Sprinkler Corrosion and Fire Safety Issues in Historic Buildings


Ageing firefighting installations can cause severe reliability problems in historic buildings.

An interesting article  (Corrosion Process Inside Steel Fire Sprinkler Piping, by Bruce W. Christ, Ph.D) published on the Fire Protection Engineering website, based on a review of the engineering and scientific literature pertaining to biological and nonbiological metal corrosion processes.

External part of an old fire sprinkler system (Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash)

This article serves as a reference for sprinkler contractors, facilities managers, and their technical advisors when faced with issues related to iron-water corrosion within pressurized fire protection systems made of low-carbon steel with water content.

The repercussions encompass the emergence of pinhole leaks and the accumulation of insoluble corrosion residues on the interior pipe wall, leading to increased pipe friction losses.

The discussion includes references to relevant sections of the National Fire Codes/NFPA 13, covering topics such as pipe materials, protection against corrosion, and managing pipe friction losses.

Additionally, the article explores electrochemical processes associated with metal-water corrosion within pressurized systems and addresses microbiologically influenced corrosion. It also proposes corrosion control measures derived from the underlying electrochemical science governing both metal-water corrosion and microbiologically influenced corrosion.

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