As of September 7th, 2015, the 2016 edition of NFPA 11: Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam was approved as an American National Standard. This new edition, which replaces the 2010 Edition of NFPA 11, has several changes that addressed areas of concern that arose since that last addition. The committee stressed that some piping requirements have been addressed, more environmentally friendly on site proportioning testing has been recognized, and acceptance criteria for the annual testing of foam concentrates has been clarified. Dyne Technologies would like to highlight some of the changes that affect the annual inspection and testing of your foam systems.

The changes to Chapters 11: Testing and Acceptance can affect how you complete your onsite inspections. New additions to the document include a water supply test and operating test for control values which are outlined in Sections 5.4 and 5.5 of Chapter 11, respectively. In response to the increasing demand for more environmentally safe procedures, Chapter 11 Section 6 Subsection 3 (11.6.3) has had its wording changed (Table 1) to specifically permit the use of a listed or approved method that does not require the discharge of foam concentrate to test the foam proportioning system. Instead of requiring the approval of an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) which was stated in the 2010 edition of NFPA 11, Annex D (D.5.2) of NFPA 11 now outlines these approved methods and should be consulted before determining an alternative testing procedure.

Table 1. Comparing the verbatim of the new 2016 Edition and the 2010 Edition of NFPA 11 for alternate proportioning testing.

Topic

2010 Edition

2016 Edition

Alternate Proportioning Testing

11.6.3 A listed alternative liquid that mimics the foam concentrate flow properties shall be permitted to be used to test the proportioning system if the local AHJ permits the substitution.

11.6.3 The foam proportioning system shall be permitted to be tested with a listed or approved method that does not require discharge of foam concentrate. (See Annex D.)

There are also changes to the 2016 edition of NFPA 11 that affect how your foam concentrate samples are tested at Dyne. In Chapter 12 Maintenance, there is now a requirement in Section 6 Subsection 3 (12.6.3) that states any foam of known brand and type must be tested to ensure it meets the “manufacturer’s specifications” when annually tested. The standard has always required a foam to be “listed or approved”. The listing or approval testing typically requires large-scale fire tests to ensure the foam performs adequately. The annual testing is designed to ensure the foam has not changed significantly from when it was first manufactured and this is confirmed by completing small-scale tests that obtain representative performance benchmarks, such as expansion and drain time, which can be compared to the initial large scale certification test. Since these results are very dependent on the specific foam, NFPA clarified that the annual testing results must be compared to the manufacturer’s specifications which were set during this initial manufacturing and testing. Dyne had always referenced the manufacturer’s physical specifications and has already adopted manufacturer performance specifications when provided by the manufacturer.

In addition to the manufacturer specification clarification in Chapter 12, the addition of a specific definition for film formation in Chapter 3 also has an impact on how your foam is tested at Dyne. The previous definition (Table 2) defined any foam that physically formed a film on cyclohexane as film forming, but the new definition takes a more theoretical approach that eliminates some of the previous testing variability by defining it as a positive spreading coefficient when tested according to ASTM D 1331. Dyne has already adopted this change. Whenever a film forming foam does not readily form a seal on a small scale cyclohexane fire test (which requires a positive spreading coefficient), the foam’s spreading coefficient is determined as described in the film formation definition (3.3.7) and film formation quality is based solely on that result.

Table 2. Comparing the verbatim of the new 2016 Edition and the 2010 Edition of NFPA 11 for determining film formation.

Topic

2010 Edition

2016 Edition

Determining Film Formation

3.3.12.4 Film-Forming Foam. A concentrate that when mixed at its nominal use concentration will form an aqueous film on hydrocarbon fuels. The hydrocarbon fuel typically used as a minimum benchmark for film formation is cyclohexane.

(Now determined by two definitions)

 

3.3.12.4 Film-Forming Foam. A concentrate that when mixed at its nominal use concentration will form an aqueous film on hydrocarbon fuels.

 

3.3.7 Film Formation. A property of aqueous film-forming foams and film-forming fluoroproteins characterized by a positive (>0.0 dynes/cm) spreading coefficient when measured according to ASTM D 1331 using cyclohexane as the hydrocarbon substrate and distilled water to make the foam solution.

Please consult the 2016 edition of NFPA 11 for more detailed information on the changes highlighted above as well as all the other changes to the document. NFPA’s website should be monitored in the future for any Tentative Interim Amendments (TIA’s) that may amend any of the statements in the current edition. Remember that the NFPA 11 standard at any point in time consists of both the standard itself and all TIA’s in effect. Dyne Technologies would be happy to assist with any NFPA 11 questions and can be reached at (800) 632-2304 or lab@dyneusa.com.

Dyne Technologies, LLC

2357 Ventura Drive, Suite 108
Woodbury, MN 55125
Phone: 651-917-0644
Fax: 651-917-0646
Toll Free: 800-632-2304
 

Dyne Technologies, LLC

2357 Ventura Drive, Suite 108
Woodbury, MN 55125
Phone: 651-917-0644
Fax: 651-917-0646
Toll Free: 800-632-2304
 

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