The Science of Fire Sprinklers


Have you ever noticed fire sprinklers around buildings, classrooms or homes? Have you ever wondered what makes them work? This video explores how heat transfer, thermal energy and material properties are used to create an automated life safety device – the fire sprinkler!

Guiding Questions

  • How do a fire sprinklers work?
  • What causes a fire sprinkler to activate, and what are some common misconceptions about their activation?
  • How do fire sprinklers keep us safe?

This resource was created in partnership with the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) to raise awareness of sprinkler operation and benefits.

Be sure to check out the Fire Sprinkler Use and Efficiency Data and Fire Sprinkler Interactive Experience.

The Science of Thermal Runaway

Engineering Solutions

From hoverboards to cell phones, portable electrical power makes life as we know it possible. But it can come with some dangerous possibilities. Let’s investigate, experiment and search for solutions.

The Science of Extraction to E-Waste

Trade-Offs & the Supply Chain

Safe and sustainable cities will depend on lithium-ion batteries to power our modern lives. But what are the costs?

The Science of Fire Forensics

Claims, Evidence and Reasoning

There’s been a fire. Your job is to figure out where the fire started, and how.


We've updated our Fire Forensics pathway based on feedback from teachers like you. Check out the new, improved look now.