What is an Oxygen Depletion Sensor?
The term "oxygen depletion" is used to refer to any amount of oxygen less than 21% oxygen by volume in fresh air. The "sensor" is the device that measures those oxygen levels.
Since most applications using oxygen depletion sensors revolve around breathable oxygen the sensors range is 0-21% or 0-25%. Either range can be used to monitor oxygenated air for safe breathing levels.
To make an oxygen depletion sensor useful, it is installed inside a handheld, portable or wall-mounted device. These devices often include an LCD readout that gives a real-time display of the oxygen level in the air. Since oxygen sensors typically require 3.5-12VDC they can be powered by batteries up to 120-240 VAC.
In many applications the oxygen depletion sensor not only measures the real-time oxygen levels, but are used to control compressed oxygen systems. For example, an oxygen depletion sensor in a submarine would be used to trigger an increase in stored oxygen in order to raise the oxygen level back up to 21%.
Oxygen depletion sensors are different from other types of oxygen sensors:
- Oxygen concentration sensors refer to 0-100% oxygen sensors. These full-range sensors are used to measure oxygen coming out of oxygen tanks for medical or industrial processes. For example, an oxygen sensor used in a ventilator measures 0-100% oxygen from pressurized cylinders.
- Dissolved oxygen sensors measure the oxygen in liquid. For example, a dissolved oxygen sensor is helpful in determining whether the oxygen in a lake or an aquarium can support aquatic life.
- Trace oxygen sensors describes sensors that measure very small quantities of oxygen in liquid or gas in the parts-per-million or parts-per-billion range. Trace oxygen sensors are useful in industrial processes like modified atmosphere packaging that rely on a virtually oxygen-free atmosphere.
- Wide-band and narrow-band oxygen sensors are used in automobiles to control the air-fuel mixture in the engine.
While not an all-inclusive list, it shows that oxygen depletion sensors, while critical for safety, are only one type of oxygen sensor available on the market.
Oxygen Depletion Sensor Applications
Oxygen depletion sensors are used in a wide variety of applications, from indoor air safety to cryogenics.
Indoor air safety is compromised anytime oxygen levels drop below 19.5% according to OSHA regulations. In almost every case, oxygen levels are reduced because of the accidental release of stored tanks of carbon dioxide, argon or other inert gases into an enclosed area. Oxygen depletion sensors are used in oxygen depletion safety alarms to warn occupants when room oxygen levels reach 19.6% or below, which indicates unsafe air quality.
Cryogenics involves dealing directly with the impact on different materials at very low temperatures. For example, liquid nitrogen gas plays a large role in cryogenics as it is most commonly used to achieve low temperatures, yet can be extremely hazardous if not properly monitored. With the growing popularity of cryogenics and cryotherapy, there is now a direct need for oxygen oxygen depletion sensors to protect individuals working around cryogenic gases.
CO2 fire suppression systems in computer labs and other environments where water-based fire suppression is not advisable use oxygen depletion safety alarms combined with high CO2 level alarms to warn occupants if oxygen gas is being displaced by CO2.
Medical researchers use oxygen depletion sensors for a variety of scientific experiments. When working in a research lab studying environmental oxygen, a oxygen depletion sensor can measure with high accuracy, whereas a 0-100% sensor.is only accurate to 0.1% oxygen.
Scientists and engineers who work with inert gases like liquid nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, helium or argon rely on oxygen depletion sensors to warn them of gas leaks in the lab.
Industrial processes like welding that use tanks of compressed argon, coolants like hydrogen or CO2, or any compressed inert or Nobel gas rely on oxygen depletion sensors in the workplace. Each of these industrial processes that rely on pressurized gases rely on oxygen depletion sensor for their workers.
Overall, oxygen depletion sensors and tools are vital for human safety and for anyone working in and around other compressed inert gases.
GasLab Oxygen Depletion Sensors
GasLab carries several oxygen depletion sensors as wall-mounted safety monitors, as personal safety devices, as stand-alone sensors or as USB devkits that allow rapid integration into projects or experiments. Each are easy to use, highly accurate and fit for their intended applications.
- Alphasense O2-A2 Oxygen Sensor - is a electrochemical replacement gas sensor used in many popular 4-gas handheld gas detection devices.
- Alphasense O2-A3 Oxygen Sensor - is also a replacement sensor, but is designed to last for 3 years instead of the O2-A2 which is rated for a 2 year lifespan.
- Luminox LOX-02 25% Oxygen Flow Through Sensor - measures ambient oxygen levels using the principle of fluorescence quenching by oxygen. This sensor module includes a tube-cap adapter for closed-system oxygen measurement. It is used in many medical and scientific environments.
- Luminox LOX-02 25% Oxygen Sensor - measures ambient oxygen levels and provides benefits of lower power requirements and a longer lifespan.
- Oxygen Depletion Safety Alarm - the RAD-0002 or oxygen depletion safety alarm is a wall-mounted device built around the LuminOX LOX-O2 sensor. It monitors indoor oxygen levels near storage tanks of gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen or argon.
- Personal Oxygen Safety Monitors - the SAN-30 personal oxygen safety monitor is a hand-held oxygen safety device that allow for consistent monitoring and measurement while ensuring workers are out of harms way.