A researcher from Tyumen State University, together with his colleagues from the Moscow Power Engineering Institute, Moscow State University, and the Universities of Warwick and Kingston (UK), has studied situations where there is no fresh water, and one needs to use seawater to protect against fire.
"We are talking about a possible fire on an oil platform, sea vessel or on land, not far from the sea, but far from fresh water sources. It was important to understand whether seawater could be used instead of fresh water, and how effective such a solution is", Leonid Dombrovsky, the lead author of the study, researcher at the Microhydrodynamic Technologies Laboratory from the Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Biology at Tyumen State University, said.
The scientist said that a solid crust forms on the surface of evaporating seawater droplets with an initial diameter of 0.1-0.2 mm. When pressure inside the droplets increases due to evaporation, the remaining saltwater is removed through the hole formed in the crust.
"Together with water vapour, a stream of concentrated sea salt solution is released into the surrounding air, and a lot of small crystals of sea salt are formed. As a result, using saltwater instead of freshwater, we will get relatively large hollow spherical salt particles, as well as small salt crystals", Leonid Dombrovsky added.
The calculations showed that hollow salt particles are sufficient to attenuate the flame radiation. As a result, seawater can be used to create a protective curtain if a fire occurs on an oil platform, experts believe.
Theoretical and computational work was supported by The Leverhulme Trust foundation (UK).