Early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers were developed to meet the demands of high challenge storage fire scenarios and are a common choice to protect warehouses. Many aspects of ESFR sprinklers are unique compared to standard spray sprinklers. Paramount to ESFR sprinkler performance is the ability of the sprinkler to provide large amounts of water, in a specific discharge pattern, to the fire source in the incipient phase of fire development. Obstruction of the sprinkler discharge pattern could greatly affect the ability of the ESFR sprinkler to achieve fire suppression.
Phase 1 of the Fire Protection Research Foundation's latest project was originally initiated to develop a tool that could be used to provide reliable analysis of the impact of obstructions on ESFR sprinkler performance. The tool and existing test data could also be used as a basis for the NFPA 13 Technical Committees to develop new requirements and guidance for ESFR sprinklers. This second phase implemented that test plan developed in the first phase. The testing in Phase 2 focused on open web bar joist obstructions and identified remaining knowledge gaps for future phases.
The objective of the Phase 2 research effort was to explore the threshold and tolerance of ESFR sprinklers to obstructions. This research utilized both intermediate scale testing and full-scale testing. Download the full report now, free of charge, "Obstruction and ESFR Sprinklers - Phase 2" (PDF, 20 MB), authored by Garner A. Palenske, P.E. and William N. Fletcher with Aon Fire Protection Engineering Corporation.