Toxic Gas Detector

A Toxic Gas Detector is a sensor, or integrated series of sensors, designed to detect gases that can be harmful to humans in large quantities. Toxic gas detectors commonly detect not just the presence of toxic gases, but also the levels of gas present and either trigger an alarm at a certain level, or communicate the gas level information to a central station that triggers the warning.

Toxic gas detectors are commonly used in industrial processing facilities that work with potentially hazardous chemicals, as well as underground areas that rely on machines for air circulation.

Toxic Gas Detector Manufacturers

Common Toxic Gases Detected

Simple toxic gas detectors might have sensors designed to detect the presence of a specific gas; however, industrial toxic gas detectors typically have the capability of detecting many different very specific hazardous gases, including the following:

  • Ammonia — a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, ammonia is a colorless gas that is both caustic and hazardous. Liquid ammonia must be stored pressurized to prevent it boiling into gas form, and failure in ammonia containment systems can result in dangerous levels of toxic ammonia gas.
  • Carbon Dioxide — a trace gas in our atmosphere, carbon dioxide is toxic in high concentrations. Concentrations of carbon dioxide as low as 1% will induce a feeling of drowsiness while concentrations nearing 10% can have serious medical effects.
  • Carbon Monoxide — a common “invisible” gas that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, it is colorless and odorless making the need for a toxic gas detector vital for detection of this dangerous gas.
  • Chlorine — a toxic gas that can react with flammable materials, chlorine can have harmful affects on the respiratory system. Chlorine gas is heavier than air and thus tends to collects at lower elevations, which is typically the areas where humans are working.
  • Chlorine Dioxide — a yellow-green gas that is a powerful oxidizing agent and is commonly used in bleaching and in water treatment.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide — a colorless gas with a signature rotten egg smell, hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous gas that is also flammable. Hydrogen sulfide occurs commonly in sewers and in swamps as well as in natural gas.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide — a red-brown gas that is categorized as a toxic gas with a sharp odor, nitrogen dioxide is both toxic and a significant air pollutant.
  • Oxygen deficiency — in this application the toxic gas detector monitors for dangerously low levels of oxygen in the air. In this way it acts similar to the canary in mines.
  • Sulfur Dioxide — a gas released in industrial processes, including the burning of coal and petroleum in which the sulfur compounds have not been removed prior to burning. Sulfur dioxide is a toxic gas that can lead to respiratory symptoms and death.

Toxic Gas Detector Implementation

Toxic gas detectors are typically implemented on a plant-wide level as part of an over-arcing building automation system. A large industrial facility will typically have multiple redundant monitoring points. The toxic gas detector sensors are stationed throughout the facility, typically in key areas where higher concentrations of toxic gases are likely to first develop. These sensor then relay their data through to the central monitoring stations.

Employees at monitoring stations will have access to the data from the entire collection of toxic gas detectors — as well as any other data that feeds into the same monitoring stations, including flame detection systems and security systems.

Toxic gas detectors will typically include self-diagnostics to determine any fault condition; however, toxic gas detector do require calibration and it requires a trained technician to properly calibrate a toxic gas detector.

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