The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

Gas sensors are essential to the effective detection and monitoring of hazardous inert gases throughout a range of industries. Gas sensing remains key to the management and maintenance of worker and public safety or the analysis of air quality or environment properties.

Irrespective of whether a gas sensor must be rapid, accurate, low powered, compact or easy to integrate into other devices, the most vital factor in selecting an ideal sensor lies in understanding the sensor’s future operating environment.

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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When selecting a sensor, it is important to note that not all sensors are created equally. A sensor well suited to measuring indoor CO2 levels or indoor air quality is unlikely to be useful for measuring the gas concentrations required for fire suppression testing.

While one OEM may require the availability of I2C protocols, another may prefer to employ UART. It may be more relevant to employ a sampling sensor rather than a diffusion sensor – it is, therefore, important to understand the application and its requirements to select the most appropriate sensing technology.

CO2Meter is recognized and respected across a number of industries for its extensive portfolio of gas sensing and analytical solutions. The company’s reputation is founded on its team’s capacity to educate customers and provide accessible, accurate information about specific use cases and applications.

By supporting the customer to select the correct sensor from the outset, optimal use and a positive experience are assured.

This article provides a list of the ten industries demonstrating the most widespread use of gas sensors, as well as examples of how CO2Meter’s customers are leveraging the company’s technologies to improve their processes, perform comprehensive analysis and keep people safe.

Safety Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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Gas detection and monitoring have long been integral to the protection of people working in hazardous environments where dangers may be present.

At the core of any gas detector is a gas sensor that has been designed to monitor and repeatedly measure a specific gas concentration, alerting users when the levels of a gas are higher than a predetermined safe level. These devices are essential in ensuring the safety of those working in and around hazardous gases.

For example, CO2Meter’s S8 5% CO2 Sensor represents an ideal and popular sensing solution for CO2 monitoring due to its capacity to function as a safety switch for critical alarm applications in applications such as agriculture facilities, restaurants, industrial plants and dry ice storage.

Indoor Air Quality/HVAC Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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The indoor air quality industry is a prominent user of gas sensor technologies. These applications involve air quality monitoring in a range of environments, essentially any indoor enclosed spaces, including homes, classrooms, offices, gymnasiums and assisted living facilities.

Gas sensors offer a reliable early warning indicator of increasing CO2 levels, as well as supporting energy efficiency efforts and helping to reduce operational wear and tear on actively used HVAC systems.

Robust CO2 monitoring in indoor spaces offers the added benefit of improving the cognitive abilities of occupants and helping to reduce the spread of airborne diseases.

Some of the most frequently implemented gas sensor solutions for indoor air quality (IAQ) and the HVAC industry include the CozIR®-LP2 CO2 Sensor – a popular choice due to its low power consumption and long working life.

The CozIR®-LP2 is also widely used in the Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) industry because it is possible to power this compact sensor using a small battery, solar panel or similar energy harvesting device. The IAQ MAX CO2 Monitor and Data Logger are also good options for this industry.

Medical and Life-Science Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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The medical and life science fields are prominent users of gas sensing technologies. High quality gas sensors offer accurate, reliable and consistent solutions which can be integrated into a diverse array of applications such as neuroscience, respiration, incubation and capnography.

CO2Meter continues to collaborate with a number of renowned universities, notably the University of California Berkeley, which is heavily reliant on the SprintIR 6S 20% CO2 Smart Sensor’s capacity to record ultra-accurate medical research data at 20x per second.

A further highly recognized and robust CO2 sensor is the Incubator IR CO2 Sensor – a sensor primarily employed to monitor and detect CO2 levels in cell incubators. This allows researchers and medical professionals to manage ideal cell and tissue growth, even during high temperature sterilization.

Aerospace Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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The aerospace industry is unique in terms of its need to utilize gas sensor technologies to measure concentrations of both oxygen and carbon dioxide gas.

Aerospace environments employ gas sensors to monitor in-flight conditions and air quality to ensure crew productivity, passenger comfort and overall safety.

A recent study conducted by the National University Capstone Project involved oxygen safety masks and the CM-42951 0-25% UV Flux Oxygen Smart Sensor, utilizing the UV Flux Oxygen Smart Sensor to determine exact O2 concentrations passing through an F-35 Lightning II Pilot Mask.

Industrial Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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It is common for gas sensor technologies to be incorporated into and utilized in aggressive and harsh environments. These extreme environments in the presence of industrial gases are regularly found in industrial processes.

It is important to note that a gas sensor should be able to withstand the specific harsh conditions of its target application, and it must be durable enough to withstand the operating environment.

The ExplorIR®-W 100% CO2 Sensor is an ideal example of these robust gas sensors. This gas sensor can measure up to 100% CO2 concentrations, even in high humidity and high vibration environments.

Users looking to monitor combustion processes – for example, optimizing boiler combustion efficiency and measuring oxygen concentrations – are advised to consider a suitable solution such as the Oxy-Flex Oxygen Analyzer.

Agriculture Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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The ideal sensing solutions for agriculture applications are designed to measure carbon dioxide to optimize the conditions required to maximize plant yields. The K30 1% CO2 Sensor is frequently employed in agricultural applications due to its accuracy and capacity to withstand a range of aggressive climate conditions.

The K30 1% CO2 Sensor has also seen innovative use as a sensor solution in plant disposal and composting applications.

MAP Gas Sensor Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) has increased in use over the past ten years, driven by the demand to extend the shelf life of perishable products.

Customers seeking to integrate sensor technologies in MAP applications generally need to measure the CO2 or O2 content present inside the packaging itself.

Issues on production lines must be detected rapidly to minimize potential product losses. Due to this, it is recommended that users looking to monitor CO2 concentrations opt to use the high speed SprintIR®-6S gas sensor due to its ability to take up to 20x measurements per second.

In contrast, users interested in measuring O2 concentrations in pierceable packaging are advised to employ the TecPen MAP Oxygen Analyzer – an optimized analyzer able to perform extremely sensitive measurements at a rate of 3x per second.

Transportation Applications

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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The transportation industry has determinedly and proactively sought out appropriate sensor technologies over the past 5-10 years.

These industries typically need to analyze CO2 and O2 concentrations in cargo – for example, in dry ice transportation - or in shipping containers to better understand the impact of gas concentrations on product lifespans.

Monitoring gas concentrations in these enclosed environments can help operators and manufacturers to optimize their approaches to prolong the life of perishable goods, potentially by adjusting the gas concentrations in the containers. This is an important process in better ensuring the health of live animals shipped in containers.

Many transportation applications can benefit from the use of the CozIR®-A 10000 ppm (1%) CO2 Sensor – a robust gas sensor offering excellent accuracy, optimized power consumption and straightforward integration.

Fire Suppression Testing

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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The fire suppression testing industry relies heavily on the effective monitoring of CO2. This is primarily due to CO2 being an ideal fire suppressor released into key areas to eliminate O2 which feeds an active fire.

These systems may also be installed in switch room control panels, gas turbine enclosures or power generation systems.

Fire suppression testing applications frequently employ the SprintIR®-6S 100% CO2 Sensor. This sensor is also at the core of the popular GasLab Pro® Carbon Dioxide Sampling Data Logger – a solution that has been specifically designed to measure CO2 concentrations in fire suppression testing applications.

This robust solution meets NFPA 12 & 17 requirements.

University Research Applications and Research Gas Sensors

The Different Applications for Gas Sensors

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Gas sensor technologies and solutions are key to furthering and supporting an array of research studies and key advances in the scientific field. The hypothesis of a study is typically the main factor in determining the best gas sensor for its specific application requirements.

CO2Meter has many years of experience in working alongside numerous universities and research projects across the globe.

For example, CO2Meter recently worked with a student who was looking to measure CO2 levels indoors and in the local community spaces simultaneously.

By leveraging the power of the K30 10000 ppm CO2 Sensor and an Arduino Uno Microcontroller, the student was able to accurately identify gaps in the current community-based detection system.

This article aimed to provide a brief overview of a range of common gas sensor applications, with a view to offering improved insight into the ideal sensor solution for a range of applications and requirements.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by CO2Meter, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit CO2Meter, Inc.

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