Student invented a self-activated fire extinguisher to protect homes from fire

Single-family homes generally do not have an automatic fire extinguishing system. These types of homes could soon benefit from better protection against the flames thanks to a device designed by a Californian student.

A San Francisco high school student named Arul Mathur has developed a self-contained, heat-activated fire suppression device called F.A.C.E. (Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher) that will help users snuff out fires before they consume their home. And it does not need someone to be there to use it.

F.A.C.E. is a self-contained, heat-activated fire suppression device.
F.A.C.E. is a self-contained, heat-activated fire suppression device. Credit: Arul Mathur

F.A.C.E. is designed to put out fires automatically when it detects extreme heat. The device takes the form of a wall-mounted metal canister with an air valve on top, an air pressure gauge on the side, and a sprinkler head on the bottom. It contains a mixture of water and an environmentally-friendly fire retardant called Cold Fire.

Its implementation is quite easy. It is enough to pressurize the cylinder with a manual air pump or an electric compressor. The manometer then makes it possible to regularly check the pressure level, the optimum value of which is around 3.4 bars.

When it is exposed to fire, the glycerin-bulb sprinkler head attached to F.A.C.E. activates, dispersing fire retardant over a 4-5 foot radius with 360-degree coverage. Unlike a traditional fire sprinkler, F.A.C.E. requires no connection to a water supply and no manual intervention.

Arul Mathur with his F.A.C.E.
Arul Mathur with his F.A.C.E. (Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher) device. Credit: Arul Mathur

F.A.C.E. presents itself as a more practical alternative to conventional fire extinguishers. The device can also be used outdoors. The device has a mounting bracket, which allows it to be mounted in a variety of areas with high risk. Mathur says if F.A.C.E. is placed every 10-12 feet around a property, it can create a fire suppressing wall, which can help stop fires from advancing through.

The fire extinguishing device can work to increase the resistance of your property to spontaneous combustion by increasing the resistance of the material to temperature changes. By having a temperature trigger of 155 degrees Fahrenheit (68 degrees Celcius), F.A.C.E. devices can activate well before materials like wood reach their flash point, covering them with fire retardant and increasing their resistance to combustion.

For now, the device is still a prototype and is the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. If it reaches production, a pledge of $99 will get you one, while a planned retail price is $120.

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