Virtually any device that has an engine which powers it requires a battery to start it. In most cases, the battery is a lead-acid battery of the type found in passenger automobiles. For large vehicles and heavy equipment, the batteries may be far larger in size and number.
For heavy-duty applications—such as those found on ships, aircraft, locomotives, and other industrial vehicles—the batteries are typically kept in a compartment or room. They are segregated for two primary reasons:
1. To protect personnel and equipment from coming in contact with the sulfuric acid electrolyte solution or its fumes
2. To protect the batteries from excessive heat or mechanical damage
Lead-acid batteries can generate hydrogen gas during charging. The process of electrolysis converts the water in the electrolyte solution into its hydrogen and oxygen components. If the battery is overcharged, the amount of hydrogen produced can increase dramatically.
Hydrogen is extremely flammable. When it is confined, it can explode. It takes a minimal ignition source to ignite pockets of hydrogen gas that may accumulate. Therefore, the risk of fire in a battery compartment or battery room is real.
Should a fire occur in a battery compartment, that is problematic for a number of reasons. If the vehicle is underway, airborne, or otherwise in motion, a fire can adversely affect its continued operation. And the fire may spread to other systems. Any personnel on board are at immediate risk. Furthermore, battery compartments are often in confined locations that are not easily accessed for manual extinguishment.
Even if the vehicle is not moving or occupied, there is a high possibility that it can be substantially damaged from the fire. In addition to the direct fire loss, there is also the indirect loss of operational downtime to consider. The lost revenue from downtime can be significant and may even surpass the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle.
When dealing with a known fire risk on expensive and/or mission-critical vehicles or equipment, having a reliable fire suppression system is essential. The Stat-X® total flooding aerosol system is an ideal choice to protect lead-acid battery enclosures. The compact design of Stat-X units allows them to be easily installed in tight spaces without affecting other operations.
Stat-X electrical units can be connected to fire detection systems for activation, or the thermal units themselves can be specified to activate at a pre-determined temperature. Either way, the rapid response of a Stat-X system can quickly suppress fires while they are manageable, thereby protecting life safety and reducing damage and downtime.