Tackling fire in a microgravity environment like that of space cabins is different (and with many more headaches) from doing it on Earth, but Toyohashi University of Technology has found a brilliant solution, which could find a wider outlet in the future: a fire extinguisher that sucks the flame like a vacuum cleaner.
"This device allows the immediate extinguishing of the fire without resorting to oxygen masks and without carrying out cleaning treatments of the cabin after extinguishing," concludes it study published online in the magazine Fire Technology last month.
The criticality faced by the researchers is that represented by the emissions of smoke and gas that fill a cabin when CO2 fire extinguishers come into play, those currently in use on the ISS, the International Space Station.
The researchers hope that the invention can also find use in other closed areas, such as submarines or cramped rooms, when the priority test phase in orbit will be successfully completed.
"To be fully understood, advanced technology concepts often require detailed presentations," says the professor Yuji Nakamura, research leader. "This is why we will continue to refine this device and extend its fields of use."