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Which Combustible Gas Sensor is Right: Catalytic Bead or Infrared?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2020 in Catalytic & Infrared Sensors, Combustible Gases | 0 comments

Do you regularly work with combustible gases? From fuel sources such as methane and propane to heavier hydrocarbons such as ethane and propylene, combustible liquids and gases pose a number of risks for your facility. Understanding the technology behind detecting combustible gases is important, especially when installing a gas detection system. Depending on your environment and application, there may be advantages to either combustible gas sensor, catalytic bead or infrared.

Which combustible gas sensor is right for your facility? Learn the differences between a catalytic bead and an infrared sensor to choose the best detection system.

Combustible gas sensors can be designed with two different technologies, catalytic bead sensors or infrared sensors. Catalytic bead sensors detect gas by burning gas molecules on a sensor element. Comparatively, infrared sensors absorb hydrocarbon gas through infrared light at specific frequencies. Learn the advantages of either sensor to find out which technology is best for your work applications.

Catalytic Bead Sensor Advantages

Inexpensive to manufacture and highly reliable, catalytic bead sensors have dominated the market until just recently. Designed with sensor elements that heat up when combustible gas is present, catalytic bead sensors respond to any combustible gas or vapor. With capabilities to detect a broad range of combustible gases, catalytic bead sensors remain a quality choice for gas detection systems.

Pro Tip: Combustible gas detectors measure combustible gas in a range of 0-100% of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) value. Be sure to know the LEL limits of the gases you work with to maintain accurate gas detection.

Infrared Sensor Advantages

With increasing popularity in the last two decades, smart infrared (IR) sensors have the advantage of longer calibration and a unique self-test capability. Infrared sensors work by allowing gas to pass between a source of infrared light and a specially designed receiver. When hydrocarbon molecules pass in front of the IR source, they block some of the infrared energy. As a result, the receiver’s output drops and the microprocessor (inside the sensor) generates an output proportional to the amount of absorption.  

Choosing the Right Sensor

Depending on your application, each sensor has its own disadvantages. Infrared sensors can’t detect non-hydrocarbon gases such as hydrogen. In the same way, catalytic bead sensors are sensitive to contaminants and so risk having the atmosphere endanger their sensing elements. Due to the constant danger of explosion, it’s important to have a combustible gas detection system that is reliable, simple to operate, and easy to calibrate.

GDS Corp offers gas monitors that are equipped to support both catalytic bead and infrared sensors:



Unlike other detection systems, our design configurations give users the ability to easily switch between the different technologies. Designed specifically for combustible gases, both monitors feature interchangeable catalytic bead and SmartIR infrared sensors. That being said, you can rely on accurate detection, regardless of application, environment, or target gas.

Protect Your Business Facility

Like any hazardous gas in your environment, having an accurate and reliable gas detection system is crucial for protecting your workers. GDS Corp is proud to offer a number of customized solutions for your facility. Whether you’re offshore or in an industrial environment, our detection systems will quickly and reliably alert you of dangerous situations.

Is your gas detection system armed with combustible gas sensors? Connect with our sales team to find a solution that meets your needs.

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Combustible Gases List: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by on Mar 20, 2020 in Combustible Gases | 0 comments

Nothing is more valuable than the lives of your employees, not to mention the property you’ve worked so hard to build and maintain. Understanding the properties of combustible gases you use or come in contact with is important to reduce the risk of sudden fires or explosions. For your reference, we’ve assembled a list of the most widely known combustible gases to help you better understand common hazardous gases in your facility or warehouse.

Discover the properties of the most common combustible gases with this reference from our gas detection experts.

What Makes a Gas Combustible?

Combustion, in short, is when a substance reacts with oxygen from the air and transfers energy to surroundings as light and heat. Compounds or liquid gases that exceed their flash point (minimum temperature for a liquid gas to ignite in the air) are combustible and can cause an explosion. It’s important to have an accurate detection system to monitor the levels of combustible gases in your air. Learn about the most common types of combustible gases your facility needs to guard against.

All of these substances are in the gaseous state at room temperature. Some are heavier than air, some lighter, and your combustible gas detectors should be mounted accordingly in your facility. 


Flashpoint:  -18.15°C

Commonly used in portable lighting, welding, and cutting, acetylene is a hydrocarbon gas that is lighter than air and fortunately for detection, has a characteristic smell. It is produced by the chemical action of water on calcium carbide and is an appropriate fuel gas for a number of applications.


Flashpoint: -60°C

The term butane can refer to the alkane n-butane or to its other isomer, isobutane. Commonly found in cooking fuels or blended with propane for commercial use, butane gas is a colorless and odorless gas that is highly flammable.


Flashpoint: 34°C

Deemed as one of the most important manufacturing chemicals, ethylene is a building block for most plastics, antifreeze solutions, and solvents. It also acts as a plant hormone and can aid in the ripening of fruits and flowers.

Pro Tip: Advanced gas detection systems support interchangeable catalytic bead and infrared sensors, enabling users to easily switch between technologies to most rapidly detect the target gas. 


Flashpoint: -187°C

Methane is the main ingredient found in natural gas. From making fabric, plastic, anti-freeze, fertilizer, and paper materials to powering homes, methane gas is one of the most widely used combustible gases.


Flashpoint: -156°F

Commonly used for space or water heating, propane gas is a nontoxic and colorless liquid gas. In efforts to decrease air pollution, propane has become a popular substitute for fuels such as gasoline due to its low concentration of pollutants.


Flashpoint: -107.78°C

Due to its combustion efficiency, propylene gas is a colorless fuel gas that has a naturally pungent smell. Like propane, it is a nontoxic and clean alternative to gasoline. Its doubled bonded properties give it an advantage over propane, giving it the ability to burn hotter in industrial processes.

Guard Against Combustible Gases

Gas detection is crucial in environments where combustible gases are found, particularly industrial and commercial manufacturing facilities. GDS Corp offers customized gas detection systems for your business, regardless of your size. With accurate detection and user-friendliness, you can rely on our products to keep you safe long term. 

Do you regularly work with combustible gases? Connect with our experts to find the best solution for your environment.

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Measuring VOC: How Photoionization Detectors Work

Posted by on Mar 13, 2020 in Gas Detectors, VOC Sensors | 0 comments

With health effects ranging from dizziness to cancer development, the dangers of exposure to volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) can’t be underestimated. Do you regularly work in areas where VOCs are present? By measuring VOC levels, you can reliably protect the health of you and those working around you.

Volatile organics are unseen by the human eye but are one of the leading causes of air pollution. Learn how to keep a tab on the VOC concentration surrounding you.

Like many toxic gases, VOC emissions are usually colorless and can spread rapidly without warning. It’s important to maintain safe VOC levels to guard humans from breathing in toxic chemicals. One of the most common ways to measure levels of VOC is by installing a photoionization detector (PID). Learn more about the impact of volatile organics and why PIDS should be installed in your facility.

What is VOC?

Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are toxic chemicals that are emitted as gases from solid or liquid products. According to the EPA, concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors than outdoors. VOCs are usually found around chemical processing facilities or refineries. If your workplace has products that utilize dangerous organic chemicals, measuring the amount of volatile organics is key.

Pro Tip: Don’t think that stored products or those sitting on the shelf aren’t dangers. VOC emissions can be released and can contaminate your air, even if not being used.

Measuring VOC in Your Environment

When measuring VOCs, it’s important to know what kind of volatile organic compounds are in your environment. Some of the most common types of VOCs include acetone, butanal, ethanol, formaldehyde, toluene, methylene chloride, and others.

In the same way, you should be familiar with the following units of measurements:

  • Parts-Per-Million (PPM) – The ratio of one gas to another. 1,000 ppm CO means that of one million gas molecules, 1,000 of the molecules are carbon monoxide and the other 999,000 are other gases.
  • Electron Volt (eV) – A unit of measurement of the energy contained in a photon generated by a UV lamp. In other words, a “10.6 eV Lamp” will generate photons with an average energy of 10.6 electron volts. 
  • Ionization Potential (IP) – A measurement (in Electron Volts) of the energy in a photon necessary to ionize a specific material. 

Photoionization Detectors Explained

PIDs use a specially-designed ultraviolet (UV) lamp to create high energy photons, These photons hit volatile organic compounds present in the air and if energetic enough, knock an electron loose, creating a small current flow. This flow of electrons indicates the presence of VOCs. Each organic compound has an ‘ionization potential’ (IP) value which represents the amount of energy necessary to liberate an electron.

If the UV lamp’s energy level is higher than the compound’s ionization potential, the detector will indicate the presence of VOC molecules. The choice of lamp “IP” value (10.0 eV, 10.6 eV or 11.0 eV) should be determined by the IP of the target VOC molecules. 

Finding a reliable PID is essential to monitoring the air quality in your industrial environments. GDS Corp offers the following photoionization detector options. These detectors are available with 10.0 eV, 10.6 eV and 11.0 eV PID sensors:

  • GASMAX CX Gas Monitor with VOC Sensor – Single or dual channel gas monitor certified for hazardous areas where gas readings need to be transmitted in real-time.
  • GASMAX II Gas Monitor with VOC Sensor – Single or dual channel gas monitor that supports both local and remote sensors for added convenience.

Monitor the Air Pollutants of Your Facility

A wide range of VOCs are found in almost every work environment, which makes gas detection crucial. GDS Corp can help you determine the best type of detector and lamp IP value for your specific application. 

Are you looking for an accurate way to measure VOC levels? Connect with our team to get a VOC sensor installed in your detection system.

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Dangers of VOCs: Guarding Against Volatile Organic Compounds

Posted by on Mar 6, 2020 in Health And safety, Volatile Organics | 0 comments

What’s in the air you breathe? Is it free of toxins? Air pollution is one of the largest problems of our generation, and the release of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is a large contributor. Understanding the dangers of these toxic gases will help you protect the air quality in your environment.

How’s your air quality? Protect the health of you and your workers from dangerous pollutants found in VOCs. Learn more here.

When you work with chemicals containing volatile organics in your manufacturing processes, your indoor air quality is threatened. Harmful levels of VOCs are hard to detect by the human nose. Thus, reliable detection systems are necessary to keep you and your workers safe. With lasting health effects like cancer and memory impairment, monitoring volatile organics can’t be overlooked.

What are VOCs exactly?

Volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) are carbon-based chemicals that turn into gaseous form at room temperature. These toxic gases are invisible to the human eye and can be found in many consumer products and industrial processes. Some of the most common VOC substances include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, phenol, and methylene chloride. 

Volatile organics can be found in paint varnishes, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials, correction fluids, glues, adhesives, and other chemicals. Be sure to monitor all sources of VOCs to protect your current and future health.

Pro Tip: Installing a photoionization detector to accurately measure the volatile organic molecules in the air near you.

Harmful Levels of VOCs

When dealing with VOCs, there are safe and unsafe levels of concentration to consider. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), organic pollutants can be 2-5 times higher in interior spaces compared to outdoor air. Installing proper detection systems is crucial for guarding against toxic levels in your working environment.

When measuring volatile organics, you may be presented with the term, Total VOC (or TVOC for short). TVOC is the total concentration of all VOCs found simultaneously in the air. Any volatile organic could be found in a number of elements. Instead of focusing on a single compound, detectors measure the sum concentration of VOCs.

Federal officials haven’t fully regulated VOCs, but the following chart shows the appropriate levels of TVOCs in the air.

Dangers of VOCs: Guarding Against Volatile Organics | GDS Corp, Houston, TX

Health Effects of Volatile Organics

If you regularly interact with VOCs, your future health could be in danger. Although many signs of VOC poisoning are noticed immediately, some people may experience symptoms days after exposure. Health effects could include eye, nose, and throat irritation, central nervous system damage, the development of cancer, and memory impairment.

According to the EPA, health symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:

  • Conjunctival irritation
  • Nose and throat discomfort
  • Headache
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Dyspnea
  • Decline in serum cholinesterase levels
  • Nausea
  • Emesis
  • Epistaxis
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

If you work with volatile organics, it’s important to have easy access to fresh air in the case of exposure. Those experiencing severe symptoms should contact emergency personnel for immediate assistance.

Protect Yourself from Air Pollutants

Do you regularly deal with volatile organics? Protect your facility’s air quality and guard your employee’s health by installing photoionization detectors, or PIDs. GDS Corp offers a number of PIDs with high energy ultraviolet lights to accurately measure the compounds in your environment.

Could you be exposed to VOCs? Connect with our gas detection experts to find the best detector for your environment.

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Will a Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect a Natural Gas Leak?

Posted by on Feb 28, 2020 in Gas Detectors, Gas Leak Detection | 0 comments

If you regularly work around natural gas lines, your work environment could be at risk for sudden fire or explosion. That’s obvious. But there is also a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the event that low-level oxygen-starved burning occurs from a small leak.  How important is it to make sure that both CO and combustible gas detectors are present? 

Ultimately, no, a carbon monoxide detector cannot detect a natural gas leak. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas created when fuel is burned in the presence of low levels of oxygen. Carbon monoxide is very different from methane and cannot be detected with the same sensor. Carbon monoxide might appear during a gas leak, but a carbon monoxide detector is not normally capable of detecting natural gas.

Carbon Monoxide or Natural Gas?

Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect by the human nose but is known to cause rapid loss of consciousness. Similarly, natural gas is normally odorless but gas companies add mercaptan to make it smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. What’s more, natural gas leaks can usually be identified by a hissing sound or visible damage to a gas line.

That being said, not having a complete gas detection system could cause disastrous results. Along with the high flammability of natural gas, carbon monoxide can be fatal under certain conditions. Without proper warning, you could be at risk for sudden fire, explosion or toxic gas. To protect your environment, install a reliable gas detection system to detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and methane.

Pro Tip: Does your gas alarm configured to detect carbon monoxide? Install a high-performance sensor in your detection system to combat the poisonous health effects of carbon monoxide.

Types of Natural Gas Detectors

Monitoring unsafe levels of methane in natural gas is crucial to combat natural gas poisoning and combustion. GDS Corp offers a number of gas detection solutions to monitor your gas lines.

  • GASMAX CX Gas Monitor – Single or dual channel gas monitor certified for hazardous areas where gas readings need to be transmitted in real-time.
  • GASMAX II Gas MonitorSingle or dual channel gas monitor of any combination of one toxic and one combustible (bridge-type) sensor.
  • GDS-50 Gas SensorDC-powered infrared gas sensor of any toxic or combustible gas in Class I Div 1 hazardous areas.
  • GDS-IR Gas SensorInfrared gas sensor used to detect carbon dioxide or explosive levels of methane or propane in harsh environments.

Choosing the Best Gas Leak Detectors

Whether you’re protecting against natural gas leaks or the presence of carbon monoxide in your manufacturing or industrial process, finding the right gas monitor is important. In addition to carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors, a complete detection system can be customized for you. Be sure to protect your health and working environments from the many dangers of natural gas.

Do you need an accurate and trusted detection system? Connect with our professional technicians to help you choose the best gas leak detector.

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