How Does a VOC Detector Work?

How Does a VOC Detector Work?

Voc detectors (Volatile Organic Compound) are vital tools for ensuring the safety of workers in industrial applications, including oil and gas operations, coating processes, chemical manufacturing and more. However, the performance of these sensors can be affected by a variety of factors, including sensor drift and contamination. Regular calibration and maintenance practices are essential to ensuring accurate measurements and the safety of workers. Ongoing research is focused on developing sensor materials with improved stability and sensor designs that minimize the impact of environmental factors.

The most popular VOC detectors function through photoionization, which uses ultra-violet light to ionize molecules and measure electron levels and flow to identify dangerous compounds. This technology is capable of detecting a wide range of chemicals, and can be configured to detect combinations of toxic and combustible gases. VOC detectors also use electrochemical detection, which utilizes an oxygen-sensitive semiconductor to measure the amount of VOC present in a sample.

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When VOCs come into contact with the sensor, they cause a change in resistance on its surface. This resistance is interpreted by the sensor’s electronics to calculate a TVOC reading in ppb. However, the exact gas that is causing this change in resistance must be known or assumed in order to interpret the measurement correctly. This is because different VOCs have slightly different reactions with the metal oxide layer on the sensor. As a result, the same increase in formaldehyde and ethanol will not cause the same change in resistance.

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