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Premnormative research on the use of optics in potentially explosive atmospheres

Funded under: FP5-GROWTH


Optical sensors and communications networks in hazardous plants are increasingly replacing their electrically operated equivalents. Optical sensors are unaffected by electrical or magnetic interference and are therefore sometimes easier to make safe in hazardous atmospheres provided transmitted power or energy is appropriately limited. A previous EC supported project identified the most likely hazard as light falling on dust or fibres (the target) and causing a local temperature rise. That project resulted in a recommendation for safe levels of continuous optical power for even the most easily ignited gases.

No significant departures from the workprogramme agreed at the start of the project were required although many experimental problems had to be overcome, resulting in a need to change the design of test equipment. Like the previous project, the results are distilled from the conditions needed to just cause, or just fail to cause, explosions in test chambers; many thousands of individual tests were made with about half of them resulting in actual explosions. As well as making measurements of the hazardous optical irradiation, the results were used to construct mathematical models to make possible the prediction of the hazards presented by other gases. Information has been provided to standards committees during the project as well as in detailed recommendations, which form part of this report. .

Additional information

Authors: CARLETON F B, Imperial College, London (GB);BOTHE H, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), (DE);PROUST C, INERSIS (FR);HAWKSWORTH S, HSL, (GB)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19617 EN (2000) 145 pp.
Availability: Available free of charge from Documentation Service, DG Research
ISBN: ISBN 92-828-9598-X
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