7Solutions know your smoke

7Solutions in Gas Detection: Do you know your smoke?

Smoke comes in all shapes and sizes, and if smoke is present usually materials are smouldering or already ablaze. In this blog we will try to set apart what toxic gasses are present in smoke or can be present. We will not list all components of smoke cause then this blog will become an entire encyclopaedia of compounds, gasses, and types of dust.

What are the main components and when do they occur?

Water vapour: this compound is nearly always present in a fire, the water of the materials burning evaporates due to the heat. As a result, water vapour is released into the air. A white smoke plume is the result.

Carbon Monoxide (CO): Carbon Monoxide is an odourless and highly toxic gas. Found particularly in incomplete combustions, due to a lack of oxygen.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon Dioxide is an odourless and highly toxic gas. Plentiful in nature itself, it is created through burning a product like wood for example. The carbon in the wood will bind with the oxygen ‘feeding’ the fire.

Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN): This highly toxic gas is found when burning plastics and nitrogen containing products. The gas is extremely toxic, and smell like roasted almonds.

Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S): When sulphuric compounds are burning H2S is present in the smoke. The gas is highly toxic and smells like rotten eggs. But do not trust your senses. H2S will paralyze your sense of smell a gas detector is highly advised when working with H2S.

VOC’s: No, not that Dutch company who traded spices all around the globe. VOC’s are a collection of gasses namely the volatile organic compounds. These gasses are many, and most of them are carcinogenic (causes cancer) or mutagenic (damages DNA).

So, what can we do to stay safe in case of smoke:

Use a gas detector! For the use of smoke detection, we will advise the INDSCI Ventis Pro 5 or the WatchGas POLI. Both can be equipped with the following sensor: CO/H2S, CO2, HCN and O2.

POLI Ventis Pro

 

We did not name Oxygen in the list above so why do we want to measure it? We as humans need Oxygen to breath, without Oxygen we simply cannot live. Where the amount of gasses in the atmosphere rises, Oxygen decreases. If you measure for example CO/H2S, CO2, HCN and O2. And a Nitrogen (N2) is present, none of the toxic sensors would respond, but the Oxygen levels in the atmosphere will drop drastically. Making it harder to breath, focus, preform and eventually inescapable.

Features:

Industrial Scientific Ventis Pro 5

WatchGas POLI

Connected safety through the LENS network

Connected safety through WatchGas Platoon

Very sturdy design (threw it out the window once to test it not even a scratch on it!)  

Sturdy design (have not thrown this out a window)

Man-down-alert with a customised peer warning.

Man-down-alert

Optional slide-on pump with a separate battery.

Built in optional pump.

Inet fleet and safety management

Can be equipped with a PID sensor

Panic button

 

Cellular connectivity options

 

 

VOC’s

VOC’s are a different story. Heavily used in arson investigation PID detectors are an excellent choice if you want measure VOC reliable. Most fire accelerants are traceable even after the fire has been put out. For the measurement of VOC’s, we mostly always advise a separate device, designed for this measurement. Great examples of handheld PID detectors are the WatchGas NEO and MiniRAE lite.

NEOMiniRAE

Features:

MiniRAE Lite

WatchGas NEO

Three-year lamp warranty

Standard 2-year warranty

Easy to maintain and operate

Smaller and lighter weight than comparable PIDs

Fastest response time (3 sec)

Outstanding linearity over full measurement range

Interchangeable drop-in Lithium-ion and alkaline battery packs  

Powerful battery (run time 24 hours)

 
Of course, we are not experts on the compounds of smoke without a little background information. The composition of smoke can rapidly change with factors such as Oxygen levels, pressure, and materials. But for most cases one thing stays the same, smoke is dangerous if not lethal. We advise to always measure the smoke and do not simply rely on 1 gas detector with a limited number of sensors. Colorimetric tubes are always handy to have nearby. And work great as in indicator when measuring any environment.

Plume monitoring:

Once the compounds are determined the products of Industrial Scientific and RAE have one more trick up their sleeve. Plume Monitoring. These are specialised software tools and can track and predict the way a plume of smoke is going to behave. Giving emergency services a predicted view of the dangers presents for the public.

Want to know more about this highly specialised software? We suggest planning a demo with one of experts. The software is highly adaptable to suite all needs. And a bit too long to explain for this blog, in other words, contact us and see for yourself.

INDSC plume modelling

But what about particles?

Smoke consists of more than just gasses and vapours. Particles in the form of soot are also present. these particles can be measured with the 7Solutions EDC.

Of course, we are able to tell you much more about smoke ánd other topics regarding gas detection. Curious or in need of advice? Please let us know and get in touch.

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