likely to liquify or freeze, which can cause damage to the system.

How does corrosion damage FPS piping?

Corrosion weakens the metal piping in an FPS in two key ways: both the accumulation of corrosion deposits, as well as the degradation of the pipe wall compromises the integrity of the system. Both issues have been proven to negatively impact the hydraulic characteristics of the sprinkler pipes as well as dramatically lower the effectiveness and safety of the system's performance overall.

Where is corrosion most likely to occur?

In most cases, the location of corrosion damage in both dry and preaction systems can be found in areas where trapped water has accumulated at improperly sloped sections. According to research and field experience conducted by CorrConsult, a corrosion and failure analysis company, corrosion damage is "...invariably confined to the larger diameter mains and cross-mains. These are oftentimes long pipe runs that were difficult to pitch properly at the time of installation."

In wet sprinkler systems however, CorrConsult reports that corrosion is typically located at high points along the sprinkler piping where pockets of air have become trapped. Trapped air eventually rises and accumulates at the highest points, creating an environment where air and water are in almost constant contact. As already mentioned, the presence of air, water and metal within the same space is a recipe for the corrosive reaction to take place.

Avoiding corrosion with Nitrogen gas

Corrosion can lead to costly repairs, replacements and the threat of an improperly functioning system. To avoid corrosion, many facilities rely on Nitrogen for their supervisory gas. Nitrogen is a clean, inert gas that is much less likely to create an atmosphere where corrosion can take place. Due to its dry characteristics, it won't condense into moisture, nor will it freeze. Unlike using compressed air, which has a higher dew point, Nitrogen is far less likely to liquefy, seep into tiny pinholes or cracks, freeze again, and further exasperate a problem that started out as a minor issue.

Using a Nitrogen Generator in FPS

Nitrogen generation technology has made it much easier and cost-efficient for facilities to maintain their fire protection systems. South-Tek Systems is a leading designer and engineer of Nitrogen Generators, offering a line of products specifically suited for fire protection systems. The N2-Blast - Corrosion Inhibiting System is designed for dry and preaction fire protection systems, producing 98%+ pure Nitrogen and introducing it to the FPS. By doing so, oxygen and moisture are effectively displaced from the piping, inhibiting electrochemical, galvanic and microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC), as well as freeze-ups and ice plugs.

If you are interested in learning more about South-Tek's' products, please visit or call (888) 526-6284.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nitrogen Use in Transmission Lines

Transmission lines can be vulnerable to corrosion if they are exposed to oxygen and moisture - the two main components that cause a corrosive reaction. Not only can corrosion become a problem in transmission lines, but dangerous voltage arcs and copper oxidation can also become issues if protective measures are not taken. That's why South-Tek Systems offers the N2-GEN TL Series - Arc Suppression System.

This system allows users to positively pressurize the transmission line with supervisory Nitrogen gas that is generated on the spot. All Nitrogen Generation Systems from South-Tek use a revolutionary technology that actually draws N2 molecules from the surrounding air, which means you can have access to high-purity Nitrogen on demand, without having to rely on expensive gas contracts or handle cumbersome high-pressure cylinders.

How the N2-GEN TL Series - Arc Suppression System works:

In addition to creating its own supply of Nitrogen gas to be used on demand, the Arc Suppression System ensures the dew point within the transmission line is lower than the temperature of the line itself. This safely and effectively displaces the oxygen and moisture that may be present in the line. This greatly reduces the chance of a voltage arc while also inhibiting corrosion and high temperature oxidation of copper.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Arc Suppression System:

Q: What Nitrogen purity level does the system produce? 

A: The N2-GEN TL Series - Arc Suppression System produces 98%+ pure Nitrogen gas.

Q: What is the dew point produced?

A: South-Tek Systems’ N2-GEN Nitrogen Generators provide a true -40 to -70 Degree F dew point ensuring the dew point within the transmission line is lower than the temperature of the line itself.

Q: What other features does the Arc Suppression System have?

A: Two popular features of the N2-GEN TL Series - Arc Suppression System are the AutoPurge System and the BlastOff - Leak Detection System.

The AutoPurge controls positive pressure within the transmission line and maximizes the life of the overall system. The N2-GEN controls the purge within the Nitrogen Generation System, cycling positive pressure between 2 - 5 PSI. The AutoPurge System effectively desiccates the line and frees you from having to constantly monitor the pressure within.

The BlastOff - Leak Detection System detects significant leaks before they compromise broadcast operations and the Nitrogen Generation System itself. There is an internal audible alarm and dry contact for wiring into the Building Monitoring System (BMS). The alarm will also sound if the air compressor or N2-GEN is not working properly.

For more information on this system, you can view the entire N2-GEN Arc Suppression System brochure here:

Have questions? Give us a call at (888) 526-6284.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nitrogen Gas Use in Fire Safety Training

For fire rescue organizations and their employees, smoke simulation is a key part of the overall training experience. In many cases, Nitrogen gas can be used to produce dense vapor that simulates smoke in a safe manner. This helps create a realistic training environment while protecting the trainees from the harm of real smoke produced from fire. Also, because Nitrogen is considered one of the safest gases due to its non-combustible qualities, it allows fire rescue groups to organize these training sessions without the risk of a real fire breaking out. 

South-Tek Systems is pleased to offer a special Nitrogen Generator designed specifically for this purpose. The SmokeBlast Nitorgen Generating System is for use in fire department training exercises and creates a supply of Nitrogen on demand.

How does it work?

Because Nitrogen is a dominant gas in the air we breathe, the SmokeBlast can "pull" Nitrogen from the surrounding air and separate the molecules. The Nitrogen is then stored within the system until needed. The SmokeBlast Nitrogen Generating System creates Nitrogen at low pressure and a flow rate that is the same as high pressure Nitrogen cylinders for optimal smoke simulation. However, unlike the high pressure cylinders, the SmokeBlast creates Nitrogen with better safety, convenience, and reliability. And because it creates its own supply of Nitrogen gas, the user does not have to rely on expensive contracts with third party gas suppliers. To learn more about the SmokeBlast Nitrogen Generating System as well as other commercial and industrial uses for Nitrogen gas, talk to one of our experts at South-Tek Systems.

Simply call (888) 526-6284 or reach out through our online contact form.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...