Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. Typically, a fire extinguisher consists of a handheld cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire.

The modern fire extinguisher was invented by British Captain George William Manby in 1818; it consisted of a copper vessel of 3 gallons of pearl ash solution contained within compressed air.
The soda-acid extinguisher was invented in the 19th century, which contained a cylinder of 1 or 2 gallons of water with sodium bicarbonate mixed into it. A vial was suspended in the cylinder containing concentrated sulphuric acid. Depending on the type of extinguisher, the vial of acid could be broken in one of two ways. One used a plunger to break the acid vial, while the second released a lead bung that held the vial closed. Once the acid was mixed with the bicarbonate solution, carbon dioxide gas was expelled and thereby pressurize the water. The pressurized water was forced from the canister through a nozzle or short length of hose.

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