ISSN print edition: 0366-6352
ISSN electronic edition: 1336-9075
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Selection of surfactants as main components of ecological wetting agent for effective extinguishing of forest and peat-bog fires

Joanna Rakowska, Krystyna Prochaska, Bożena Twardochleb, Monika Rojewska, Bożenna Porycka, and Anna Jaszkiewicz

Research Centre for Fire Protection — National Research Institute, ul. Nadwiślańska 213, 05-420, Józefów, Poland



Abstract: The results of research into obtaining an ecological wetting agent for wildfires are presented. First, measurements of the equilibrium and dynamic surface tension for anionic and non-ionic commercial surfactants and their binary mixtures were conducted. Next, the parameters of adsorption facilitating a quantitative description of the process in both binary systems as well as single-component solutions were estimated. In addition, the static and dynamic contact angles on model surfaces with different hydrophobicity were studied (glass, polyethylene, pressed peat). In a few mixed systems, a synergism in reducing the critical micelle concentration and/or a synergy of the ability to wetting model surfaces was identified. Next, research into the sorptivity and wettability of peat (loose and pressed) was conducted. It was found that non-ionic and anionic surfactants exhibit different abilities in respect of foaming and moistening of peat. From an analysis of the preliminary results, the surface-active components were selected to obtain a wetting agent composition. The wettability and adsorption characteristics and an evaluation of the foaming ability using solutions of the prepared compositions were tested. The effectiveness of the wetting composition thus obtained was confirmed in the laboratory and in field firefighting. The test results confirmed the better wettability and sorptivity on peat and the effectivity for combating wildfires, compared with some typical commercial products.

Keywords: wetting agent – surfactant mixtures – synergistic effects – contact angle – peat wettability – foaming properties

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-013-0511-9


Chemical Papers 68 (6) 823–833 (2014)

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