ESFR sprinklers are often installed in warehouses to avoid installation of in-rack sprinklers. Due to the unique discharge pattern of the ESFR sprinkler, obstructions located near the sprinkler can greatly affect the distribution of water and potentially sprinkler performance. The 2016 Edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, provides requirements which are intended to minimize the affect obstructions have on ESFR sprinkler performance.
The Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated a project to ultimately develop a tool that can be used to provide reliable analysis of the impact of obstructions on ESFR sprinkler performance and provide technical basis for revisions to the NFPA 13 requirements. This tool and existing test data can be used as a basis for the NFPA 13 Technical Committees to develop new requirements and guidance for ESFR sprinklers.
The second phase of this project focused on open web bar joist obstructions and from that work, the impact of horizontal distance from the sprinkler to the obstruction is better understood. The third phase (outlined in this newly published report) continued the test program and increased the understanding of the impact of vertical distance and studied the impact of obstruction width.
Download the free report, "Obstruction and ESFR Sprinklers - Phase 3" (PDF), authored by Garner A. Palenske, P.E., and William N. Fletcher, P.E., with Jensen Hughes, from the Research Foundation website to review the findings.