Skip to Primary Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to Main Content All Site Map
3M Novec Hot Topics banner

Remember The Alamo

Texas heritage site safeguarded by 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas is best remembered as the site of a pivotal battle in the Texas Revolution. It was here, in 1836, that a small band of Texans defending the mission were overwhelmed by a much larger contingent of the Mexican Army, led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The loss of the Alamo spurred the Texans to redouble their efforts against Santa Anna's forces, defeating them a month later at the battle of San Jacinto – effectively gaining Texas its independence.

Today, the restored Alamo complex, which includes the chapel, several surrounding buildings and a library, is administered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT), and is the most popular tourist destination in Texas with over 2.5 million visitors annually..

The library building, built in the 1950s, houses a priceless collection of historical objects, including rare books, manuscripts, artwork, maps and photographs. Recently, after an accidental discharge of the library's antiquated halon 1301 fire protection system, the DRT began to investigate replacing with a more state –of- the –art system. According to Joe Ziemba, a marketing manager with 3M Electronics Markets Materials Division, the DRT had a number of specific concerns that any new suppression system would need to address.

"First and foremost, they needed a fire protection agent that would minimize or eliminate collateral damage to their collections, in the event of a system discharge," says Ziemba. "The system would also have to work within parameters established for historic structures; offer a cost-effective solution; and be safe for people and the environment. They discovered that it was possible to satisfy all of these requirements with a system incorporating 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid."

Novec 1230 fluid is an advanced chemical clean agent that extinguishes fires quickly, then evaporates without leaving any residue behind. This makes it an ideal choice for protecting high-value assets such as rare books, documents, artifacts, electronics and other items that could be damaged or destroyed by water or dry powder extinguishing agents. Novec 1230 fluid offers an unmatched environmental profile, with zero ozone depletion potential, a 5-day atmospheric lifetime (compared to 65 years for halon 1301) and a global warming potential of 1. It also offers the widest margin of human safety of any chemical clean agent, making it suitable for use in occupied spaces.

After extensively researching a number of alternatives, the DRT ultimately selected an Ansul® Sapphire® Fire Suppression System, incorporating Novec 1230 fluid, to safeguard the library, vault, support offices and the adjoining Alamo Hall. As Leslie Stapleton, director of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library puts it, "Fire safety is always a concern in a preservation setting. 3M Novec 1230 fluid is our insurance policy that lets us breathe a little easier."

Because of its unique performance, safety and environmental properties, Novec 1230 fluid is being used in an increasing number of museum and library fire protection applications, including the archives of the Pennsylvania State Library which houses the historical assets of the Benjamin Franklin Collection. 3M is pleased to assist the preservation efforts of these and other groups around the U.S. – honoring the memory of those who have shaped our history by protecting what they have left behind.

For more information, visit

← Back