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The physicochemical and fire extinguishing performance of aqueous film-forming foams based on a class of short-chain fluorinated surfactants
Journal of Surfactants and Detergents  (IF1.902),  Pub Date : 2021-10-08, DOI: 10.1002/jsde.12550
Xinhua Zhu, Xuhong Jia, Yuqiang Zhang

Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) are an important for fire extinguishing, and their key ingredient is fluorinated surfactant. In recent years, traditional long-chain fluorinated surfactants have been banned by most countries because of their persistence, bio-accumulation and toxicity. Therefore, increased attention has been paid to the research and development of short-chain fluorinated surfactants. As is well known, the introduction of hydrophilic or hydrophobic groups in a surfactant affects its surface activity, and therefore, the fire extinguishing performance of AFFFs. In this work, a series of short-chain fluorosurfactant-based AFFFs with different hydrophobic chain lengths were prepared. The physicochemical performance of mixed systems (fluorinated surfactant plus sodium hexanesulfonate), including surface activity, spreading ability, foam expansion, drainage time, and the fire extinguishing and burn-back performance of AFFFs were studied. The results show that the critical micelle concentration (CMC) and the surface tension (γCMC) at the CMC of mixed systems at 25°C are lower than 7.68 mmol/L and 16.51 mN/m, respectively. For mixed systems, the average spreading rate is more than 1.09 cm/s, the foam expansion is over 7.1, and the drainage time is greater than 3.28 min. The fire extinguishing time of AFFFs on fuels is less than 51 s while the burn-back time is more than 15.18 min. The results imply a potential application prospect of the short-chain fluorinated surfactants in AFFFs.