There are four main detector types used for combustible gas analyzers:

  1. catalytic
  2. infrared
  3. flame ionization
  4. flame temperature

Although several different types of sensors are employed as LFL monitors, each has an appropriate application to which it is best suited. Other types of detectors, for example electrochemical and tin-oxide semiconductor types, are generally inappropriate. 

Fires and explosions in what was thought to be “protected” equipment can occur without warning when a sensor is not capable of doing the job that had been assigned to it. This is most often caused by a misunderstanding of the different available technologies.

Do not assume that “one size fits all” or that the analyzer which was correct for a previous job will also be the right choice for another application. Whether new or similar, the specific details of each application need to be examined closely to prevent disaster. 

Choosing the right kind of instrument can be a detailed task, even for those familiar with the process.

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