Media Contact: Fred Strohl
Audio spot: ORNL-developed smart smoke alarm enhances fire detection
Testing reveals the new smart smoke alarm technology can more quickly detect fire dangers.
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 18, 2013 – A new smoke alarm technology developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory can more accurately detect potential fire dangers.
“Existing fire alarms have a threshold mechanism that when the smoke gets above a certain level, then an alarm sounds,” said researcher Bruce Warmack of ORNL’s Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. “The problem is burnt toast, baked pizza, boiled spaghetti will also set off these alarms. Sometimes it can’t tell the difference between a real emergency situation and an ordinary nuisance.”
Testing reveals the new smart smoke alarm technology can more quickly detect fire dangers as compared to conventional alarms.
“It uses an advanced mathematical technique of discriminative analysis that we use in other advanced detectors that we have developed here at ORNL,” Warmack said. “We have found in tests that some fires can be sensed much faster than in conventional smoke alarms. In some cases, we’ve seen this occur as much as 20 or 30 minutes sooner.”
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.