How Combustible Gas Detectors Work


To understand how combustible gas detectors work, one must first understand that there are two main types of combustible gas detectors: infrared and catalytic.

Infrared sensors use an invisible beam of infrared light, much like a laser pointer or remote control, between a light transmitter and a light receiver to detect the presence of combustible gases.

When a gas passes through the beam of infrared light, the beam is distorted and the detector’s built-in computer system can recognize what kind of gas it is based on the way the light is distorted.

Catalytic sensors use a copper wire coated in platinum to oxidize any gases that happen to come in contact with it, producing a low level of heat that changes the wire’s resistance.

Again, the detector’s built-in computer can indicate the change in resistance and set off an alarm.