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    Case Study: University of Edinburgh

    May 15, 2019

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    Case Study: University of Edinburgh

    SAPPHIRE® system using 3M™ Novec™ 1230 protects UK’s most powerful supercomputer at the University of Edinburgh

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    • University of Edinburgh showing their Novec 1230 Fire Suppression systems

      The University of Edinburgh hosts one of the most powerful supercomputers in the UK. The £43m Advanced Research Computing High End Resource (ARCHER) system is capable of 2.5 million billion calculations per second and can carry out complex computations, providing high performance support for multiple research and industry projects in the UK.

      It supports what is known as ‘big data’ and modelling and simulation applications – huge collections of information which are too large for traditional analytical methods. The system is designed to help researchers carry out complex calculations in diverse areas such as calculating the airflow around aircraft, or simulating the Earth’s climate. Its magnitude and design has enabled scientists to tackle problems on a scale that was previously thought impossible.

      This world-class supercomputer is operated by EPCC, the supercomputing centre based at the University of Edinburgh.

      A specification without compromise

      A comprehensive fire safety concept was required to ensure business continuity, personal safety and damage mitigation in the event of fire. In addition, and aligned to their status as a pioneer for sustainable buildings, the University of Edinburgh had clear stipulations that the fire protection system must be sustainable.

      The ARCHER system itself is among the greenest computer centres in the world. Automatic Protection Ltd (APL), specialists in automatic fire extinguishing systems and an authorised distributor of HYGOOD systems from Johnson Controls, was selected to supply and install a suitable fire suppression solution for the UK Research Data Facility. Due to its environmentally sustainable properties HYGOOD’s clean agent SAPPHIRE System using 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid was selected as the most suitable fire suppression system to protect the data centre room.

      SAPPHIRE systems are known for their reduced environmental impact due to the agent, Novec 1230 fluid, having zero ozone depletion potential (ODP), a global warming potential (GWP) of <1 and an atmospheric lifetime of just three to five days. Novec 1230 fluid also has the highest margin of safety amongst clean extinguishing agents, with high safety margins between its normal use concentrations and the No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL), making it ideal for use in occupied areas. Once actuated, the HYGOOD SAPPHIRE system delivers the Novec 1230 agent within 10 seconds, which works to rapidly absorb heat to the point where combustion ceases, stopping the fire from spreading. Fires that are extinguished quickly result in less damage, lower refurbishment costs and reduced downtime.


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