At 3M, we’re always asking questions about the world around us — seeking better ways to solve new problems and make life better for all. Let us help answer some of your questions about 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid.
Novec 1230 fluid is a sustainable fire extinguishing clean agent that helps protect continuity of operations and high value assets. It is a waterless fire suppressant designed to replace high global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Novec 1230 fluid is a clean agent included in the ISO 15004 standard. It is non-conductive and leaves no residue, putting out fires while preserving both assets and operations. Novec 1230 fluid has been sold into clean agent fire suppression for 15 years and into more than 100 countries. Its proven quality and reliability have provided specifiers and end-users with a smart solution for their clean agent needs.
Download the 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid brochure (PDF, 1.4 mb), the technical data sheet (PDF, 510 kb), or visit the Fire Suppression - Novec 1230 webpage to learn more.
Novec 1230 fluid is designed to help protect continuity of operations because, unlike water, it does not damage electronic equipment and the critical data stored on it – to keep your business up and running. It also protects valuable assets including everything from paper archives and historical documents to priceless works of art and antiquities. To learn more about specific industry applications, download one of our brochures.:
No. 3M manufactures Novec 1230 fluid but the actual sales and installations of the systems are through our OEM partners and their global distribution networks. Novec 1230 fluid is a recognised component of a listed or approved system, e.g. VdS, LPCB, CNPP and Factory Mutual.
3M produces Novec 1230 fluid and sells it to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our OEM partners have third party approvals (such as VdS, LPCB, CNPP and/or FM) for the fire extinguishing system, including both hardware and software. Systems can be customised to match the needs of the area being protected.
When designing a new system, it’s important that you specify an agent that’s clean, sustainable and reliable. In fire suppression, there are no ‘equals’. To ensure a clean solution, specifications should exclude dry chemicals and water mist. To ensure sustainability, specifications should exclude HFCs. To ensure quality, reliability and safety, specify 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid and not generic descriptions of this agent.
Download this template (DOC, 85 kb) for help in specifying 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid in a total flooding fire protection system.
Actually, it is both. Novec 1230 fluid is produced and stored as a liquid. However, upon discharge from a properly designed spray nozzle, it floods the protected space as a gas. This fire suppressant evaporates 50 times faster than water, so the energy of the discharge is more than sufficient to convert it to a gas. The gas extinguishes the fire and prevents re-ignition of the potential fire incident. (Note: the term “fluid” can be used to describe either a liquid or a gas.)
Damage to hard disc drives has not been observed as a result of a discharge of a system using Novec 1230 fluid.
For inert gas systems, noise at specific decibel levels and frequencies has been tied to HDD damage. Volume, tone and duration of the noise are all important factors. The duration of discharge for inert gas systems is up to 12 times longer than halocarbon systems, such as those that use Novec 1230 fluid. Efforts are now underway to design inert gas systems to minimise noise at the nozzle.
Owners of inert gas systems have become keenly aware of the hidden costs of installing, housing, maintaining and recharging inert gas systems.
On a volume basis, inert gas systems must deliver more agent into a room to displace as much as 40% of the air in a protected space — compared to approximately 5% with a system using 3M Novec 1230 fluid. This translates into many more cylinders of inert gas required to protect a given space. In addition, the cylinders store gas at much higher pressures.
Both the greater number of cylinders and the high pressures at which these systems operate represent additional expenses, or “extra” installation costs that may not be readily apparent in the initial bid. For example, the added construction costs associated with over-pressurisation may not be included in the cost of system installation, but are necessary expenses associated with installation. In addition, the larger amount of space required for the higher quantity of inert gas cylinders translates to higher real estate or space costs.
The high pressure at which inert gas systems operate also requires more frequent and rigorous maintenance to ensure that it can withstand the high discharge pressures. At regular intervals, maintenance teams validate system pressure and the integrity of the hoses, pressure vents, and cylinders.
Yes. 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid currently provides the largest margin of safety of any clean agent. Reviewing the permitted limit for humans and the design concentration gives the best guide to an agent’s safety margin. The NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) is the internationally established limit for the various extinguishing agents. The design concentration is the amount of extinguishing agent required to extinguish the fire safely. The margin of safety for humans arises from the relative difference between the design concentration and the specific NOAEL.
As the chart shows, Novec 1230 fluid offers, by far, the highest human safety margin. It also remains safe in case of future alterations to the free volume of the space (e.g. if integration of additional inventory/equipment reduces air volume and increases design concentration).
As of October 2016, HFCs including HFC-227ea and HFC-125 are following the path of halon, in being scheduled for global production phasedown under the Montreal Protocol. Although these HFCs are clean agents that do not deplete the ozone layer, they are potent greenhouse gases – more than 3000 times more potent than CO2.
The European Union’s HFC phasedown started in 2015 under the F-Gas regulation. In 2016 at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda, nearly 200 nations approved the timetable to phasedown high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs. Known as the Kigali Amendment, this agreement clearly defines the international phasedown paths for HFC production and use.
Because fire suppression systems are often intended to last for 30 years or more, HFCs have become unsustainable clean agents. Novec 1230 fluid provides the fire protection industry with an agent that will stand the test of time based on its safety, performance and environmental properties. Novec 1230 fluid has no ozone depletion potential and a climate impact less than CO2 and it’s not targeted for phasedown or phase-out.
The 3M™ Blue Sky℠ Warranty states, for a period of 20 years after original installation and subject to noted requirements, that 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, installed in an approved fire suppression system, will not be restricted for use in fire protection due to its Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) or Global Warming Potential (GWP) and is not targeted for phasedown by the Montreal Protocol, nor subject to the European F-Gas Regulation targeting the phasedown of production and import of HFCs into Europe.
Read the 3M Blue Sky Warranty (PDF, 223 kb) complete terms and conditions.
The halon family of fire protection products was widely utilised as the first of the new clean agents. These products were popular because they would extinguish a fire without damaging the contents of the space being protected, such as the early computer server rooms. However, in 1987, halons were regulated by the Montreal Protocol because they contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer. In response to the mandates of the Montreal Protocol, manufacturers developed replacement products for halons known as HFCs, the second generation of clean agents. While none of these products contributed to ozone depletion, they do have other environmental concerns such as high global warming potential (GWP) and the resulting regulatory consequences addressed above.
Novec 1230 fluid is a third generation clean agent because it was developed to provide high performance and a large margin of safety without harming the environment.
Water mist is still water. It is wet and messy, electrically conductive and can require costly clean-up. It can destroy the critical assets that keep businesses running. Because water mist is not a clean agent, it is not covered by NFPA 2001. Instead, it is covered by another standard: NFPA 750 which notes, “The standard does not provide definitive fire performance criteria, nor does it offer specific guidance on how to design a system to control, suppress, or extinguish a fire.”
FM Global’s Data Sheet 5-32 states: “When it is essential to reduce equipment damage from an incipient fire to minimum possible levels, or to facilitate the return to service, provide an FM Approved clean agent fire extinguishing system with detection to protect the data equipment within the data processing equipment room. This is to supplement the automatic sprinkler or water mist system protecting the facility or raised floor.”
Fire suppression systems using Novec 1230 fluid help protect what matters to your business. Our approved system manufacturers can create total flooding, specialty and streaming systems tailored to your project’s needs, from data centres to museum archives, medical centres, power generation and more.
Explore your options, or contact us with your questions about fire suppression systems, regulations or Novec 1230 fluid and our expert team will be happy to assist you.
Regulatory: For regulatory information about this product, contact your 3M representative.
Technical information: The technical information, recommendations and other statements contained in this document are based upon tests or experience that 3M believes are reliable, but the accuracy or completeness of such information is not guaranteed.
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