|Publication number||US3831681 A|
|Publication date||Aug 27, 1974|
|Filing date||Jul 23, 1973|
|Priority date||Jul 23, 1973|
|Publication number||US 3831681 A, US 3831681A, US-A-3831681, US3831681 A, US3831681A|
|Original Assignee||Factory Mutual Res Corp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (13), Classifications (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Livingston [111 3,831,681 Aug. 27, 1974 FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEM UTILIZING MODULAR COMPONENTS  Inventor: William L. Livingston, Sharon,
 Assignee: Factory Mutual Research Corporation, Norwood, Mass.
 Filed: July 23, 1973  Appl. No.: 381,764
 US. Cl 1.69/16, 239/207, 239/209,
285/197  lint. Cl. A62c 37/02  Field of Search 239/207-209,
239/542, 547; 169/1 R, l A, 1 B, 2 R, 5, l6, 17; 285/156, 197; 239/124, 127
l/l968 St. Clair et al 285/197 X ll/1972 Livingston 169/5 Primary Examiner-Lloyd L. King Assistant Examiner-Andres Kashnikow Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Lane, Aitken, Dunner & Ziems [5 7] ABSTRACT A fire protection system in which a plurality of spaced parallel branch conduits extend perpendicular to a plurality of spaced parallel cross-main conduits and are connected thereto to form a network adapted to be supported in an elevated position in a substantially horizontal plane in an area to be protected by fire. Each cross-main conduit is formed by a relatively long tubular portion and a plurality of relatively short tubular portions integral with the long tubular portion and extending perpendicular thereto. The relatively short tubular portions register with the long tubular portion and are spaced apart along the length thereof for the purpose of connecting to the branch conduits, and a plurality of discharge heads are connected to the branch conduits for discharging extinguishant.
4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a fire protection system and, more particularly, to a fire protection system formed by a plurality of modular components.
In applicants US. patent application Ser. No. 375,946, filed July 2, 1973, and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention, a fire protection system is disclosed having a continuous loop piping network formed by a plurality of spaced parallel crossmain conduits and a plurality of spaced parallel branch conduits connected between the cross-main conduits. In this manner, upon a head or heads on a particular branch conduit opening, fluid is supplied to the heads by a substantial portion of the entire network including both of the cross-main conduits. Among other advantages, this arrangement enables a relatively low flow rate to occur through each cross-main conduit and each branch conduit that does not have an open head, resulting in a relatively low friction loss. Therefore, in addition to enabling relatively low capacity conduits to be utilized, the system permits branch conduits of the same size to be incorporated in a vast majority of installations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide a fixed fire protection system which incorporates all the advantages of the above-mentioned system and, in addition, is formed by a minimum of standard components and can be installed in a relatively simple and easy manner.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a discharge head for use in the above system.
Towards the fulfillment of this and other objects, the system of the present invention comprises at least two spaced, parallel cross-main conduit members, each being formed by a relatively long tubular portion and a plurality of relatively short tubular portions integral with said long tubular portion and extending perpendicular thereto, said relative short tubular portions registering with said long tubular portions and being spaced apart along the length thereof, a plurality of spaced parallel branch conduits extending perpendicular to said cross main conduit members, each branch conduit being connected to two relative short tubular portions of two adjacent cross-main conduit members to form a network adapted to be supported in an elevated position in a substantially horizontal plane in an area to be protected by fire, said branch conduits each having a plurality of spaced openings formed through the wall thereof, supply means for supplying a source of extinguishant to said network, and a plurality of discharge heads connected to said branch conduits and each having an inlet registering with a corresponding opening in said branch conduits, said heads being normally closed and being adapted to selectively open and discharge said extinguishant.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the fire protection system of the present invention shown installed in a building;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary, partial crosssectional, partial elevational view of a portion of the conduit system used in the system of the present invenmm;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1, and depicting the discharge head of the present invention; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 4- 1 of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a building 10 is shown in phantom lines which is equipped with a fire protection system embodying features of the present invention. A buried feed main 12 is disposed adjacent the building and is connected to a source of extinguishant, such as a municipal water supply line 14, for delivering extinguishant, such as water, thereto.
The system of the present invention comprises a pair of spaced, parallel cross-main conduits 16 extending longitudinally with respect to the area to be protected in the building, with each cross-main conduit having a plurality of spaced, relatively short, tubular portions 18 extending perpendicularly thereto. The tubular portions 18 register with their respective cross-main conduits 16, to one side thereof and are spaced apart an equal distance, with each tubular portion of one crossmain conduit being aligned with a corresponding tubular portion 18 of the other cross-main conduit. A plurality of spaced parallel branch conduits 20 extend perpendicular to the cross-main conduits l6 and register with two aligned tubular portions 18 of the respective conduits 16 to form a continuous network of conduits. A riser 22connects the feed main 12 to one cross-main conduit 16 to supply water to the: network formed by the conduits l6 and 20.
The details of a cross'main conduit 16 and its connection with a branch conduit 20 are shown in FIG. 2. In particular, the tubular portion 18 is formed integral with the cross-main conduit 16 and has a diameter slightly smaller than that of the cross-main conduit. The branch conduits 20 are of a diameter identical to that of the tubular portions 18 and may be attached thereto by welding as shown or by any other conventional mechanical connection.
It can be appreciated that, as a result of the forego ing, the entire network is formed by conduits of only two sizes. This, of course, eliminates the need for tee fittings and the attendant cutting and sizing normally associated with these type of installations.
A plurality of spaced discharge heads, preferably in the form of direct discharge nozzles 24, are connected in a spaced relation, along each branch conduit 20, with one nozzle being shown in detail in FIG. 3. In particular, each nozzle 24 comprises; a cylindrical body member 26 having a clamp assembly 28 formed on its upper end as viewed in FIG. 3, and a lower end portion 30 which defines an outlet orifice of a reduced crosssection. The body member 26 has an inlet 32 which registers with an identically sized opening formed through the wall of the branch conduit 20, with a lip 34 being formed on the inner wall of the body member 26 which extends through the latter opening and into the conduit 20.
A pair of spiral vanes 35 and 36 are fixed within the body member 26 for imparting a swirling motion to water flowing downwardly therethrough in a conventional manner. The vanes 35 and 36 support a hollow central hub 40 which, in turn, slidably supports a rod 42 having a plug 44 fixed on its lower end. A pair of sealing rings 46 and 48 are positioned about the periphery of the plug 44 and sealingly engage the inner wall of the body member 26 near the lower end portion 30,
to prevent the flow of water from the outlet.
The rod 42 is latched in the position shown in FIG. 3 by a rod 52 which extends slidably through an externally threaded boss 54 projecting from the side of the body member 26. One end of the rod 52 extends through the vane 35 and the wall of the central hub 40 into a slot 56 in the rod 42 to latch it in the position shown in FIG. 3.
A sleeve 58 is threaded on the end of the boss 54. The outer end of the sleeve is closed off by an externally threaded stub shaft 60 having a ring or yoke 62 thereon. The rod 52 slidably extends through the stub shaft 60 and the other end of the rod engages a conventional thermal fuse element 64 positioned within the ring 62. The fuse element 64 prevents movement of the rod 52 to the right as viewed in FIG. 3, until the heat of a fire fuses the element 64 so that it collapses. Since the element 64 is the standard type commonly used in conventional sprinkler heads now on the market, it will not be described in greater detail.
The rod 52 has a piston head 66 mounted thereon which slidably engages the internal wall of the sleeve 58. A spring 68 is positioned between the boss 54 and the piston head 66 to bias the piston head and the rod 52 to the right with a predetermined biasing force.
With this arrangement, the piston head 66 and the rod 52 will be driven to the right under the action of the spring 68 upon the fuse element 64 collapsing in response to the heat of the fire, and thus unlatch the rod 42.
A thread 70 is provided which has one end fastened to the upper end of the rod 42. The thread 70 extends through an opening 72 formed in the upper vane 35, and the other end of the thread is fastened to the top surface of thelatter vane. The above-mentioned fastening may be achieved in any conventional manner, such as by the use of epoxy or the like. The thread is preferably of a nylon material and its length is selected so that it will have a slight slack therein in the deactivated position of FIG. 3 to avoid any unwanted tension being placed thereon due to slight dimensional variations of the other components of the nozzle.
It is understood that the nozzle 24 can take other forms within the scope of the invention, such as a conventional sprinkler head in which a deflector plate is disposed adjacent the outlet for breaking up the spray, or such as that disclosed/ in application Ser. No. 346,454, filed by Karol Zenker on Mar. 30, 1973, or that disclosed in application Ser. No. 366,740, filed by the present inventor on June 4, 1973. Both of these applications are assigned to the assignee of the present invention and their respective disclosures are hereby incorporated by reference.
Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the clamp assembly 28 consists of a lower clamp portion 76 integral with the body member 26 and an upper clamp portion 78 pivotally connected to the lower clamp portion about a hinge assembly 80. A gasket 81 extends between an outer surface portion of the conduit 20 and the inner wall of the clamp portion 76 to seal against leakage. A
pair of lips 82 and 84 protrude from the clamp portions 76 and 78, respectively, and are adapted to be connected together by means of a plurality of bolts 86 extending through aligned openings in the lips and secured by nuts 88. In this manner, the lower clamp portion 76 provides support for the relatively thin-walled branch conduit 20, while the upper portion permits the nozzle 24 to be connected to, and disconnected from, the branch conduit with relative ease.
In operation, the nozzles 24 are installed in a space relation along the branch conduit 20 in the conduit shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, Le, with the rod 42 latched in the body member 26 by the rod 52, and with the thread fixed to the rod 42 and the vane 35. If the fusible link 64 of any nozzle 24 is thermally actuated in response to an elevated temperature in its vicinity, the tension of the spring 68 causes the rod 52 to release the rod 42 from its latched condition. The water pressure in the body member 26 acting on the inner end face of the plug 44 forces it downwardly as viewed in FIG. 3, and causes a tension to be applied to the thread 70 in direct proportion to the amount of pressure. The thread 70 can be designed to fail, or break, in response to a precise predetermined pressure, which will release the rod 42 and therefore the plug 44, and permit them to be discharged outwardly from the body member 26. If the water pressure is not sufficient to break the thread '70, the plug 44 will not be expelled from the body member 26 despite release of the fuse element 64,
It can be appreciated that, upon one or more nozzles 24 being actuated by virtue of their fuses 64 melting and their threads 70 breaking to permit the discharge of water therefrom, water is supplied to the open nozzle through its corresponding branch conduit 20 via both cross-main conduits 16, which, in turn, are supplied with water by the remaining branch conduits 20. As a result, a relatively low flow rate occurs through each cross-main conduit 16 and each branch conduit 20 that does not have an open nozzle 24 thereon, resulting in relatively low friction losses. Also, since the pressure drop will be relatively low from branch conduit to branch conduit, yet will be relatively high down each individual branch conduit that has one or more nozzles that open, the above-mentioned pressure floor will insure that no more than a predetermined, relatively low, number of nozzles will be opened on a given branch conduit. This, of course, enables relatively low capacity, or low diameter, branch conduits and cross-main conduits to be utilized, when compared to a conventional system having a single, centrally located crossmain conduit, as discussed above.
According to another feature of the presenfin-vention, the branch conduits 20 can be formed of stainless steel or schedule 10 carbon steel which, in addition to having a relatively low coefficient of friction, are light, in weight and thus further facilitate installation.
As an example of the sizes of the system of the present invention, the branch conduits 20 can extend for 600 feet between the cross-mains and can consist of 15 units of 40 feet per unit which are welded, or otherwise mechanically connected, at their ends. The cross-main conduits 16 can be approximately 250 feet in lengthwith both the cross-main conduits and the branch conduits 20 having relatively small diameters such as 3% inches and 2 /2 inches, respectively, and being formed of relatively thin walls such as .05 inches and .0375 inches in thickness, respectively.
It can be appreciated that the system of the present invention is much easier to install when compared to systems of the prior art. For example, the relatively small diameters and thin walls of the conduits l6 and enables them to be easily transported to, and handled at, the job site. Also, the conduits 16 and 20 can be assembled in the job site without the need for tee shape fittings, etc. Further, the holes in the wall of the branch conduits 20 for receiving the discharge nozzles 24 may be cut at the job site by conventional tubing cutters, etc., and the nozzles installed in a relatively short period of time by means of the clamp assemblies 28. Also, the system of the present invention does not have to be pre-engineered which, of course, reduces the design and engineering costs.
It is understood that several variations may be made in the foregoing without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, several cross-main conduits may be provided in a spaced relationship, with the relatively short tubular portions thereof extending from both sides thereof for connection to the branch conduits.
Of course, other variations of the specific construction and arrangement of the fire protection system disclosed above can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A fire protection system comprising at least two spaced, parallel crossmain conduits, a plurality of relatively short tubular connector members integral with said cross-main conduits and extending perpendicular thereto, said connector members registering with said cross-main conduits and being spaced apart along the length thereof, a plurality of spaced parallel branch conduits extending between adjacent cross-main conduits and perpendicular thereto, each of said branch conduits being connected to two connector members of the adjacent cross-main conduits to form a co-planar network of conduits adapted to be supported in an elevated position in a substantially horizontal plane in an area to be protected by fire, a riser conduit connected to one of said conduits for supplying extinguishant to said conduits, and a plurality of discharge heads connected to said branch conduits and each having an inlet registering with a corresponding opening in said branch conduits, said heads being normally closed and being adapted to selectively open, said branch conduits and said cross-main conduits extending substantially horizontal so that extinguishant is supplied to an open head by both adjacent cross-main conduits and the branch conduit to which the head is connected.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein said branch conduits are of the same diameter.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein said cross-main conduits are of the same diameter.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein said heads engage their respective branch conduits and include clamping means for supporting said heads relative to said conduits.
v UNITED STATES PATENT ()EFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION I August 27, 1974 Patent No. 3 r v Dated Inventor(g) WILLIAM L. LIVINGSTON It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 4, line 11, change "conduit" (second occurrence) to read condition Signed and sealed this 3rd day of December 1974.
McCOY M. GIBSON JR. C. MARSHALL'DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents USCIOMM'DC 60376-P09 Q U.S. GOVERNMENT PR NTING OFFICE "(I 0-3l-384.
F ORM PC4050 (10-69)
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|U.S. Classification||169/16, 239/209, 285/197, 239/207|