UMD Startup Helps Design Highly Efficient Fire Sprinkler Systems

UMD Startup Helps Design Highly Efficient Fire Sprinkler Systems

Bookmark and Share

Fire sprinkler systems have become commonplace in commercial structures, and in some states, including Maryland, they are legally required in new residential construction of one- and two-family homes. But the design of these systems can be cumbersome and expensive. That’s where Fire Protection Engineering researchers at the University of Maryland come in.

Custom Spray Solutions (CSS), a startup comprised of UMD faculty and alumni, is working to solve problems and help advance the performance-based design of fire sprinkler systems.

Using the company’s revolutionary device—the 4S or Spatially-resolved Spray Scanning System—the team can calculate the efficiency with which fire sprinkler systems can saturate a surface.  

4S generates a 3-D map of spray velocity, density, and drop size, leaving “nothing to guess,” according to Department of Fire Protection Engineering Associate Professor André W. Marshall, who is also Principal of CSS.

Marshall says that 4S gives unprecedented spray insight, and when coupled with CSS-designed software SprayVIZ, it can generate a real-time analysis of a sprinkler head’s wetting performance.

SprayVIZ generates valuable information that allows users to compare similar products, nozzle placement, and other design parameters.

Using SprayVIZ, it is also possible to evaluate and redesign systems that are non-standard resulting in better efficiency and performance.

Another product developed by CSS is fire suppression spray nozzles developed in partnership with the international Fog Inc.

Unlike traditional sprinkler heads, which feature a notched disc to disperse spray, CSS has designed a cylindrical nozzle with a rotating shaft of water for more efficient and uniform water delivery.

As part of their ongoing work, CSS engineers are also leveraging their measurement capability and software to help other manufacturers develop and design sprinklers.

“We hope that our measurement capability will facilitate development and analysis of our technology, helping to establish our leadership in the field and perhaps pave the way for acceptance of forthcoming product innovations by CSS,” says Marshall.

Marshall said that CSS was the outcome of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program in 2012. He founded it with his colleagues Noah Ryder, UMD Fire Protection Engineering graduate who is also a principal at CSS and Stephen Jordan, the startup’s entrepreneurial lead who is presently enrolled in the same graduate program.

“Once we disclosed the invention, OTC was very helpful in providing support to pursue patents and options for exclusive licensing of the technology,” said Marshall, who is also Director of the Fire Testing and Evaluation Center (FireTEC).

According to Marshall, the original idea was to commercialize the spray measurement technology by directly selling the spray measurement device, but later realized that not only was the device expensive, the market was also limited.

“We also thought that we may be able to leverage our software capabilities to facilitate fire suppression system design.  The market and value proposition for this approach is also small,” says Marshall.

Talking about future plans, Marshall says, “We hope that CSS will have successfully marketed innovated fire suppression products in 5 years while disrupting the way that these products are developed, designed, evaluated, and accepted [in the standards and approval community].”

To learn more about Custom Spray Solutions, visit:

December 14, 2015

Prev   Next

Current Headlines

University of Maryland Research Enterprise Ranked Among Top 10 Publics in NSF Higher Education R&D Survey

Groth Wins NSF CAREER Award

UMD Research Sheds Light on Holiday Travel and COVID

Regional Quantum Research Body Adds Industry, Government, Higher Ed Partners

UMD Driskell Center and iSchool Launch New Crowdsourcing Project to Preserve the Work of African American Art Pioneer

Researcher Aims to Teach Teachers About African American Language, and Liberate Student Writers

Raghavan Heads NSF Research on Illicit Drug Trafficking

Winners Selected for University System of Maryland Public Health Challenge

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar

Additional Resources

UM Newsdesk

Faculty Experts


social iconsFacebookTwitterLinkedInResearch News RSS Feed
Office of Technology Commercialization
2130 Mitchell Building
7999 Regents Dr.
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Phone: 301-405-3947  |  Fax: 301-314-9502

© Copyright 2013 University of Maryland

Did You Know

UMD's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, which simulates weightlessness, is one of only two such facilities in the U.S.