This cool burn study is only applicable to Enola Gaye Wire Pull™ smoke grenades
Approx Duration: 80 sec Wire Pull™; 40 sec Burst Wire Pull™
Smoke grenades are now an integral part of a players day on both paintball and airsoft fields; over the 15+ years that we have been making these products it has been proved that this product is safe in the hands of responsible users and the perfect addition to the players armoury. But what risk does it pose to the field? All fields are different; no single playing ground is the same and some carry more risks than others.
We have fields that stock our smoke grenades from the top of Norway to the South of Spain that have some of the driest woodlands in Europe. One of the most frequent questions we are asked is ‘what is the fire risk or are they cool burn?’
A Managed Risk
The usage of smoke grenades in dry areas is a managed risk; if your woodland or area is bone dry and predominantly bracken floors then you need to manage the risk more vigilantly. We have many successful fields in the driest parts of the world that use our products without problems; they manage the risk. All fields have staff and keeping your staff aware of where smoke grenades land is your first line of defence. Also by having some form of fire fighting equipment which is normally necessary even without the use of pyrotechnics on your field.
The term “cool burn” or “cold burning” usually refers to the fact that there is no external flame produced and that the temperature of the cartridge is lower than the military and marine distress smokes (which get very hot), thus reducing the risk of fire. However there is a possibility of fire with ANY smoke grenade and no smoke grenade should be used on or near easily flammable materials without an understanding the hazards and a thought out system to manage the risks.
ALL smoke grenades that produce smoke from a wire/ring pull, friction fuse or similar ignition, produce smoke from a formula that burns without the need for atmospheric oxygen. Once ignited is very difficult to stop, until all composition within is burnt. Due to this, the grenade casing does get warm and the smoke within 6” of the grenade is hot and could potentially burn.
Our smokes produce some sparks on ignition but no flame and so after the initial start-up of the grenade, our Wire Pull Smokes are considered “cool burn” or “cold burning” given the above definition. During the production of smoke, our products do produce heat but we have tried to keep this to a minimum and so our devices although they do get warm, can be held in the hand during the functioning of the device, however the heat does increase post functioning as there is a lag in the heat transfer through the device due to the insulating effect of the cardboard. We strongly recommend that anyone using Enola Gaye Smoke Grenades wears gloves.
Hazard Information and Risk Identification
The information contained in this document has been put together by Enola Gaye to assist you in assessing the risk of using Enola Gaye Wire Pull Smoke products at your venue. Whilst we have tried to ensure that the information given here is accurate, and the experiments performed are representative, no liability will be accepted by Enola Gaye where the information contained within this document has been used in place of your own risk assessment of the products as used on your site given all the conditions at the time of use.
Temperature: The body of the device reaches a maximum temperature of approximately 88 deg C, but this happens post functioning as it takes time for the heat to conduct through the tube. The maximum temperature of the device during functioning is approximately 40 deg C.
The maximum temperature measured at the nozzle/exit point of the smoke during functioning is approximately 130 deg C.
Fire Hazard Data
We chose five different materials that represent the most hazardous and likely types of ground cover to be found when using Enola Gaye Smoke Grenades. For each type of material two experiments were conducted; each being performed on pre-dried materials.
Experiment 1: A Wire Pull™ smoke grenade WP40 was functioned and placed directly on top of the dried material and left to function fully; the results were observed and noted.
Experiment 2: A Wire Pull™ smoke grenade WP40 was functioned and placed directly on top of the dried material; additional dried material was then placed on top of the device completely covering it. The device was left to function fully; the results were observed and noted.
Experiment 1: The straw visually dried out and charred slightly but did not ignite.
Experiment 2: The straw visually dried and then caught fire at approximately 1 minute through the burn time.
Pine Needles, Pine Cones and Twigs
Experiment 1: There was a small amount of blackening of the material but no sign of ignition.
Experiment 2: The pine needles were left smouldering slightly when the smoke grenade had extinguished .
Experiment 1: The leaves dried and became crispy, yellow dye deposited on the leaves and areas of blackening were observed, there was no sign of ignition.
Experiment 2: The leaves caught fire at approximately 22 seconds through the burn time.
Dried Ferns / Bracken
Experiment 1: Some purple dye from the grenade deposited on to the bracken darkening / blackening it but no sign of ignition.
Experiment 2: The Bracken caught fire at approximately 40 seconds through the burn time.
Shredded Office Paper
Experiment 1: The paper charred and went to ash but no fire was started.
Experiment 2: The results from Experiment 1 were so conclusive experiment 2 was not run as a fire seemed inevitable.
For the materials chosen in all cases apart from shredded paper, only charring or further drying of the material occurred when the Wire Pull Smoke Grenade landed on top of the material and functioned with no material on top of it. In all cases where the Wire Pull™ grenade was covered by the dried material, a fire was started.
The reason for the difference in behaviour is due to the insulation effect the materials have when they fully cover at least the nozzle/smoke outlet of the device. Covering the device allows a localised build up of the temperature to above the ignition point of the material and thus causing a fire. When the smoke grenade lands on top of the material there is less of a heat build up and thus ignition is less likely to occur which is why in the experiments we conducted no ignition was observed.
It MUST be noted that although no ignition was observed in these experiments, the results cannot be taken as totally conclusive and as a guarantee that ignition will not occur in similar conditions. All Pyrotechnic smokes produce heat and thus may cause fires.