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Published Date

May 2005

Gas Detector Selection and Calibration Guide

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

This publication is a guide to the safety systems designed to protect users from the harmful effects of flammable, toxic or asphyxiant gases. It assists users and manufacturers in considering relevant factors when selecting and monitoring a gas detector or detection system, so that its performance remains within acceptable limits throughout the intended product life.

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This industry guide to gas safety is an overview of the process of gas detector selection and calibration. It gives a brief overview of safety considerations and the characteristics of common gases, descriptions of common gas sensor types (including accompanying notes on their operation), an overview of rules and regulations, and details of maintenance and calibration records that must be kept to insure the safety and legality of the gas detector installation.






1 Industrial Flammable and Toxic Gas Detection

2 Concise Guide to the Selection of a Suitable Gas Detection System

3 Introduction

4 Sensor Technologies

5 Guide to Gas Detector Selection

6 Performance Evaluation

7 Calibration

8 Reference Documents



A.1 List of Detector Manufacturers

A.2 Gas Handling, Transportation and Safety

A.2.1 Gas Handling

A.2.2 Cylinder Handling

A.2.3 Gas Cylinder Transportation

A.3 Domestic Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A.4 Effects of Oxygen Depletion on the Human Body

A.5 Results of Independent Analyses of Commercial Gas Mixtures

The most obvious characteristic of the subject of gas detection and measurement is its sheer diversity. Different forms of sensor have exploited the gamut of physical and chemical effects to the full, and measurement techniques have ranged from simple mains or battery-operated alarm circuits to the sophisticated neural networks used in ‘electronic nose’ instruments. Along the way are optical methods involving traditional single and double-beam techniques allied with modern sensors, plus applications of exotic semiconductors and methods of fabrication.


However, important though such matters are to the designer and developer of the sensors themselves and the relevant instrumentation, they are by no means sufficient for, nor sometimes even relevant to, the working engineer. It is that engineer who must decide on the type of installation most suited to the problem in hand, whether it be safety-related or relevant to process control or any other situation wherein gas sensing and measurement are required. Consequently, the engineer must be aware that there are safe and unsafe procedures in dealing with each problem, and that thorough familiarity with both these and the characteristics of the gases involved must be acquired. It then becomes possible to review the types of sensor appropriate to the problem and so choose a suitable installation, usually consisting of a chosen sensor type included within instrumentation supplied by a manufacturer.


This is by no means the end of the story, however. The next question is how should the instrument be installed to comply with the relevant regulations; and finally, how will it be maintained and calibrated?


It is this sequence which has defined the type of material included in this manual and the order in which it is presented. Firstly, a brief review of matters relating to safety is presented, followed by a clear description of the characteristics of the most common gases encountered. Then comes an overview of a large range of gas sensor types, and this is followed by notes on factors to be taken into account in their usage. Finally, matters relating to compliance with the various rules and regulations are considered along with the all-important maintenance and calibration records which must be kept in order that the installation should remain legal and safe.


This approach will enable the engineer to make a rational choice of sensor type and the instrument in which it is contained, and to design and specify a scheme for its installation and treatment in situ. However, it must be remembered that both techniques and regulations do vary with time and location. Different countries have somewhat differing views on what constitutes safe levels of toxic gases for example. Nevertheless, this unique manual represents the most comprehensive and applications-oriented treatment of the subject currently available. It will enable the engineer to comprehend the state of the art and to keep up-to-date with the changes which will inevitably arise as technology and regulation progress.


Sira Certification Service (SCS) is the Notified Body for ATEX activities and IECEx CB & ExTL for IECEx approvals. Having been part of CSA Group for over 6 years, in May 2015 Sira merged with another CSA-UK company in Leyland, and formed a new legal entity ‘CSA Group Testing UK Ltd’.

Title: Gas Detector Selection and Calibration Guide
Edition: First Edition
Number of Pages: 157
Product Code: 4400w118
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-297-5 (9781856092975), ISBN 10: 1-85609-297-6 (1856092976)
Published Date: May 2005
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 300 mm
Book Width: 210 mm
Book Spine: 10 mm
Weight: 0.50 kg
Author: SIRA

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