Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Fire Suppression

Tie a fire supression system into the air bag controls
  [vote for,

When a car gets into an accident, the sensor that sets off the airbag could also be used to set off other safety systems. Why not put a fire supression system in the engine compartment and/or the fuel tank. When an accident occurs, compressed foam canisters would go off and fill the engine compartment. To get rid of it all you have to do is hose it down. With the fuel compartment, it may not be good to use foam that would mess up an engine, unless someone can think of a foam that can be flushed easily. Perhaps a canister of Halon that replaces the air in the fuel tank and raises the air pressure in the tank so that air cannot enter. If fuel is leaking and ignites, having Halon at a higher airpressure would prevent the fire from entering the fuel tank and exploding. You could also have foam canisters in the underbody that coat the ground below the car and a few feet beyond it with foam several inches thick to prevent fire. It could be the same stuff the fire department uses.
lockle, Aug 15 2000

EPA Halon Fact Sheet http://www.epa.gov/...itle6/snap/hal.html
Why halon is being phased out, how to get recycled halon, information on ozone-safe substitutes, and so on. [egnor, Aug 15 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Smokey Bear http://www.smokeybear.org/
Small point: It's "Smokey Bear," NOT "Smokey the Bear." [bristolz, Mar 25 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       These are apparently already quite baked for race cars; I'm not sure why they're not used on ordinary street cars (too expensive?).
egnor, Aug 15 2000

       What are you driving - a pinto? Flooding the engine compartment with Halon is not a bad idea, since this is where a majority of vehicle fire occur, outside the movies. I keep a (now impossible to purchase) bottle of Halon for just such an emergency, since the stuff excels at this particular application - just shoot it right through the grill, and be wary of a re-flash.
Scott_D, Aug 15 2000

       Halon should not be the first choice for home fires, even were it available. It works by replacing oxygen, depriving a fire of this leg of the combustion tripod: this makes it extremely dangerous for household use - I used the stuff in the Navy, and several deaths had been attributed to its O2 displacement properties. It is extremely useful for electronics fires, since it leaves no residue, as well as fires in confined spaces where no one will be attempting to breathe, such as an engine compartment. Its primary drawback is that if both heat and fuel are still present, a reflash can occur when the Halon dissipates. The best stuff for fossil fuel fires is AFFF, or Aqueous Film Forming Foam (apologies to anyone misled by by my incorrect idiom), basically soapy water, which both cools and smothers. The next best thing is an H2O mist, which removes heat. The worst thing for a grease, gasoline or oil fire is a jet or stream of water, as this disperses the fuel, splattering it everywhere - the immediate effect is of instantaneously magnifying the fire in intensity by several orders of magnitude and spreading it beyond immediate control. Just FYI - call me Smokey the Bear.   

       As for the ozone layer, check out the link in "Supply and Demand" entitled "Now really hold your breathe". My sympathies to Amsterdam.
Scott_D, Aug 16 2000, last modified Aug 17 2000

       Any kind of oxygen-displacing gas would help. CO2 is cheap, and dense enough to sink (could be a problem for people on the ground like CPRers and CPRees . . . would need some kind of membrane across the bottom of the engine compartment). N2 is also pretty well inert, and in fact is what airbags themselves are inflated with, so the technology is easy to get hold of.
eritain, Aug 17 2000

       Considering that something like 78% of the atmosphere is nitrogen, it isn't too hard to get...<grin>   

       Problem with pressurizing the fuel tank with halon is that if the BOTTOM of the tank cracks, <bottom being 'in the direction of gravity', if the car is in a not-normal orientation> it will actually spray fuel out, making a bigger mess...
StarChaser, Dec 30 2000

       Baked... I modified a 5lb CO2 extinguisher to fire into my engine compartment. I simply pull the pin and the handle is spring loaded. I tested it. It killed the engine (CO2 pulled into the air intake), but flooded the engine compartment with CO2. I wouldn't worry about the ill effects of the CO2 discharge. I have been discharging extinguishers in confined rooms for years without any health problems.   

       This works fine for eletrical fires under the hood (cause of 78% of under-hood car fires) but not fuel tank fires.
phazed, Mar 25 2002

       Is there any type of gasoline nuetralising chemicals...   

       that upon impact could break and nuetralize the gas quickly...???   

       and a valve in the line to the engine would shut itself off so you cant damage your engine any further... by running nuetralized gas thru it... maybe this chemical nuetralization would be contained inside the gas tank and save some lives...   

       just a thought...
oxygon, Mar 25 2002

       I was just going to add an idea for this today and upon checking I found this idea and so you get my vote
Bamboo, Apr 05 2004

       There was an invention that consisted of a plastic tube filled with an extinguishant under pressure that you installed under your bonnet (hood). When an engine bay fire started, the tube melted and put the fire out. I've tried finding a link to it but with no luck.
oneoffdave, Apr 06 2004

       Why have a fire suppression kit tied to the airbags?? The only experience my family has had with fires and cars was when some fault caused it to start to burn from above the rear wheel, on the exhaust side, whilst being driven. Hollywood is the only place where a simple shunt or accident causes a fireball and look how much work they have to put into those.
engineer1, Apr 07 2004


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