The Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan, has designed a new type of fire extinguisher for confined environments such as a spaceship or submarine. Scientists proceeded from the fact that in a confined space, the spraying of active substances to extinguish a fire creates an additional type of threat. This means that the fire must be removed from the compartment - for example, by pumping it out using a vacuum chamber.
The worst situation is on the ISS, where the crew is obliged to put on oxygen masks first when extinguishing a fire. Not only can they not “ventilate” the compartments and therefore risk suffocating from fire-fighting agents, but even ordinary water in zero gravity is a huge threat if you allow it to move freely around the station. In the next decade, humanity has set its sights on flying to the Moon and further to Mars, so new and effective fire extinguishing systems for outer space are in great demand.
The technology, called the "vacuum fire extinguishing method", is based on the use of a controlled atmosphere chamber. It can be just a vacuum, or rarefied air, or a medium with some impurities. The main thing is that the device allows you to quickly pump out the flame into the chamber, and then it either goes out by itself without oxygen, or comes into contact with active reagents.
The test unit with a pumping rate of 9 liters per minute eliminates a point fire in less than a second. So far, the technology has not been tested in any space agency, but its authors are not discouraged. It will be useful in many other places where you cannot spray gases or scatter extinguishing powder. For example, sterile operating rooms or boxes with vulnerable biological objects.