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Failsafe Ventilation Windows

Collapse windows in event of smoke.
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,

In the event of fire, the larger risk is nearly always the smoke generated rather than the fire itself, or so the authorities would have me believe.

This being true, buildings could be designed with windows which collapse outwards in the event of smoke. This could be achieved in many ways...whether from a small electronic device or some sort of adhesive designed to dissolve in the face of smoke.

Having opened (outwards), the windows would provide much needed ventilation and escape paths for the smoke.

Snuffkin, Mar 12 2006

related Monoxide_20Sensor_20on_20Garage_20Doors
[theircompetitor, Mar 13 2006]

Upwards fire spread via windows http://www.firetact...TELSTAR%20HOUSE.htm
Shows how well fire can spread upwards even in building without heat sensitive windows [oneoffdave, Mar 13 2006]

Directed Explosion Windows [DesertFox, Mar 16 2006]


       Good idea. It may be useful for mostly ground based homes/buildings. Another idea could be to put mesh grilles on windows to ensure people don't stumble out the building.
Amneal, Mar 12 2006

       This is a very good idea. I think that it would probably have to work on some kind of adhesive which would disintegrate on contact with the smoke, and it could leave behind the wire grid that many windows have already. I can imagine this saving lives. [+]
dbmag9, Mar 12 2006

       Erm - this has been done for years in commercial buldings. In domestic applications the problem comes when yoou cook a steak properly.
gnomethang, Mar 12 2006

       Where exactly have you seen this systemme in place? In which "commercial buildings"? And I would imagine you could turn it off if you're cooking.
Amneal, Mar 12 2006

       The HVAC system in a building should be designed to provide positive-air-pressure escape paths on activation/validation of the smoke alarm (higher pressure than the surrounding areas keeps the smoke out of these zones, commonly used in staircases and lobbies). Typically, air-conditioned buildings do not have operable windows because it makes it very difficult to control the temperature.   

       Domestic applications of this system would be better but make sure you (or your guests) do not smoke inside the house, or open the windows when smog levels are particularly high.   

       (Runs off to buy shares in glass manufacturers and a glazier franchise).
methinksnot, Mar 12 2006

       Wouldn't it be able to collapse inwardly also?
jellydoughnut, Mar 12 2006

       Isn't there a danger though that the heat could build up in a building, the window suddenly fall in causing an enormously dangerous flashover?
jonthegeologist, Mar 12 2006

       I think the problem would be the ventilation itself. You want to smother the fire not feed it.   

       You wouldn't be able to smother the fire by keeping the windows shut. Besides, fresh air is needed for a safe evacuation; the building's sprinkler system (and the nice chaps in the big red truck) will deal with fire suppression.
methinksnot, Mar 13 2006

       //Where exactly have you seen this systemme in place? In which "commercial buildings"? //
Er - loads of them! The new British Library, Dun Laoghaire College, The Sussex Innovation Centre, any number of pharmaceutical buildings both laboratory and office....
They are usually tied to the building fire alarm system or a smoke vent control panel of some description. Occasionally there are manual overrides as well. The damper actuators are powered to close and are spring return to the open position on loss of power (i.e. fail safe). [methinksnot] is entirely correct about staircase pressurisation
gnomethang, Mar 13 2006

       //It may be useful for mostly ground based homes/buildings// Apart from house-boats, I'm at a loss to imagine any other sort.
coprocephalous, Mar 13 2006

       in a high rise building this set up could facilitate raopid upwards fire spread as it negates the existing fire protection between floors. the heat required to break glass is much higher than is suggested here so the windows on the floor above the fire floor would fall out much earlier. This 'leaping' from floor to floor happens surprisingly commonly [link].
oneoffdave, Mar 13 2006

       I used to work for a manufacturer of commercial fans. "Smoke control fans" were a large part of the business. I don't know details, but I got the impression that somebody realized that more people die from smoke than from fire. So most big, new buildings have to install smoke-extractor fans and control systems for them.
baconbrain, Mar 16 2006

       [rcarty] That was one of [notmarkflynn]'s earlier ideas.   

DesertFox, Mar 16 2006


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