Combustible Gas Detectors - Overview

Combustible gas detectors are the ones of the basic safety equipments required when there is combustible gas within the plant site. Auto-ignition temperature and Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) describe the possible dangers of combustible gases.

Auto-ignition temperature is the lowest temperature where combustible gas may be ignited spontaneously (self-sustained combustion), without the presence of source of ignition. Meanwhile, Lower Explosive Limit or LEL will be the lowest concentration of combustible gas in the air that will propagate flame when encountered with a source of ignition.

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There are two types of combustible gas detectors in market. The 1st type is electrocatalytic (catalytic bead), which referred to passive sort of gas detector. The second type is infrared detector, utilizing infrared absorption as detecting technology. It is the active type.

Electrocatalytic type is popular in various industries and generally applied as single-point detectors for combustible gases. The operating principle is based on oxidation reaction of combustible gas and oxygen in the air on the heterogeneous catalytic element. Heat from your reaction heats the platinum coil a part of the catalyst which change resistance of the coil. Then, it is measured and monitored.

There's two factors that affect the sensitivity of catalytic type gas detectors, i.e. blockage in the flame arrestor by which combustible gas flows through and poisoning in the active bead. Besides, mechanical failure is attainable caused by vibration. Vibration can break the platinum wire.

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Advantages of electrocatalytic sensors are relatively low unit cost, simple and better accuracy weighed against other detection methods.

Conversely, infrared type detectors detect the presence of any combustible gas according to infrared radiation absorption at the certain wavelengths.

Some key advantages of infrared type have the freedom of maintenance because calibrated through the factory, can be used for single-point and open path devices, may be located at inaccessible location in the plant site, no chemical poisoning possibility, neglect to safe technology, does not need oxygen to measure combustible gas concentration, internal compensation virtually eliminates span drift and appropriate for continuous gas environment.

When you really need to choose which combustible gas detectors you should obtain, read the following tips. You will need a short research prior to making any selection. Listed below are tips.

 1. Determine clearly your unique requirements of combustible gas detectors
 2. Select multiple or single types. Some gas detectors may also detect other gases rather than only combustible gases, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and so on.
 3. Confirm the detection range of combustible gases. It indicates check its percentage of Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). The detectors no less than should be capable of detecting 10%~15% of the lower LEL. Give this specification more attention, because this will give you more time that you should take actions when gas leak is detected.
 4. Decide which type of detecting sensors is correct for your needs.
 5. Get information about battery and sensors lifetime. Many of the important when you need to replace them.
 6. Select which alarms are required to alert gas leakage. Sound or light, or may be both.
 7. Have the spare parts price of the detectors, mainly the sensors. Do not go with a gas detector when unit expense of one unit is nearly same with sensor's price.
 8. Select only detectors that certified by common standards or perhaps the government.
 9. Obtain trusted manufacturers only. Look for testimony from others.
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