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CO – General Information, CO Gas Sensors & Relevant Applications

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas. Discover all the info about this gas and about the CO sensors from Wi.Tec-Sensorik ...

Table of Contents

General information on CO / Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas. It is produced, among other things, during the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing substances with insufficient oxygen supply. Carbon monoxide is combustible and burns with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. In combustion processes, CO is an important indicator of the efficiency of combustion.The measurement of CO concentration is used, among other things, in stationary and mobile emission monitoring (CEMS) and in limit value monitoring.

Properties for Carbon monoxide (CO)

The molecular weight of carbon monoxide (CO) is about 28.01 g/mol.

  • Colorless: CO is an invisible gas.
  • Odor and taste: CO is odorless and tasteless.
  • Non-irritant: CO does not irritate the respiratory tract, which means it often goes unnoticed.
  • Lighter than air: carbon monoxide has a lower density than air and can therefore disperse in a room.
  • Toxic: CO binds with high affinity to hemoglobin in the blood, which impairs oxygen transport in the body and can lead to serious health problems or even death.
  • Combustible: In high concentrations, CO is flammable.
  • Sources of formation: CO is formed during incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fuels such as wood, coal, gasoline, natural gas, and oil.
  • Water soluble: At room temperature and atmospheric pressure, about 0.03 g of CO dissolves in one liter of water

Application examples for CO

  • Syngas production: CO is often referred to as synthesis gas or “syngas” in combination with hydrogen. This gas mixture serves as an intermediate in the production of ammonia, methanol and other chemicals.
  • Fischer-Tropsch synthesis: CO and hydrogen can be used in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to produce liquid hydrocarbons that can serve as fuel or chemical intermediates.
  • Reducing agent in metallurgy: CO can be used as a reducing agent in metallurgy, especially in iron production in blast furnaces. Here it reduces iron oxide (Fe2O3) to iron.
  • Acid acid production: CO is used in the Cativa process to produce acid acid from methanol.
  • Phosgene production: CO is used to produce phosgene, which is used in the production of polyurethanes and other plastics and chemicals.
  • Carbonyl metal complexes: In organometallic chemistry, carbonyl-metal complexes such as nickel carbonyl and iron pentacarbonyl are often prepared with CO directly bonded to metals.
  • Detection gas: In some calibrated gas mixtures, CO is used as a detection or calibration gas.
  • Neurotransmitter: There is evidence that CO acts as a neurotransmitter in very small amounts in the human body, similar to nitric oxide (NO).

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it imperceptible.

Gas sensors from Wi.Tec-Sensorik for the precise measurement of CO

Overview Products and Measurement Ranges

  Measuring range (*)
INFRA.sens® AK5
INFRA.sens® AK50
INFRA.sens® AK100
INFRA.sens® AK250
INFRA.sens® AK20
INFRA.sens® AK250 TBH – high precision NDIR Gas Sensor for CO and CO2
(*) Full scale value (F.S.)
For other measuring ranges please refer to our further datasheets

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Some relevant Applications to CO

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  • The employees of Wi.Tec-Sensorik GmbH have extensive expertise in the field of industrial gas measurement technology and sensor signal processing.
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