PAT Roberts

Oxygen sensors and analysers – when do you need them?

Oxygen sensors and analysers are important tools in detecting the concentration of oxygen in the air – and that has obvious applications in any environment that needs to sustain life.

The obvious example is the usage of oxygen sensors and analysers in healthcare settings. Oxygen analysers are able to monitor the atmosphere and ensure patients are getting conditions conducive to recovery. This includes adult care, as well as neonatal and even veterinary medicine.

Healthcare has plenty more applications for oxygen sensors too, for example to check the concentration of the gas when it is used as a treatment, or the levels of oxygen given to anaesthetised or intubated patients.

Outside of a healthcare setting, there are similar applications for oxygen sensors in professions and pastimes where natural breathing is restricted – everything from firefighters working in a smoky environment, to scuba diving and other underwater activities, to space travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Industrial uses for oxygen analysers

There are many industrial uses for oxygen analysers other than ensuring air is breathable; indeed in many cases, oxygen sensors are used to ensure the gas is not present at all.

Examples include hazardous areas where the presence of oxygen could increase the risk of a serious fire or explosion, or zones around oxygen pipelines where a high level of the gas might indicate a leak in the pipe.

Oxygen sensors are often used indirectly to detect leaks of other gases, such as in cryogenic facilities where a falling concentration of atmospheric oxygen can indicate that cryogenic gases like nitrogen and helium are evaporating into the room.

Accurate oxygen detection at low concentration

Oxygen sensors and analysers are more than just a canary in a coal mine. They provide a static or handheld method of accurate oxygen detection at low concentration – typically in increments of 0.1% across the full range from 0-100%.

It’s normal for oxygen analysers to include an alarm state, to automatically alert the operator if oxygen levels drop too low or climb too high – and some devices have both low and high alarm states, so you can specify an intermediate safe range.

These capabilities are packed into static and handheld oxygen analysers that are compact, affordable and easy to use – some of the most valuable and frequently used gas sensors in some of the most challenging working environments on and off the planet.