Whether you’re trying to squelch a raging apartment fire or break up a protest, it helps to have the right kind of technology at your disposal. And for that, there’s the water gun.
Developed by PyroLance, the company says its contraption can get to flames that are behind obstacles such as steel, brick or concrete. It does so by using ultra-high pressure to penetrate materials and pelt them repeatedly with water.
It’s a similar concept to the water guns and hoses that firefighters use on fire trucks and other large vehicles. The difference is that the system can be aimed and operated by one person, whereas a normal fire hose requires several people.
The water cannon’s power comes from kinetic pumps, which generate water pressure by centrifugal force, similar to how a washing machine works. When water enters the pump, it’s spun around by a rotorlike impeller that slings it outward — and then it’s pumped at high pressure out of the gun.
The device’s makers claim it can puncture a double-brick faced wall or plywood in 30 seconds, a concrete block in 35 seconds and a FedEx cargo plane in three seconds. The secret to the speed lies in the water’s high-pressure, which can produce millions of tiny droplets that continuously pelt material. This is a much faster and more effective method of breaking down barriers than simply spraying water at them, the company claims. The gun also conserves water, with only about ten percent of its output used as run-off.
A company spokesman says that the air force, navy and airports around the world are adopting the technology. He adds that the system has been used during the recent Boston Marathon bombing to prevent flames from spreading. Several commercial businesses are also interested in the technology, including Houston Airport, Rolls Royce Engine Factory and AMT Canada Train Tunnel.
Other companies have been working on ways to use the water gun for other purposes, such as sending a jet of electrified water at rioters to stun them and deter violence. This would require the addition of an electrical conductor, however, since normal water does not transmit electricity well.
Water cannons have been around for a long time, as they were originally devised for use on fire boats to extinguish fires on ships and buildings in the water. They were later used in riot control and for vehicle washing, but public perception of the weapons has waned with reports that police officers armed with water cannons have frequently knocked demonstrators to the ground and ripped their clothes. Nevertheless, the devices continue to be useful tools in combating large fires, and are now being used by police forces and other emergency services to address riots and crowds. Water cannons are sometimes used at sporting events and rallies to quell unruly crowds and protect property. They are also popular with water-sports enthusiasts as toys and for cleaning cars and other surfaces. Fire Fighting water gun