The technological innovation we witnessed in recent decades, has deeply changed the lifestyle of modern societies. Even small daily gestures have been reshaped to new and innovative schemes. This new world around us has been designed to improve our comfort, safety and productivity. The designer of this architecture is the so called home automation technology.It combines a unique architecture: IT, electronics and cutting-edge technology. In this article, we will talk about a particular aspect of home automation, that concerns the safety of the environment that is to say, smoke detectors. A security system is normally implemented through the planning of a sensors network. However, in this article we will focus on a specific aspect, or rather a specific sensor. Beforehand, we have to point out that the efficiency of an environmental safety network is the result of a skillful combination of different technologies.
Gas and noxious fume detectors – How do they work?
Gas and smoke detectors are electronic devices used for detecting the percentage of harmful for human health substances in the air of specific environments and they are also used for anticipating and preventing fires. The choice of a sensor, that is to say which one you should choose and where you should install it, depends on the physical characteristics and environmental risk factors that you intend to protect. For this reason, many different sensors, conceived to react to specific substances, are available on the market. The sensors design is complex and is based on the laws of physics particles. The sensor consists of an outer case where an ampoule containing a gas, that can be easily ionized and associated with two elements – the anode and the cathode – is located. The sensor detects the presence of a specific particle, due to the ionization produced by the passage of this same particle inside the device. The detectors can be classified into two categories: fixed and portable. These two main categories can be further subdivided into two different level of devices: professional or semi-professional. Fixed sensors are dedicated to the monitoring of gas and fume levels in specific domestic and industrial environments and are usually part of a complex network associated with a remote control-unit, from which you can monitor and manage any emergency. The most common sensors installed in domestic environments, are those that can measure carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, aimed at preventing fires. These last two examples of sensors, are also called smoke detectors. Portable gas detectors are used for the supervision of specialized technicians. Normally their use is aimed at local inspections in case of an emergency or environmental surveillance during particular activities. For this reason, these devices are also defined detectors for explosive substances and are widely used during fire extinguishing and mining operations or during inspections of industrial plants at risk of explosion and fire.
The most well-known smoke sensor models.
In this part of the article, we offer an overview of the most common security sensors, used for life safety in residential and industrial areas. In addition to the ionized sensor, we mentioned previously, smoke detectors use two types of sensors, such as the photoelectric, that exploit the same principle. The first type of sensor is much more efficient and most commonly used, however in order to obtain an effective surveillance system, many different solutions are combined together (i.e. both sensors are installed). The combination of double sensors tends to prevent fires more effectively, as it offers a greater detection capability. In fact, the ionizing sensors are very effective in identifying small particles that are generally associated with fast flash fires such as burning paper, triggers caused by accelerators or overheated joule effect cables. Photoelectric sensors are dedicated to the detection of large particles, typical of extended burning fires and able to saturate the air of the premises. On the market there aren’t many integrated models (combo), however, the system can be structured by duplicating the number of sensors, thus maximizing safety. Particular attention is given to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, that combine the detection of harmful fumes and carbon monoxide (CO). The sensors are usually not integrated into a single cover, because smoke detectors need to be fixed to the ceiling, while the CO detectors must be installed on the wall, at a lower height. The average life of a smoke sensor is limited to 10 years. Regarding power supply, they normally come with lithium batteries designed to ensure the necessary power for the entire life of the sensor.
The most popular smoke and gas detectors on the market, for environment security.
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