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Title:
FIRE SUPPRESSION NOZZLE, NOZZLE ASSEMBLY, SYSTEM, AND METHOD FOR FLUORINE FREE SOLUTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/112629
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fire suppression nozzle assembly includes a spray-type nozzle for effectively spraying a fire suppression fluid that is a fluorine free foam solution. The spray-type nozzle includes a body portion defining a passage extending longitudinally through the body portion for conveying the fire suppression fluid. The spray-type nozzle also includes a deflector portion coupled to the body portion and configured to spray the fire suppression fluid onto a fire suppression target area using a radial spray pattern.

Inventors:
FEENSTRA SHAWN J (US)
HOA VINH BAO (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2019/062994
Publication Date:
June 04, 2020
Filing Date:
November 25, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MINIMAX VIKING RES & DEVELOPMENT GMBH (US)
International Classes:
A62C31/12; A62D1/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017012601A12017-01-26
WO2017161156A12017-09-21
Foreign References:
US20160166867A12016-06-16
US20120186831A12012-07-26
US20040188104A12004-09-30
US6383608B12002-05-07
US5848752A1998-12-15
US4091873A1978-05-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BHASKAR, Kakarla et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1 . A nozzle for discharging fire suppression agent onto a fire suppression target area, comprising:

a body portion defining a passage extending longitudinally through the body portion for conveying the fire suppression agent; and

a deflector portion coupled to the body portion and configured to effectively spray the fire suppression agent onto the fire suppression target area using a radial spray pattern,

wherein the fire suppression agent is a fluorine free foam solution that is aerated as the fire suppression agent is conveyed through the body portion.

2. The nozzle of claim 1 , wherein the fluorine free foam solution has a foam concentrate in a range of 1 % to 6%.

3. The nozzle of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein a portion of the body portion at an inlet of the passage includes a plurality of apertures extending therethrough for aerating the fire suppression agent.

4. The nozzle of any one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising:

a restrictor plate disposed at the inlet of the passage, the restrictor plate having an aperture extending therethrough, wherein the restrictor plate provides a venturi effect in the passage for facilitating the aeration of the fire suppression agent.

5. The nozzle of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the body portion includes a central support disposed in the passage, the central support having a plurality of radial arms that are attached to an inner wall of the body portion, and

wherein the radial arms introduce turbulence in a flow of the fire suppression agent for facilitating the aeration of the fire suppression agent.

6. The nozzle of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein said deflector portion includes a deflector flange having a plurality of projecting members for supporting the deflector flange above the body portion at a predetermined height, the projecting members having a pair of arcuate sidewalls that converge to a point in a radially inner end and a radially outer end of the projecting members.

7. The nozzle of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein said deflector portion includes a web portion for coupling to the body portion, the web portion having a plurality of vanes extending radially therefrom at spaced locations.

8. The nozzle of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the radial spray pattern is 360 degrees.

9. The nozzle of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the deflector portion includes a flange portion having a channel in a lower surface of the flange portion and a resilient sealing member disposed in the channel between the body portion and the deflector portion to restrict the spray pattern to less than 360 degrees.

10. A method for discharging the fire suppression agent onto a fire suppression target area using a fire suppression nozzle, comprising:

receiving, at an inlet of the nozzle, the fire suppression agent; aerating the fire suppression agent as the fire suppression agent passes through the nozzle; and effectively spraying the fire suppression agent onto the fire suppression target area using a radial spray pattern,

wherein the fire suppression agent is a fluorine free foam solution.

1 1 . The method of claim 10, wherein the fluorine free foam solution has a foam concentrate in a range of 1 % to 6%.

12. The method of claim 10 or claim 1 1 , wherein the aerating comprises aerating with a plurality of apertures at an inlet of the nozzle.

13. The method of any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein the effectively spraying onto the fire suppression target area is performed from an interior portion of the fire suppression target area.

14. The method of any one of claims 10 to 13, wherein the radial pattern is a 360-degree radial pattern.

15. The method of any one of claims 10 to 13, wherein the radial pattern is less than a 360-degree radial pattern.

16. The method of any one of claims 10 to 15, wherein the nozzle is a nozzle of any one of claims 1 -9.

17. A fire suppression nozzle assembly, comprising:

a spray-type nozzle for spraying a fire suppression fluid; and a nozzle frame for mounting the spray-type nozzle, the nozzle frame having a through-passage for receiving the nozzle,

wherein the spray-type nozzle is a nozzle of any one of claims 1 -9.

18. The nozzle assembly of claim 17, wherein the nozzle frame includes at least one drainage hole for draining liquids from a surface.

19. The nozzle assembly of claim 18, wherein the nozzle frame includes a plurality of drainage holes that circumscribe the through-passage of the nozzle frame.

20. The nozzle assembly of any one of claims 17 to 19, wherein a top surface of the spray-type nozzle is flush with a top surface of the nozzle frame.

21 . The nozzle assembly of any one of claims 17-19, further comprising:

a nozzle grate disposed adjacent to the nozzle frame for collecting and draining liquids from a surface,

wherein the nozzle frame and the nozzle grate are configured for installation on a trench.

22. The nozzle assembly of claim 20, wherein the nozzle frame and the nozzle grate form an integral unit.

23. A method of fighting fires, comprising:

providing a fire suppression agent that is a fluorine free foam solution; aerating the fire suppression agent as the fire suppression agent passes through a surface area fire suppression nozzle; and

effectively spraying the fire suppression agent onto a fire suppression target area using the nozzle.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the fluorine free foam solution has a foam concentrate in a range of 1 % to 6%.

25. The method of any one of claims 23 to 25, wherein the effectively spraying onto the fire suppression target area is performed from an interior portion of the fire suppression target area.

26. The method of any one of claims 23 to 25, wherein the radial pattern is a 360-degree radial pattern.

27. The method of any one of claims 23 to 25, wherein the radial pattern is less than a 360-degree radial pattern.

28. The method of any one of claims 23 to 27, wherein the nozzle is a nozzle of any one of claims 1 -9.

29. A system for spraying fire suppression agent onto a fire suppression target area, comprising:

a nozzle as defined in of any one of claims 1 -9, the nozzle configured to effectively spray a fire suppression agent onto the fire suppression target area using a radial spray pattern,

wherein the fire suppression agent is a fluorine free foam solution that is aerated as the fire suppression agent passes the nozzle, and

wherein the target area is a deck.

30. wherein the fluorine free foam solution has a foam concentrate in a range of 1 % to 6%.

31 . The system of claim 29, wherein the deck is an aircraft deck.

32. The system of claim 29, wherein the deck is helipad.

33. The system of any one of claims 29 to 31 , further comprising:

a proportioning device disposed in a supply line to the nozzle, the proportioning device mixing water and a fluorine free concentrate to form the fluorine free foam solution at a desired concentration percentage.

34. The system of claim 33, wherein the proportioning device is an in-line proportioning device.

35. The system of claim 33 or claim 34, further comprising:

a pump connected to the proportioning device to supply the water; and a fluorine free concentrate storage tank connected to the proportioning device to supply the fluorine free concentrate.

36. The system of claim 35, wherein the fluorine free concentrate storage tank is a bladder tank that is pressurized by an outlet pressure of the pump to force the fluorine free concentrate out a discharge of the fluorine free concentrate storage tank.

Description:
FIRE SUPPRESSION NOZZLE, NOZZLE ASSEMBLY, SYSTEM, AND METHOD

FOR FLUORINE FREE SOLUTION

PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/771,351, filed November 26, 2018. The entire disclosure of the above application is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to fire suppression systems and methods, and more particularly to fire suppression nozzles, nozzle assemblies, and methods for fluorine free firefighting solutions.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] Conventional fire protection systems for extinguishing fires on the surface of aircraft runways, aircraft hangers, helicopter landing pads ("helipads"), or the like include nozzles that typically spray film forming foam solutions on the fire such as, for example, an aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) solution, a film forming fluoroprotein foam (FFFP) solution, an alcohol resistant concentrate (ARC) solution, a fluoroprotein foam (FP) solution, or some other film forming foam solution. The solutions are typically 94% to 99% water with the remaining percentage being the foam concentrate. Traditionally, many such film forming foam solutions contained C8-based fluorinated surfactants. Flowever, the use of C8- based fluorinated surfactants in firefighting foams has been dramatically reduced, either voluntarily or by government regulations. This is because C8-based fluorinated surfactants can degrade into per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) such as, for example, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which are considered to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). Currently, fluorine free (FF) foam solutions are being considered as alternatives to C8-based foam solutions in fire suppression systems. The FF foam solutions are typically 94% to 99% water with the remaining percentage being the foam concentrate. Fluorine free as used herein means the foam liquid concentrate does not intentionally contain any component that comprises fluorine other than trace or residual amounts.

[0004] Flowever, fire suppression systems that use conventional nozzles may not be able to use many types and/or grades of FF foam solutions and still be compliant with the drain time and foam expansion value criteria of the Foam Quality Tests section of the UL 162 standard for a Type III nozzle and a foam concentrate, as published in "UL 162, Standard For Safety: Foam Equipment and Liquid Concentrates" dated February 23, 2018 (hereinafter "UL standard") and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, and with the drain time and foam expansion ratio criteria of the Low Expansion Foam Concentrate Extinguishing Performance section in the FM 5130 standard for a foam concentrate, as published in "Approval Standard for Foam Extinguishing Systems: Class Number 5130" dated January 2018 (hereinafter "FM standard") and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Consequently, there is a need for a fire suppression nozzle that can spray FF foam solutions and be UL and/or FM compliant.

[0005] As known to those skilled in the art, the UL standard provides requirements for foam producing equipment and liquid concentrates for production and discharge of foam that has an expansion ratio of 20:1 or less and is used for fire extinguishing. The foam is a fire fighting agent that is made by mechanically mixing air with a solution consisting of mixture of fresh and/or salt water and a foam liquid concentrate. The UL standard defines a liquid concentrate as a protein or synthetic based liquid that is intended to be diluted with fresh water, salt water, or a mixture of both fresh and salt water to a concentration (volume of concentrate/volume of water) of 1 percent or higher. Those skilled in the art understand that a fluorine-free liquid concentrate would be defined as a synthetic under Section 4.16(e) of the UL Standard.

[0006] Those skilled in the art understand that one requirement for a specified liquid concentrate is to meet a topside discharge and fire test in Section 12 ("Class B Fire Tests - Topside Discharge Devices") of the UL Standard. A FF liquid concentrate (synthetic solution) can be tested in accordance with the topside discharge and fire test for, for example, a Type III discharge outlet application (Section 12.4.2). As is known in the art, the testing FF liquid concentrate must meet the requirements of Sections 12.1.2 - 12.3.5 and 12.4.3 - 12.5.6 of the UL Standard. Those skilled in the art also understand that the foam quality (e.g., foam expansion value and drain time) from nozzles that discharge FF foam solutions must be compliant with the foam quality of a FF foam solution that has already passed a topside discharge and fire test of Section 12.

[0007] The testing method and criteria for meeting the foam quality requirements when testing a nozzle is found in Section 10 of the UL Standard. In order to meet the foam expansion value criteria of the UL standard, the foam expansion value should not be more than one expansion unit below (or more than 10 percent below, if this is a greater amount) nor more than two expansion units above (or not more than 20 percent above, if this is a greater amount) the manufacturer's value. In order to meet the drain time criteria of the UL Standard, the 25 percent drain time is not more than 1 minute shorter (or not more than 10 percent shorter, if this is a greater amount) nor more than 2 minutes longer (or not more than 20 percent longer, if this is a greater amount) than the manufacturer's 25-percent drain time. In addition, in no case shall the 25 percent drain time for the full scale equipment be: 1) Less than 30 seconds, or 2) Less than the drain time value obtained from the special fire test equipment, whichever is less.

[0008] Those skilled in the art understand that the FM Standard relates to fixed fire extinguisher systems that use aqueous foam as the extinguishant. The FM Standard defines an aqueous film-forming foam as a foam produced from a synthetic concentrate and that forms an aqueous vapor barrier film on the surface of liquids immiscible in water, and is measured to have a spreading coefficient greater than zero. Those skilled in the art understand that to comply with the FM standard, approval of a system is based upon its ability to proportion a concentrate accurately into water and to produce and deliver a foam from the resulting foam solution, the quality of which is within the limits of expansion ratio and 25 percent drainage time of foams demonstrating successful performance in fire extinguishing tests. The fire extinguishing tests are set forth in Section 4.1 (including, e.g., the topside discharge test for type III application in Section 4.1.2.9.2). The foam quality testing criteria is discussed in Sections 4.2 and 4.2 of the UL Standard.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

[0009] Exemplary embodiments of the present invention are directed to a fire suppression nozzle that is configured to effectively spray a fire suppression agent onto a fire suppression target area of a surface area, such as, for example, a surface area of an aircraft landing and/or storage area (hereinafter referred to as a "deck" or "deck area"). The fire suppression target area is an area of the deck that is designated as needing fire protection. The fire suppression target area can be the entirety of the deck area or only a portion of the deck area. Preferably, the deck is the deck of a helipad. As used herein, "agent" is a chemical-based fluid. For example, an agent can be a fire suppression fluid such as, for example, a FF solution. As used herein, "effectively spray a fire suppression agent" means spraying the fire suppression agent onto the target area while conforming to the foam quality and performance tests of the UL standard and/or the FM standard. Preferably, the fire suppression agent can be a FF foam solution having a foam concentrate in a range of 1% to 6%. Because foam concentrates are made available in discrete concentration values (e.g., 1%, 3%, 6%, etc.) by the manufacturers, those skilled in the art understand that a foam concentrate in a range of 1% to 6% means the foam concentrate value can be any one of the discrete concentration values such as, for example, 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, and 6% (or other values in between).

[0010] In some embodiments, the present disclosure is directed to a fire suppression nozzle that discharges fire suppression fluid such as, for example, water, a fire suppression agent, or some other fire suppression fluid. That is, some exemplary embodiments of the nozzle are not limited to effectively spraying a fire suppression agent and can spray other types of fire suppression fluids, including nozzles that spray the other types of fluids while conforming to an UL standard and/or a FM standard. Preferably, the fire suppression nozzle includes a body portion defining a passage extending through the body portion along a longitudinal axis of the body portion. The passage includes an inlet for receiving fire suppression fluid from a fire suppression fluid source. Preferably, the fire suppression solution is a FF foam solution having a foam concentrate in a range of 1% to 6%. The passage also includes an outlet for discharging the fire suppression fluid onto a deck area such as, for example, the deck area of a helipad. Preferably, the nozzle includes a deflector portion configured to spray the fire suppression solution exiting the nozzle in a radial pattern (also referred to herein as "radial spray pattern"), which can be, for example, a 90- deg. spray pattern, a 180-deg. spray pattern, a 360-deg. spray pattern, or some other spray pattern. Preferably, the fire suppression solution exits the nozzle in a generally lateral direction. That is, a trajectory of the fire suppression solution has a low discharge angle with respect to the surface of the deck (e.g., less than a 45-deg. angle). For example, the maximum height of the spray can be in a range of about 12 inches to 18 inches and, more preferably, less than 12 inches.

[0011] In some embodiments, the deflector portion includes a deflector flange having a plurality of projecting members for supporting the deflector flange above the body portion at a predetermined height. The predetermined height is in a range of 0.125 inch to 0.250 inch. The projecting members preferably have a pair of arcuate sidewalls that converge to a point in a radially inner end and a radially outer end of the projecting members. In some embodiments, the deflector portion includes a web portion for coupling to the body portion. Preferably, the web portion has a plurality of vanes extending radially therefrom at spaced locations.

[0012] In some embodiments, a portion of the body portion at the inlet of the passage includes one or more aeration holes extending therethrough. Preferably, the inlet of the passage is defined by a cylindrical shape. Preferably, the passage includes a radially extending flange at the outlet. In some embodiments, a restrictor plate is disposed at the inlet of the passage. Preferably, the restrictor plate has an aperture extending therethrough and a size of the aperture corresponds to a desired K-factor of the nozzle.

[0013] In some embodiments, the deflector portion includes a flange portion having a channel (e.g., a V-shaped channel or a U-shaped channel) in a lower surface of the flange portion and an O-ring seal disposed in the channel between the body portion and the deflector portion to restrict the spray pattern to less than 360 degrees. [0014] The present disclosure is also directed to a nozzle assembly that includes a spray-type fire suppression nozzle (e.g., a nozzle as discussed above and in further detail below), a nozzle frame, and/or a nozzle grate. Preferably, the fire suppression nozzle is installed in the nozzle frame, which has a through-passage for receiving the nozzle.

Preferably, the nozzle frame includes one or more drainage holes that circumscribe the through-passage of the nozzle frame. The drainage holes help prevent debris from collecting in or near the exit passageways of the spray-type fire suppression nozzle. Preferably, the nozzle grate is disposed adjacent to the nozzle frame for collecting and draining the liquids from the deck area. In some embodiments, the nozzle frame and/or the nozzle grate are configured for installation on a trench.

[0015] The present disclosure is also directed to a fire suppression system for a surface area, which can be, for example, the surface of an aircraft runway, a loading bay (e.g., a truck loading bay), an automobile garage or other storage area, a hangar floor, a hangar deck and/or a flight deck on an aircraft carrier, a helipad platform, or some other landing and/or storage area. Preferably, the fire suppression system is for the deck area on a helipad. The fire suppression system can include one or more spray-type fire suppression nozzles located in an interior portion of the helipad for delivering a fire suppressant fluid to a fire suppression target area on a surface of the deck. The fire suppression system can deliver a fire suppressant fluid such as, for example, water, a fire suppression agent, or another type of fire suppression fluid, to the deck via one or more of the spray-type nozzles, which can be surface area fire suppression nozzles. Preferably, the flow from the spray-type nozzles discharges in a radial pattern extending generally in a lateral direction so that the fire suppressant fluid is sprayed under the main body of the aircraft (e.g., helicopter) to minimize contact with the aircraft (e.g., helicopter). In some embodiments, the fire suppressant system includes a nozzle assembly which is capable of supporting heavy loads such as, for example, the weight of a helicopter, and still maintain operation to protect the fire suppression target area.

[0016] Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected embodiments and not al l possible implementations, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

[0018] FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a fire suppression nozzle assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure;

[0019] FIG. 2A illustrates a top view of the nozzle assembly of FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 2B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly of FIG. 2A.

[0021] FIGS. 2C and 2D illustrate top and cross-sectional views of the nozzle frame illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B;

[0022] FIG. 3A illustrates a top view of the nozzle illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B;

[0023] FIG. 3B illustrates is a cross-section view of the nozzle of FIG. 2A;

[0024] FIG. 3C illustrates side view of the body portion of the nozzle of FIG. 2A;

[0025] FIG. 3D illustrates a cross-sectional view of the body portion of the nozzle of

FIG. 2A; [0026] FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C illustrate a bottom, side, and cross-sectional views of the deflector portion of the nozzle of FIG. 2A;

[0027] FIG. 5A illustrates a plan view of a section of a trench of a deck area including the nozzle assembly of FIG. 1;

[0028] FIG. 5B illustrates a cross-section view of a section of the trench illustrating the nozzle assembly of FIG. 1 installed over the trench;

[0029] FIG. 6A illustrates a top view of a nozzle according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0030] FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view of the nozzle of FIG. 6A;

[0031] FIG. 6C illustrates a bottom view of the deflector portion of the nozzle of FIG. 6A;

[0032] FIG. 6D illustrates a cross-sectional view of the deflector portion of FIG. 6C;

[0033] FIG. 6E illustrates a front view of the deflector portion of FIG. 5C;

[0034] FIG. 6F illustrates a side view of the deflector portion of FIG 5C;

[0035] FIG. 7A illustrates a top view of a nozzle according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0036] FIG. 7B illustrates a front view of the deflector portion of the nozzle of FIG. 7A;

[0037] FIG. 7C illustrates a bottom view of the deflector portion of FIG. 7B;

[0038] FIG. 7D illustrates a cross-sectional view of the deflector portion of FIG. 7B.

[0039] FIG. 8A illustrates a simplified overview of a fire suppression system protecting an aircraft deck in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure;

[0040] FIG. 8B illustrates a top view of the aircraft deck of Figure 8A; and

[0041] FIG. 9 illustrates a top view of a hanger deck area. [0042] Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

MODE(S) FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0043] Exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to fire suppression nozzle assemblies and systems for the deck area for aircraft. Exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure deliver sufficient fire suppression fluid to the deck area to totally flood the deck area while distributing the fire suppression fluid to the area in a manner to minimize contact with the aircraft stored or positioned in the deck area. In addition, the fire suppression nozzle assembly, including the fire suppression nozzle, the nozzle frame and/or nozzle grating, can resist heavy loads such as the weight from an aircraft wheel, a wheel of a fire fighting vehicle, or other heavy load, and can maintain operation on at least a limited basis even with the wheel of the vehicle parked on top of the nozzle assembly. In this manner, the fire suppression nozzle assemblies a nd systems of the present disclosure can operate without obstruction from the vehicles in the vicinity of the deck area including those that are positioned over the nozzle assembly.

[0044] For purposes of brevity and clarity, exemplary embodiments are described in the context of protecting the deck area of a helipad. However, exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure are applicable to the protection of other types of surfaces such as, for example, surface of an aircraft runway, a loading bay (e.g., a truck loading bay), an automobile garage or other storage area, a hangar floor, a hangar deck and/or a flight deck on an aircraft carrier, some other aircraft landing/storage area and/or some other vehicle storage area. Preferably, the fire suppression nozzle is configured to effectively spray a fire suppression fluid onto a fire suppression target area, which can be the entirety of the deck area of the aircraft or a portion thereof. In some embodiments, the fire suppression system includes one or more spray-type fire suppression nozzles that are installed in an interior portion of the surface of the fire suppression target area. Preferably, the fire suppression agent can be a FF foam solution having a foam concentrate in a range of 1% to 6%.

[0045] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a fire suppression nozzle assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. As seen in FIG. 1, the fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 is configured to be installed in a grate and includes a spray- type nozzle 28, which is a surface area fire suppression nozzle, and a nozzle frame 22. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 1, the nozzle assembly 10 includes a nozzle grate 24 that is adjacent to and integral to the nozzle frame 22 such that the nozzle frame 22 and nozzle grate 24 are one integral unit. In some embodiments, the nozzle frame 22 can be attached to and/or installed adjacent to grating 20 (see FIG. 5A), which can be conventional floor grating. The spray-type nozzle 28 and the nozzle assembly 10 are discussed in further detail below.

[0046] FIG. 2A illustrates a top view of the nozzle assembly 10 and FIG. 2B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly 10. FIGS. 2C and 2D illustrate top and cross- sectional views of an exemplary nozzle frame 22/nozzle grate 24 that receives a fire suppression nozzle. As seen in FIGS. 2A-2D, the nozzle assembly 10 includes a spray-type nozzle 28, a nozzle frame 22, and a nozzle grate 24. The nozzle frame 22 includes a through- passage 210 (see FIGS. 2C and 2D) for receiving the nozzle 28. Preferably, the nozzle frame 22 include one or more drain holes 215 for draining any water runoff or other liquids from a deck area of an aircraft landing and/or storage area. Preferably, a plurality of drain holes

215 are disposed around the through-passage 210, and more preferably, disposed around the through-passage 210 such that the drain holes 215 circumscribe the outer perimeter of the nozzle 28 when installed in the nozzle frame 22.

[0047] In some embodiments, the nozzle frame 22 includes a recessed portion 207 defined by a lip 208. The recessed portion 207 is preferably disposed in a central portion of the nozzle frame 22. However, in some embodiments, the recessed portion can be offset from the center of the nozzle frame 22. The recessed portion 207 includes an annular tapered support surface 209 (FIGS. 2C and 2D) on which the body flange 48 of nozzle 28 rests (FIG. 2B). The bottom surface of body flange 48 is preferably angled to match tapered surface 209 so that there is uniform support for body flange 48 by nozzle frame 22.

[0048] A depth of the recessed portion 207 is such that, when the nozzle 28 is installed, the top surface of the nozzle 28 is generally flush with the top surface of the nozzle frame 22 (see Figure 2B). Preferably, the nozzle 28 has no moving parts, and thus the top surface of the nozzle 28 preferably remains flush with the top surface of the nozzle frame 22 during operation. Preferably, the through-passage 210 and the drain holes 215 are disposed in the recessed portion 207 such that the lip 208 circumscribes the drain holes 215. The drain holes 215 help keep the outlet of the nozzle 28 from getting blocked or obstructed by draining dirt and/or other particles before they enter the nozzle 28. In addition, the drain holes 215 can be a source of the air passing through air holes or apertures 80 (FIG. 2B) during the aeration of the fire suppression fluid (discussed below).

[0049] In some embodiments, as seen in the cross-sectional view in Figure 2B, the nozzle 28 can be secured to the nozzle frame 22 using, for example, a spring clip 222 and screws 224 or by some other known means. In some embodiments, the nozzle assembly 10 can include a nozzle grate 24. Preferably, the nozzle grate 24 is disposed adjacent to the nozzle frame 22. In some embodiments, the nozzle grate 24 is attached to the nozzle frame 22. In some embodiments, the nozzle grate 24 and nozzle frame 22 are constructed so as to form a single integral unit. In other em bodiments, the nozzle grate 24 is installed next to the nozzle frame 22 without physically attaching to the nozzle frame 22. The nozzle frame 22 and/or nozzle grate 24 can be made of any appropriate material such as, for example, a metal (e.g., ductile iron, aluminum, stainless steel), a ceramic, a composite material, or a combination thereof. Preferably, the nozzle frame 22 can be installed in a trench, and more preferably, installed in the trench such that the top surfaces of the nozzle frame 22 and the nozzle 28 are flush with the surface of the deck of the aircraft landing and/or storage area. The installation of the nozzle assembly 10 is discussed in further detail below.

[0050] As discussed above, the fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 can include a nozzle 28, which is described with reference to FIGS. 3A-3D. FIG. 3A is a top view of the nozzle 28 and FIG. 3B is a cross-section view of the nozzle 28 that does not intersect radially extending web 47. FIG. 3C is side view of the body portion 34 and FIG. 3D is a cross-sectional view of the body portion 34 that intersects radially extending web 47. The nozzle 28 can be made of any appropriate material such as, for example, a metal (aluminum, stainless steel), a plastic, a ceramic, a composite material, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the nozzle 28 is made of stainless steel. As seen in FIGS. 3A-3D, the nozzle 28 includes a body portion 34 and a deflector portion 36 that can be supported on the body 34. A diameter of the nozzle 28 at the deflector portion can be in a range of 4 inches to 8 inches and, preferably 6 inches. A height of the nozzle from the inlet to the top of the deflector portion can be in a range of 2.5 inches to 4.5 inches and, preferably 3.75 inches. When installed in the nozzle frame 22, the top surface of deflector portion 36 lies generally flush with the top surface of the nozzle frame 22. As shown in FIGS. 3A-3D, the body portion 34 defines a passage 38 extending in a longitudinal direction of the nozzle 28. The passage 38 has an inlet opening 40 at an end of the passage 38 and an outlet opening 42 at an opposite end of the passage 38. The body portion 34 preferably includes a coupling portion 44 (see FIG. 3B) that is configured to couple to supply pipe 30 (see FIG. 5B). The coupling portion 44 can be configured to couple to any standard pipe size such as, for example, a 2-inch pipe. Coupling portion 44 can be coupled to supply pipe 30 using, for example, a threaded or grooved fitting. The body portion 34 can include a central support 46 that can be anchored within the passage 38 by one or more radially extending webs 47. In some embodiments, the central support 46 and/or the radially extending webs 47 are integral to the body portion 34. I n some embodiments, the central support 46 and/or the radially extending webs 47 are separate components that are attached (fixedly or detachably) to the body portion 34.

[0051] Body portion 34 preferably includes a body flange 48 whose inner surface preferably defines the outlet opening 42 of passage 38. In some embodiments, the outer part of body flange 48 is configured to support the nozzle 28 when installed in, for example, the through-passage 210 of the nozzle frame 205.

[0052] Deflector portion 36 preferably includes a deflector flange 52 which is spaced from outlet opening 42 by a predetermined distance, when the nozzle 28 is assembled. As explained below, the predetermined distance is based on the height of projecting members 56. Deflector portion 36 can be substantially solid except for a central mounting opening 54 and is, therefore, substantially impervious and can provide a solid deflecting surface for the fire suppression fluid. To further deflect and, moreover, direct the fire suppression fluid, deflector portion 36 includes one or more projecting members 56 which extend from lower surface 52a of deflector flange 52. When the nozzle 28 is assembled, the projecting members 56 preferably rest on upper surface 48a of body flange 48. Preferably, the lower surface 56a, upper surface 48a, and the projecting members 56 define one or more radial passageways 88 (see FIG. 4A) through which the fire suppression fluid flows to form a radial spray pattern and exits the nozzle 28 is a generally lateral direction. The pattern can be a radial spray pattern in a range that is greater than 0 deg. and up to 360 deg. For example, the radial spray pattern can 90 deg., 180 deg., 360 deg., or some other value. By resting on body flange 48, projecting members 56 provide uniform support to deflector 36. Preferably, the height of the projecting members 56 are in a range of 0.125 to 0.250 inch. In some embodiments, the height of the projecting members 56 is 0.196 inch or greater, which allows for smaller particles in the fire suppression fluid to pass through the nozzle 28 without plugging the nozzle 28. In addition, having projecting members 56 that are 0.196 inch or greater allows for the filter screen (not shown) in the fire suppression fluid supply system to be 1/8-inch mesh or greater. A bigger mesh size means less maintenance and greater reliability for the fire suppression system.

[0053] Deflector portion 36 is preferably detachably coupled to the body portion 34. For example, deflector portion 36 can be coupled to the central support 46 of body portion 34 by using threaded fastener 66 (or some other type of fastener). The threaded fastener 66 preferably extends through central opening 54 of web portion 64 to threadedly engage central opening 46a of central support 46. Preferably, web portion 64 is shaped to minimize pressure or head loss (e.g., due to friction) of the fire suppression fluid exiting from outlet opening 42. Preferably, a resilient washer material 67 may be placed between the web portion 64 and central support 46 to prevent rotation of deflector 36 due to, for example, human contact, vibration, torque loads that may be caused by vehicles, or some other factor that could loosen the deflector portion 36 from the body portion 34. Flowever, the resilient washer material 67 preferably breaks free to permit rotation to prevent damage to nozzle 28 in the event that the nozzle 28 is subject to heavy torque loads caused by, for example, turning or accelerating vehicles.

[0054] In the illustrated embodiment, central support 46 is preferably centrally located in body 34 and/or in passage 38. The central support 46 is preferably supported in passage 38 by one or more radial arms 47. For example, the illustrated embodiment, the central support 46 is supported by six radial arms 47. Those skilled in the art understand, however, that the number of radial arms may be modified and can be greater or less than six. Radial arms 47 extend from central support 46 to an inner surface 34a of body wall 34b of the body portion 34 (FIG. 3A). Central support 46 is preferably shaped to minimize pressure or head loss (e.g., due to friction) of the fire suppression fluid flowing through passage 38. Flowever, the central support 46 and the radial arms 47 are configured to introduce some turbulence in the flow of the fire suppression fluid so as to facilitate aeration of the fire suppression fluid via air holes or apertures 80 (discussed below).

[0055] The inlet end 40 of the inner surface 34a of the body wall 34b is provided with a shoulder 70 and a recessed groove 72. A restrictor plate 74 having an aperture 76 is disposed against the shoulder 70 and is retained in place by a clip 78 received in the recessed groove 72. The size of the aperture 76 is selected based on the desired or required K-factor for the fire suppression nozzle 28. The aperture 76 also provides a venturi effect in the passage 38 that aids in aerating the fire suppression fluid.

[0056] One or more air holes or apertures 80 are provided in the body wall 34b of the body portion 34. Preferably, the number of air holes or apertures 80 is in a range of 1 to 10, preferably in a range of 3 to 8, and more preferably 6. Due to the venturi effect in the passage 38, the air from outside the nozzle 28 flows through the air holes or apertures 80 to aerate the fire suppression agent. The aeration of the fire suppression agent facilitates the foam formation when the fire suppression agent is discharged onto a fire suppression target area. Preferably, the inner surface 34a of the body wall 34b is cylindrical in shape. In some embodiments, the diameter of each of the air holes or apertures 80 is 0.125 inch ± 0.0125 inch. Preferably, the total cross-sectional area of the air holes or apertures 80 is in a range of 0.025 in 2 to 0.5 in 2 , and preferably 0.167 in 2 .

[0057] FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C illustrate bottom, side, and cross-sectional views, respectively, of deflector portion 36. As best seen in FIG. 4A, projecting members 56 are aligned along lines extending radially outward from the center of deflector portion 36, which correspond to lines extending radially outward from the center of outlet opening 42 (see FIG. 3A). Projecting members 56 are preferably spaced to provide multiple spray jets close together, with each spray jet providing a high velocity foam or water solution that causes multiple droplets sizes and effects the adjacent spray tooth. Projecting members 56 preferably include a pair of arcuate side surfaces 56a that converge to a point 56b, 56c at a radially inner end and a radially outer end of the projecting member 56. Each projecting member 56 includes a planar bearing surface 84 for resting on body flange 48 and the arcuate side surfaces 56a define passageways 88 therebetween. The arcuate side surfaces 56a of the projecting members 56 produce a venturi effect in the passageway 88 between each projecting mem ber 56, which pulls the fire suppression pattern together to form a uniform distribution, e.g., a solid pattern (e.g., no gaps). The venturi effect from the projecting members 56 also creates multiple fire suppression fluid droplet sizes and velocities, which creates a uniform distribution of the water or foam solution. Preferably, projecting members 56 are fixed (e.g., by casting) to a lower surface 52a of flange 52 (see

FIG. 3B). [0058] Nozzles 28 are sized for application to a protected area using a "K-factor which is dependent on the inlet supply pressure to each nozzle and the size of the aperture 76 in the restrictor plate. The flow rate is determined by the available pressure to each nozzle using an industry standard formula. Flow in gallons per minute (gpm) = K-factor x (psi) 1/2 . The flow rate of nozzle 28 is designed to provide an application density of at least a 0.1 GPM per square-foot over an area of coverage. Preferably the K- factor of nozzle 28 has a range of about 25-50 feet.

[0059] From the foregoing description, those skilled in the art understand that nozzle 28 has no moving parts. In addition, because deflector 36 is supported by projecting members 56 and center support 46 of body portion 34, those skilled in the art understand that deflector 36 has uniform support at its outer edge which results in deflector 36 being able to accept heavy vertical weight. For example, in exemplary embodiments, the nozzle 28 can withstand up to 350 psi on the top of the nozzle 28.

[0060] Referring to FIG. 3B, inner surface 52a of deflector flange 52 is angled to radially direct the flow of the fire suppressant in a manner to maintain a maximum lateral trajectory and, further, to minimize the height of the spray from the deck area. Preferably, a trajectory of the fire suppression fluid has a low discharge angle with respect to the surface of the deck (e.g., less than 45-deg. angle). I n some embodiments, the maximum height h (see FIG. 8A) of the spray can be in a range of about 12 inches to 18 inches and, more preferably, less than 12 inches. In some embodiments, inner surface 52a of flange 52 is angled in a range of 10 to 15 degrees from horizontal (as used herein horizontal refers to the upper or top surface of deflector portion 36), more preferably approximately 10 degrees from horizontal so that the spray has a lateral coverage distance of approximately 5 feet to

30 feet. For example, typical K-factors covered by nozzle 28 can range from 14 feet diameter for 180-degree pattern to 50 feet diameter for a 360-degree pattern. Preferably, the desired

K-factor is constant over a range of inlet pressures from about 40 psi to 100 psi.

[0061] The web portion 64 on the deflector portion 52 preferably includes one or more vanes 90 extending radially outward therefrom. As shown in FIGS. 4A-4C, preferably, eight vanes 90 are evenly spaced at 45-degree intervals around the web portion 64. However, the number of vanes and the spacing between the vanes can vary from the illustrated embodiments. The vanes 90 are pointed in the inner and outer directions to facilitate the flow of the fire suppression fluid and minimize pressure or head loss.

[0062] In some exemplary embodiments, the nozzle 28 can be installed in a floor grating covering a trench, if desired. For example, as seen in FIGS. 5A and 5B, floor fire suppressant system 12 includes a grate-type fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 that is configured for positioning in a trench 14 of a deck area, which can be, for example, a helipad deck area. As best seen in FIG. 5B, trench 14 extends below floor surface 16 and includes shelves or support surfaces 18 for supporting thereon floor grating 20 and/or nozzle grate 24 and nozzle frame 22 (FIG. 5B). In some embodiments, grating 20 may be of conventional design with a plurality of drain openings 21 extending therethrough to permit fire suppressant run off and debris to drain from the floor area. Nozzle frame 22 is designed to support a nozzle 28 and is configured for installation in trenches. That is, nozzle frame 22 in combination with nozzle grate 24 and/or grating 20 are configured to facilitate installation in decks that have trenches. Preferably, nozzle frame 22 can support a nozzle 28 of the present disclosure in a manner to permit nozzle 28 to deliver fire suppression fluid to the fire suppression target area unhampered by aircraft, equipment or other potential obstructions, as described above. I n the embodiment of FIGS. 5A and 5B, a fire suppression fluid supply pipe 30 is connected to the nozzle 28 by a grooved coupler 32, although other types of connections can be used. The supply pipe 30 can be connected to a fire suppression system (discussed below) to supply the fire suppression fluid.

[0063] As seen in FIG. 5B, nozzle frame 22 includes a through-passage 210 for accepting the nozzle 28. The through-passage 210 includes an annular tapered support surface on which body flange 48 of the body portion 34 can rest. When installed in the through-passage 210 of the nozzle frame 22, the body flange 48 supports the nozzle 28. Body flange 48 is preferably angled to match tapered surface of the through-passage 210 so that there is uniform support for body flange 48 by nozzle frame 22.

[0064] Nozzle 28 in the above exemplary embodiments provides a 360-deg. radial spray pattern. However, exemplary embodiments of the present invention can have fire suppression nozzles that have a radial spray pattern that is less than 360 degrees. For example, FIGS. 6A-6E illustrate an embodiment of the fire suppression nozzle that has a 90- deg. radial spray pattern. FIG. 6A is a top view of the nozzle 128 and FIG. 6B is a cross- sectional view of the nozzle 128. The nozzle 128 can be used to spray fire suppression fluid in, for example, a corner of the deck of an aircraft landing and/or storage area. As seen in FIG. 6B, the body portion 34 of the nozzle 128 is the same as the body portion 34 of the nozzle 28. Accordingly, for brevity, a detailed description of the body portion 34 of the nozzle 128 is omitted. As seen in FIG. 6B, the deflector portion 136 of nozzle 128 is different from that of deflector 36 of nozzle 28.

[0065] FIG. 6C illustrates a bottom view of deflector portion 136 and FIG. 6D illustrates a cross-sectional view of deflector portion 136. FIG. 6E illustrates a front view of deflector portion 136 and FIG. 6F illustrates a side view of deflector portion 136. With reference to FIGS. 6A-6F, the deflector portion 136 is configured to direct a fire suppression fluid in a generally 90° pattern. The deflector portion 136 includes a channel 140, which can be, for example, V-shaped, U-shaped, a rectangular groove, or some other shape that facilitates insertion of a resilient sealing member that is made of, for example, rubber or some other resilient and/or elastic material. The channel 140 receives the resilient sealing member 142, which can be, for example, an O-ring that has been split. When the nozzle 128 is assembled, the resilient sealing member 142 is disposed and pressed between a segment of the deflector portion 136 and the body flange 48 of the body portion 34 to seal the segment. The channel 140 and resilient sealing member 142 extend circumferentially around approximately 270 degrees of the deflector portion 136 with respect to a central axis of the defector portion 136 to provide a 90-deg. radial spray pattern between the ends thereof. The deflector portion 136 can include one or more projecting members 156 extending from the deflector flange 152. The deflector portion 136 can also include a web portion 164 and one or more vanes 190 extending from the web portion 164. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, two projecting members 156 and three vanes 190 are shown. Of course, number and spacing of the projecting members 156 and/or vanes 190 are not limiting each can be more or less than that shown in the illustrated embodiments. Those skilled in the art will understand that the functions and configurations of projecting members 156, web portion 164, and vanes 190 are similar to the functions and configurations of projecting members 56, web portion 64, and vanes 90 discussed above with respect to nozzle 28. Accordingly, for brevity, a detailed description of projecting members 156, web portion 164, and vanes 190 is omitted.

[0066] FIGS. 7A to 7D are directed to an embodiment of the fire suppression nozzle that has a 180-deg. radial spray pattern. FIG. 7A illustrates a top view of the nozzle 228. The body portion of the nozzle 228 is the same as the body portion 34 of the nozzle 28.

Accordingly, for brevity, a detailed description of the body portion of the nozzle 228 is omitted. With respect to the deflector portion, FIG. 7B illustrates a front view of the deflector portion 236, FIG. 7C illustrates a bottom view of the deflector portion 236, and FIG. 7D illustrates a cross-sectional view of the deflector portion 236. The nozzle 228 can be used to spray fire suppression fluid in, for example, a side of the deck of an aircraft landing and/or storage area.

[0067] With reference to FIGS. 7B-7D, the deflector portion 236 is configured to direct a fire suppression fluid in a generally 180° pattern. The deflector portion 236 includes a channel 240, which can be, for example, V-shaped, U-shaped, a rectangular groove, or some other shape that facilitates insertion of a resilient sealing member that is made of, for example, rubber or some other resilient and/or elastic material. The channel 240 receives the resilient sealing member 242, which can be, for example, an O-ring that has been split. When the nozzle 228 is assembled, the resilient sealing member 242 is disposed and pressed between a segment of the deflector portion 236 and the body flange of the body portion of the nozzle 228 to seal the segment. The channel 240 and resilient sealing member 242 extend circumferentially around approximately 180 degrees of the deflector portion 236 with respect to a central axis of the defector portion 236 to provide a 180-deg. radial spray pattern between the ends thereof. The deflector portion 236 can include one or more projecting mem bers 256 extending from the deflector flange 252. The deflector portion 236 can also include a web portion 264 and one or more vanes 290 extending from the web portion 264. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, five projecting members 256 and five vanes 290 are shown. Of course, number and spacing of the projecting members 256 and/or vanes 290 are not limiting each can be more or less than that shown in the illustrated embodiments. Those skilled in the art will understand that the functions and configurations of projecting members 256, web portion 264, and vanes 290 are similar to the functions and configurations of projecting members 56, web portion 64, and vanes 90 discussed above with respect to nozzle 28. Accordingly, for brevity, a detailed description of projecting members 256, web portion 264, and vanes 290 is omitted.

[0068] Exemplary embodiments of the fire protection nozzle 28 discussed above can be used to protect an aircraft deck. For example, FIG. 8A illustrates an embodiment of the present disclosure in which a fire suppression system protects an aircraft deck area that is part of a helipad. The helipad 110 can be protected by a fire suppression system 100 that can include a water storage tank 108 (or another source of water) and a pump 107 for transferring the water to one or more fire suppression nozzle assembly or assemblies 10. Preferably, the deck area of the helipad 110 includes one or more trenches for installation of the fire suppression nozzles assemblies 10. The fire suppression system 100 can also include a concentrate storage tank 102 for storing a fire suppressing foam concentrate such as, for example, a FF foam concentrate. The concentrate storage tank 102 can be, for example, a bladder-type tank such that pressure on the bladder from a n external source will force the foam concentrate out the discharge of the tank. Of course, other types of discharge tanks can also be used. An inline proportioning device 106 can be disposed in the discharge line of the pump 107 between the pump 107 and the fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10. The proportioning device 106 receives the fire suppression concentrate from the concentrate storage tank 102 and introduces a controlled flow of the foam concentrate into the water flow from the pump 107. In some embodiments, a concentrate control valve 104 can be disposed in the line between the concentrate storage tank 102 and the proportioning device 106 to regulate the concentrate going to the proportioning device 106.

[0069] When fire suppression system 100 is activated (e.g., due to a fire on the deck area 120, an oil or fuel leak on the deck area 120, or some other reason), the pump 107 is turned on to transfer water to, for example, the fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10, which includes nozzle 28 as discussed above. A portion of the water from the pump 107 can be diverted to the concentrate storage tank 102 to pressurize the tank and force the foam concentrate into the piping network. Of course, other methods such as, for example, a pump for the concentrate, a pressured concentrate storage tank, and/or another method to transfer the concentrate to the proportioning device 106 can be used. The control valve 104 can help regulate the concentrate flow from the concentrate storage tank 102. In some embodiments, the pressure from the discharge of the pump 107 can be used to provide proportional control of the control valve 104. For example, as seen in FIG. 8A, the control valve 104 can be set up such that the foam concentrate flow is a function of the discharge pressure from pump 107.

[0070] The fire system piping transfers the fire suppressing fluid, which can be a solution of foam concentrate and water, from the proportioning device 106 to the fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10 installed in, for example, trenches 14 on the helipad 110. The fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10 discharge the fire suppression fluid in a predetermined spray pattern to cover all or part of the deck area 120. The predetermined spray pattern can be a radial spray pattern in a range that is greater than 0 deg. and up to 360 deg. For example, the radial spray pattern can be a 90-deg. spray pattern, 180-deg. spray pattern, 360-deg. spray pattern, or some other radial spray pattern value. In some embodiments, the fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 has a 360-deg. spray pattern extending outward in a generally laterally direction from the fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 to cover a fire suppression target area that (see dotted line in FIG. 8A). An outer radius of the fire suppression area can correspond to, depending on the K-factor and the inlet pressure, a radius in a range of 5 feet to 30 feet, more preferably, in a range of 10 to 25, and even more preferably, about 25 feet. In some embodiments, the fire suppression fluid from the nozzle hits the deck prior to the outer radius of the coverage area, but then spreads to the outer radius of the coverage area. For example, if the coverage area corresponds to a radius of 25 feet, the fire suppression fluid from the nozzle could hit the deck at an outer radius in a range of 12 feet to 14 feet and then spread along the deck to cover the area corresponding to a radius of 25 feet. Preferably, a trajectory of the fire suppression solution has a low discharge angle with respect to the surface of the deck (e.g., less than 45-deg. angle). Because the spray pattern in a generally lateral direction, exemplary embodiments of the fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 can be used to protect decks such as, for example, helipad platforms, where the fire suppression fluid is generally sprayed under the aircraft (e.g., helicopters). For example, in some embodiments, the maximum height h of the spray can be in a range of about 12 inches to 18 inches and, more preferably, less than 12 inches.

[0071] In an exemplary embodiment, for example, as seen in FIG. 8B, the helipad 110 includes an outer boundary 115 that defines the deck area 120 for use by one or more helicopters as a landing and/or storage area. In some embodiments, the deck area 120 can be constructed of impervious material capable of withstanding the load of the helicopters landing on the helipad 100. For example, the deck area of the helipad 100 can be made of concrete, a metal plates (e.g., aluminum, stainless steel, or another metal or alloy), or another type of impervious material capable of withstanding the load of the helicopter. As used herein, "impervious material" means material that resists a rapid absorption and/or drainage of water and/or foam solution through the material but can include material that absorbs some water and/or foam solution. The surface of the deck area 120 is generally flat to minimize the pooling of any fuel and/or oil that may leak on to the surface. The deck area 120 can include one or more drainage points and/or areas on, for example, the perimeter of the deck area to drain liquids such as water, oil, and/or fuel. Preferably, trenches 14 can be installed along the premier of the boundary 115. In some embodiments, the deck area 120 can be gently sloped toward the drainage points and/or areas to facilitate the draining of any liquid on the surface of the deck area 120.

[0072] As seen in FIG. 8B, the spray-type fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10 can be disposed on a perimeter of the deck 120 in trenches 14 and can be configured to cover the deck 120 with a fire suppression fluid such as, for example, water, a fire suppression agent, or another fire suppression fluid, when the fire suppression system is activated. For example, 90-degree type fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10 can be used in the corners of the deck 120 and 180-degree type nozzles assemblies can be used on the sides of the deck 120. Preferably, the fire suppression fluid is a fire suppression agent such as, for example, a FF foam solution. I n some embodiments, the fire suppression nozzle assembly 10 discharges the fire suppression fluid in a 360-deg. pattern to cover an area of the helipad deck that is to be protected.

[0073] In another embodiment, the spray-type fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10 can be installed in trenches of an aircraft hangar 900 (or another vehicle loading and/or storage area). For example, as seen in FIG. 9, spray-type fire suppression nozzle assemblies 10 can be installed in trenches 14 throughout the hangar 900. Preferably, the nozzle assemblies 10 can be configured to discharge the fire suppression fluid in a 360-deg. pattern to cover the floor area of the hangar. Of course, depending on the shape, size, installation, and/or other criteria concerning the deck area to be protected, those skilled in the art understand that any combination of nozzle assemblies 10 (e.g., 90-deg. nozzles, 180-deg. nozzles, 360-deg. nozzles, and/or other nozzle configurations) can be installed to protect the deck area of an aircraft landing and/or storage area.

[0074] Numerous specific details in the exemplary embodiments are set forth such as examples of specific components, devices, and methods, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present disclosure. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that specific details need not be employed, that example embodiments may be embodied in many different forms and that neither should be construed to limit the scope of the disclosure. In some example embodiments, well-known processes, well-known device structures, and well-known technologies are not described in detail.

[0075] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular example embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting. As used herein, the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" may be intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. The terms "comprises," "comprising," "including," and "having," are inclusive and therefore specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof. The method steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order of performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed.

[0076] When an element or layer is referred to as being "on," "engaged to," "connected to," or "coupled to" another element or layer, it may be directly on, engaged, connected or coupled to the other element or layer, or intervening elements or layers may be present. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being "directly on," "directly engaged to," "directly connected to," or "directly coupled to" another element or layer, there may be no intervening elements or layers present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., "between" versus "directly between," "adjacent" versus "directly adjacent," etc.). As used herein, the term "and/or" includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

[0077] Although the terms first, second, third, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections, these elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections should not be limited by these terms. These terms may be only used to distinguish one element, component, region, layer or section from another region, layer or section. Terms such as "first," "second," and other numerical terms when used herein do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context. Thus, a first element, component, region, layer or section discussed below could be termed a second element, component, region, layer or section without departing from the teachings of the example embodiments.

[0078] Spatially relative terms, such as "inner," "outer," " beneath," "below," "lower," "above," "upper," and the like, may be used herein for ease of description to describe one element or feature's relationship to another element(s) or feature(s) as illustrated in the figures. Spatially relative terms may be intended to encompass different orientations of the device in use or operation in addition to the orientation depicted in the figures. For example, if the device in the figures is turned over, elements described as "below" or "beneath" other elements or features would then be oriented "above" the other elements or features. Thus, the example term "below" can encompass both an orientation of above and below. The device may be otherwise oriented (rotated 90 degrees or at other orientations) and the spatially relative descriptors used herein interpreted accordingly.

[0079] As used herein, including in the claims, "or" as used in a list of items (for example, a list of items prefaced by a phrase such as "at least one of" or "one or more of") indicates an inclusive list such that, for example, a list of at least one of A, B, or C means A or B or C or AB or AC or BC or ABC (i.e., A and B and C). As used herein, including in the claims, "and" as used in a list of items (for example, a list of items prefaced by a phrase such as "at least one of" or "one or more of") indicates an inclusive list such that, for example, a list of at least one of A, B, and C means A or B or C or AB or AC or BC or ABC (i.e., A and B and C). Also, as used herein, the phrase "based on" shall not be construed as a reference to a closed set of conditions. For example, an exemplary step that is described as "based on condition A" may be based on both a condition A and a condition B without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. In other words, as used herein, the phrase "based on" shall be construed in the same manner as the phrase "based at least in part on."

[0080] The foregoing description of the embodiments has been provided for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure. Individual elements or features of a particular embodiment are generally not limited to that particular embodiment, but, where applicable, are interchangeable and can be used in a selected embodiment, even if not specifically shown or described. The same may also be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the disclosure, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the disclosure.