CO is a colorless, tasteless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable by humans without using detection technology.
Elevated levels of CO can be dangerous to humans depending on the amount present and length of exposure. Smaller concentrations can be harmful over longer periods of time while increasing concentrations require diminishing exposure times to be harmful.
Electrochemical Gas Detector
This is a type of fuel cell that instead of being designed to produce power, is designed to produce a signal current that is precisely related to the amount of the target gas (in this case carbon monoxide) in the atmosphere. Measurement of the current gives a measure of the concentration of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.
Essentially the electrochemical cell consists of a container, two electrodes, connection wires and an electrolyte - typically sulfuric acid. Carbon monoxide is oxidized at one electrode to carbon dioxide while oxygen is consumed at the other electrode. For carbon monoxide detection, the electrochemical cell has advantages over other technologies in that it has a highly accurate and linear output to carbon monoxide concentration, requires minimal power as it is operated at room temperature, and has a long lifetime (typically commercial available cells now have lifetimes of five years or greater)