How to Choose the Right Calibration Gas

29 Apr.,2024


How to Choose the Right Calibration Gas

Gas sensors occasionally drift from the set specifications, thus missing the acceptable tolerance targets. Calibration gases play a critical role in restoring the accuracy of the detectors through frequent and proper calibration. The International Safety Equipment Association recommends verification of sensor accuracy before each day’s use. Finding the right gas to correct the calibration drift is the first step to restore the response to the right concentration levels. Check out five tips to help you select the proper calibration gas for your industrial applications.

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1. Type of Gas Detectors

It is important to understand the specific type of gas detector used within your processes. The sensor detectors are usually classified into two; single gas detectors and multi-gas detectors. Single gas sensors require the use of purified single gases to restore the accuracy of the detectors. Most single gas detectors are calibrated using methane or iso-butane calibration gases. Multi-gas detectors utilize a specialty gas, customized for use depending on the lab or industrial application. These calibration gases are mostly 4-gas mixtures blended and mixed in the correct concentrations.

2. Purity of the Gases

Impurities in the calibration gas significantly affect the sensitivity of the gas sensors. The gas standard establishes an accurate reference point for the verification of the quality and purity of gases produced. Analytical laboratory gases require pure gases that adhere to specified industry standards before use in a procedure. Nitrogen, a conventional calibration gas, may need to have a purity of 99.995%. Helium, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and argon must have a determined purity level before use. It’s imperative to find a calibration gas that meets the necessary standards for purification.

3. Quality of the Calibration Gas

Qualitative analytical measurements are vital in achieving accuracy during various laboratory and manufacturing processes. Substandard gases not only pose a risk to the safety of your staff but also cause extensive damage to property when ignited. The calibration gas you choose should be gravimetrically manufactured and traceable to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST.) The traceability and certification of the standard gases act as proof of verification for accuracy. Besides, you should be wary of expired gases. Always inspect the disposable calibration gas cylinders to find out the expiry date.

4. Gas Customization

Function testing gases have a wide range of applications in laboratories, petrochemical industries, manufacturing, research institutes, and universities. Calibration gas manufacturers usually take an extra step of producing customized gas mixes that align with your applications. You provide the manufacturer with gas specifications, and they supply the right standards that suit your gas detection systems.

5. Gas Storage and Delivery

The quantity of gas required for calibration needs to be correctly assessed before purchasing the disposable cylinders. Portable calibration gas cylinders ensure that the gas is available at any point of use to set parameters for the sensors. The gas can come in cryogenic cylinders, ampules, or disposable gas cylinders whose capacity varies from 10, 34, 58, and 110 liters. Each gas cylinder should be prepared and validated for stability and homogeneity of the product.

Calibration gases are a critical part of restoring accuracy on your sensors and gas detection equipment. Ensure that the gas is compatible with your gas detectors, its purity determined, and meets the right threshold for quality standards. For more information on calibration gases, please visit our website.

5 Best Practice Tips for Specialty Gas Regulators

Unwanted impurities can lower your purity ratings, cause regulator failure and even explosions in the workplace. Here are five best practice tips to prevent unwanted impurities from entering your pure gas or gas mixture application.

1. Choose the correct materials of construction

When choosing a regulator, you must be aware of material compatibility in order to avoid the following 3 issues:

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Poor Purity Ratings

If you choose a regulator and gas combination which is not compatible, the purity rating will be nullified. See: Purity Ratings- Key Facts For Specialty Gases and Gas Regulators for more information.

Regulator Failure

Your regulator may fail prematurely as many corrosive gases can attack and destroy components inside a regulator not suited to that particular mixture. Stainless steel is often used for corrosive applications, but even stainless is not always the answer. Materials such as Hastelloy, Monel or Viton may be used for particular corrosive applications.

Workplace Danger

Regulator failure can cause (toxic) gas leaks, explosions, or at least incorrect calibration of your instrumentation. Make sure the materials are correct for your application.

2. Use only one type of gas with each regulator

In most cases it is important to ensure your regulator sees only one type of gas over its service life. Residual gases will always exist inside a regulator until thoroughly purged/cleaned out. If the residual gases are incompatible with the new gas, they can react causing impurities, a reduction in regulator service life, or worse a dangerous situation (for example, a flammable gas introduced into a regulator with a residual of an oxidising gas can cause an explosion).

3. Use a purging system

When you first connect your regulator to a cylinder and every subsequent time you change a cylinder, impurities are introduced into the system in the form of ambient atmosphere sitting inside any open spaces. Once you flow gas through the regulator, these impurities travel through the regulator and the rest of your system. In order to prevent this, a purging system should be used. This allows the operator to completely purge any unwanted atmospheric impurities before they are spread through the system. Several different types of purging systems are available to manage different applications.

4. Replace your gas regulators

It is advisable to replace your gas regulators at regular intervals to ensure your system is always performing at its peak. In general, it is suggested a 5-year service life is a practical time frame for a gas regulator which is used properly and purged regularly. If the gas regulator is used with an aggressive media the regulator life would be reduced. For example, a gas regulator designed to work with pure ammonia or chlorine may last for only one or two years. On the other hand, a regulator used sporadically and only with an inert gas, like pure nitrogen, may last eight or even ten years.

5. System Design

The best way to avoid unwanted impurities is to ensure your entire system, starting from the gas inside a cylinder right up to the point of use, is designed properly. Ask experts in the field to advise you how to eliminate any mistakes in your gas regulator selection.

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