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Sprinkler fire protection has existed for over 100 years. Until recently, however, understanding how a sprinkler protects against fire had not been very important, because sprinklers were so greatly overdesigned for fires in industrial buildings of the past. Since World War 11, the traditional sprinkler has been severely challenged to its limit of effectiveness by ever-changing manufacturing and storage practices. In response to this challenge, FMRC initiated a sprinkler technology research program in 1970, to study sprinkler performance principles. This ongoing research identifies and quantifies the controlling variables, such as RTI (Response Time Index), ADD (Actual Delivered Density) and RDD (Required Delivered Density), and develops engineering tools and deterministic computer models to predict sprinkler fire protection performance. Emerging scientific understanding has stimulated new sprinkler developments: the Large-Drop Sprinkler (1971-198O), the Residential Sprinkler (1976-1979), and the ESFR Sprinkler (1984-1986). It is the intention of this paper to present an overview of continuing sprinkler technology research activities, including some practical applications.