Combustible and Toxic Gas Detection

In most cases, gases are not perceptible to us, yet it is impossible to imagine our everyday lives without them. Oxygen, for example, is the basis for all life, while other gases can be lethal within a very short time.

In addition to solid or liquid state, chemical substances can also assume a gaseous state, in which case the molecules contained therein move at a large distance from one another. As a result, gases can occupy a space up to 1000 times larger than solid or liquid substances. Gases are classified into different groups based on their properties. These may be based on their reactivity, flammability, toxicity or explosiveness. Some of them are influenced by temperature and pressure on top of that. However, gases that are dangerous to humans or the environment must be monitored in any case to prevent damage or accidents.

Reliable Measurement Technology for Occupational Safety

Probably the best-known example of gas measurements for occupational safety is the miner's canary. Long before there were industrial gas warning systems, miners took canaries underground.


They were very sensitive to the mine gas and the resulting lack of oxygen. If the birds stopped singing, this was a clear warning for the workers to leave the mine as quickly as possible. Today, fortunately, gas measuring devices take over this function. In most cases, they are worn by the workers for their own protection at all times during a possible exposure. Flammable or explosive gases in particular, as are often found in the oil and gas industry, are active in the mid-infrared spectrum and are therefore easy to detect. The corresponding measurement technology, non-dispersive infrared spectroscopy (NDIR), can nowadays be built into the smallest devices and thus does not disturb during work. The infrared sources from Axetris are designed for long-term continuous operation with low maintenance and are therefore perfectly suited for use in NDIR technology.

Invisible Dangers from Gases are Everywhere

Risks posed by gases can also be found in less obvious places. For example, shipping containers and their contents are usually treated with toxic gases. This is to prevent parasites from entering the country.


However, these gases are often harmful not only to microorganisms or insects, but also to humans. When the containers are unloaded at their destination, these gases come into contact with people. Many of these gases can hardly or not at all be smelled. Especially when these gases are present in workplaces, there is often a long-lasting exposure. This can lead to illness or organ damage - even decades later. In order to counteract this invisible danger, personal measuring devices are indispensable for occupational safety. Besides measurement techniques based on infrared spectroscopy, other techniques such as electrochemical sensors are also used for this purpose. These devices need frequent maintenance or replacement due to a changing detection limit based on physical reasons. NDIR technology, equipped with long-life infrared sources such as those from Axetris, is often more reliable and requires significantly less maintenance.