Many companies rely on an H2S monitor or gas detector for their daily operations. In industries that rely on combustible or flammable gases, LEL gas detection is essential. Both personnel and property are potentially in jeopardy if gases aren’t monitored carefully and reliably. Detecting a leak early allows it to be remedied quickly. If safety is a priority, so is LEL gas detection. You can’t have one without the other. Knowing a little more about LEL gas detectors may help you to better understand and appreciate the essential role they play.
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL)
The lower explosive limit (LEL) of any given gas is the lowest point of concentration (percentage by volume) at which it becomes flammable in the atmosphere. A 0% LEL would indicate a combustible gas-free atmosphere. This isn’t something you’re likely to encounter. A 100% LEL indicates an atmosphere with gas as its lower flammable limit. This relationship tends to differ from one gas to the next. As an example, methane (also known as natural gas) isn’t flammable at concentrations below 5%. The mixture is said to be too lean to burn or ignite. However, between 5% and 17%, methane is able to ignite. If this mixture were to be exposed to a spark, arc, or open flame, it would prove to be flammable. At a mixture above 17%, the atmosphere is said to be too rich for the methane to ignite. Thus, the LEL and upper explosive limit (UEL) provide a range of flammability.
LEL Gas Detectors
As you can see, this means identifying the precise percentage or concentration with the atmosphere is crucial. The hazardous range for combustion is fairly precise. Given this range, careful monitoring is vital to avoiding accidents. LEL gas detectors are responsible for identifying minuscule amounts of possibly harmful or even lethal gas. Combustion isn’t the only concern. High levels of LEL gases may be poisonous as well. Therefore, detectors must be calibrated to deliver accurate and reliable results. Modern technology allows for both on-site and remote calibrations to be performed. Simulations are performed remotely. On-site calibration uses controlled amounts of gas to gauge the effectiveness of the sensors.
Calibration is crucial, but it’s not the only concern. Electrochemical technology, alarm systems, and wireless networks are also vital elements of today’s LEL detectors and monitoring systems. With the advancement of electrochemical technology, modern detectors have multiple pathways to aid with gas detection, which makes them much more accurate. Today’s LEL gas detectors are much more reliable. When coupled with alarm systems, early warnings are possible. This allows any leaks or hazards to be identified and corrected much more quickly. Wireless networks also allow for remote monitoring and calibration.
Combustible gases are a reality across many industries, which is why LEL gas detection is such a common point of discussion. It’s a daily concern. The greatest risk of explosion is always at the midpoint between LEL and UEL. At this point, any flammable gas would be at its most volatile. This means careful and constant detection and monitoring are essential for the safety and protection of workers and equipment. Any mishaps could risk harm or even death. With careful calibration and modern technologies, this isn’t something that needs to ever happen. Safety measures have improved massively over the years, and they’re only improving. Worksites are safer than at any other point in history. LEL gas detectors are one of the reasons why.