A History of Gas Detection

Gas is a common danger in many industries, and one of the most common dangerous gases is methane. There have been centuries of development in terms of how to detect the dangers of odorless gases. The evolution of gas-leak-detection sensors traces back from very primitive detection methods to the highly advanced sensors used today.

A Brief History of Gas Detection

The first method of gas detection in a brief history of gas detection is perhaps the most dangerous and least advanced both in approach and safety. In the earliest days of the industrial revolution, they would send an employee into a dangerous area covered in a wet blanket with a lit torch. Slightly more advanced, and safer, was the famous canary in the coal mine. If the canary stopped making normal noises and started to go into its death throes this was a sign there was a gas leak, and it was time to leave. As a canary is far more sensitive to dangerous gases than a human, this did serve to keep people safer.

Advancements in the Twentieth Century

Next in the science of gas detection was the use of the flame light which was in use until the early 20th century. The flame was used to measure the gas content of an area based on a medium reading. If the flame was above a measured level, the area was oxygen-rich. If the flame fell below this level, the air had other gases present and was oxygen deprived. The color of the flame could also be observed to detect different types of gases in the surrounding environment. In the 1920s, lightwave interference was discovered as a method of gas detection by researchers in Japan. Research by scientists working for Standard Oil also led to the development of using a platinum catalyst as a gas detection method.

Modern Detection

Non-dispersive infrared sensors (NDIR) came into standard use in the 1960s and saw widespread industry use. Currently, Molecular Property Spectrometer (MPS) combines the useful features of the century-old pellistor gas sensor technology and NDIR to create a highly efficient gas detection system. This represented a notable jump in the technology used in gas detection. MPS detectors track changes in the thermal temperature of gases in the surrounding air. These figures can tell you about any flammable, combustible, or hazardous gases in your general area. Highly accurate and flexible MPS detectors work in an assortment of conditions and help keep you and others safe on the job.

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