Understanding the Impact of Fuel on Surfactant Microstructure of Firefighting Foam

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Aqueous film-forming foam is being phased out due to the environmental impacts of fluorinated surfactants contained in the firefighting foams. To develop an environmentally friendly firefighting foam, it is important to understand the factors controlling the firefighting performance of surfactants. Fuel transport through foam has been considered as a dominant mechanism for foam collapse. Therefore, the impact of fuels (heptane, octane and trimethylbenzene (TMB)) on surfactant microstructure was studied for three different types of surfactants (Capstone, Glucopon, and siloxane) that have applications in firefighting foam. Multiple techniques were used to identify the microstructure and interfacial properties of surfactants with and without exposure to liquid fuel. The ignition time of fuel vapor through foam and solubility of fuel through liquid surfactant solution were measured as well. This work shows fuel solubility has an impact on the surfactant microstructure and interfacial properties. In addition, fuel solubility and vapor pressure affect the ignition time of fuel vapors.



Fuel concentration measurement, Fuel impact, Interfacial properties, Ignition time, Surfactant microstructure