A host of threats can be posed by the presence of gases in the workplace. A large number of industrial gases are harmful and toxic to human health upon exposure. Other gases can be very flammable, and gases kept in pressurized cylinders can create a risk of explosion if the container is compromised in any way.
Alongside these risks, even unreactive or non-harmful gases can create the possibility of asphyxiation if they are present in high enough quantities and displace the oxygen in the environment.
All of these risks makes the detection of gas and the monitoring of gas levels form a critical part of workplace safety. Gas detectors must be trustworthy, precise, and have efficient response times so that any gas leakage is detected as soon as possible. This gives responders precious time to prevent health and safety issues from escalating into dangerous situations.
For the detection of a wide range of gases, state-of-the-art detection equipment is based on light emitted diode (LED) gas sensors.1 Devices based on LED technology provide powerful and very sensitive gas monitors. The technology is not only used for triggering warning systems but can also be used for the continuous monitoring of gas levels online.2
LED Gas Sensors
A large amount of gases absorb light in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum extensively. This means that using an LED that emits light in the infrared, in combination with an appropriate sensor, will help to detect the smallest concentrations of gas when it is present.
Non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) gas sensors can be utilized for the detection of gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).3 These gases, along with a wide range of other hydrocarbon gases, are mostly used or produced by industrial processes in many industries such as oil and gas extraction, petrochemicals, mining, and biogas production.
Great Britain’s health and safety legislation describes both the short term and long term exposure limits to CO2 because it is defined as a ‘substance hazardous to human health’. The legislation concerning CO2 exposure is similar in many of the US states. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety explained that CO2 levels of 40 000 ppm (4%) are instantly harmful to human life and health.
It is very easy for CO2 or methane leaks to be undetected by workers because of the gases lack color and odor. The smell frequently associated with methane is because of the added odorants to help workers to detect leaks.6 The use of appropriate gas detection technology is therefore an important factor of any safety procedure for many industries.
Connected Safety Solutions
MIPEX has the greatest expertise in the development of hydrocarbon gas sensors.7 Mipex utilizes years of experience in the field to combine the benefits of the high sensitivity, quick response times, and robustness of NDIR LED gas detectors with fully connected safety solutions.
The new MIPEX-02 infrared gas sensors are miniature sensors (ø20.2 mm × 16.6 mm, excluding pins) with a very small power consumption (< 3 mW).8 This draw of power is small enough so that the sensors can be installed not only in longstanding detectors that are connected to the mains, but also in transportable handheld sensors which can maintain a sufficient battery life.
The mobility of this sensor is beneficial in applications where gas monitoring is required in smaller spaces or in remote locations where fully independent equipment is needed.
The devices can also be combined with wireless systems, for example the G7 Blackline Safety monitors.9 These monitors are mobile and wireless, and can combine the mapping of locations with the MIPEX-02 gas sensors. They can also be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by remote teams.
When working alone is a necessity, the monitors help the efficiency of response times if an incident was to happen. This is due to the ability to instantly identify the location and the extent of the gas leak by using the safety monitor. The combination of location and gas detection monitoring is also powerful when it comes to the collection of data as the user can record gas concentrations over a variety of areas.
The great versatility of MIPEX sensors can also be used in conjunction with RAE Systems MeshGuard,10 an instantly deployable mobile flammable gas monitor. This has been created for front-line emergency responders. All of these applications are possible because of the simplicity in which the MIPEX-02 can be installed.
A wide range of wireless devices supported by the MIPEX-02 need no installation beforehand and can therefore be instantly deployed if a quick emergency response is needed. Although, it is not only the devices that can be implemented efficiently in the field. The MIPEX-02 sensor has a detection response time of under 10 seconds.
Another critical factor for gas safety monitors is not only the efficiency of detection but also the durability and power of the device over time. The MIPEX-02 NDIR sensors are provided with robust stainless-steel housing and have no metal ceramic filters (that many alternative providers use in their technology) which help to maintain their precision.
The sensor can operate in a temperature range of –40 - +60 ˚C and the NDIR technology is also able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. Each sensor is designed with the most stringent technical standards in mind, and the quality management system is approved by an ISO 9001:2015 certificate.
The MIPEX-02 sensors are wholly digital which means there is a variety of options for customizability in terms of the control and readout features. A combination of simple installation, quick response times, and durability over time, the MIPEX-02 provides a variety of solutions in improving the safety of workers and strengthening gas monitoring information in any environment, whether out in the field or in the laboratory.
References and Further Reading
- J. Hodgkinson and R. P. Tatam, Meas. Sci. Technol., 2013, 24, 012004.
- X. Liu, S. Cheng, H. Liu, S. Hu, D. Zhang and H. Ning, Sensors, 2012, 12, 9635–9665
- P. Werle, F. Slemr, K. Maurer, R. Kormann, R. Mücke and B. Jänker, Opt. Lasers Eng., 2002, 37, 101–114.
- HSE on CO2, http://www.hse.gov.uk/carboncapture/carbondioxide.htm, (accessed March 2019)
- NIOSH Guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/76-194/default.html, (accessed March 2019)
- Natural Gas Odorization, https://naturalgasodorization.com/mercaptan-tetrahydrothiophene-odorants/, (accessed March 2019)
- MIPEX, https://mipex-tech.com/about/, (accessed March 2019)
- MIPEX-02, https://mipex-tech.com/catalog/mipex-02, (accessed March 2019)
- G7 Blackline Safety, https://www.blacklinesafety.com/g7-connected-safety-moves-beyond-gas-detection, (accessed March 2019)
- MeshGuard Detector, https://www.raesystems.com/products/meshguard-lel-flammable-gas-detector, (accessed March 2019)
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by MIPEX.
For more information on this source, please visit MIPEX.