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Proceedings Paper

Microcombustor array and microflame ionization detector for hydrocarbon detection
Author(s): Matthew Moorman; Ronald P. Manginell; Christopher W. Colburn; Deborah L. Mowery-Evans; Paul G. Clem; Nelson S. Bell; Lawrence F. Anderson
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes results from using a microcombustor to create two hydrocarbon gas sensors: one utilizing calorimetry and the other a flame ionization detector (FID) mechanism. The microcombustor consists of a catalytic film deposited on the surface of a microhotplate. This micromachined design has low heat capacity and thermal conductivity, making it ideal for heating catalysts placed on its surface. The catalytic materials provide a natural surface-based method for flame ignition and stabilization and are deposited using a micropen system, which allows precise and repeatable placement of the materials. The catalytic nature of the microcombustor design expands the limits of flammability (LoF) as compared with conventional diffusion flames; an unoptimized LoF of 1-32% for natural gas in air was demonstrated with the microcombustor, whereas conventionally 4-16% is observed. The LoF for hydrogen, methane, propane and ethane are likewise expanded. Expanded LoF permit the use of this technology in applications needing reduced temperatures, lean fuel/air mixes, or low gas flows. By coupling electrodes and an electrometer circuit with the microcombustor, the first ever demonstration of a microFID utilizing premixed fuel and a catalytically-stabilized flame has been performed; the detection of 1.2-2.9 % of ethane in a hydrogen/air mix is shown.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 January 2003
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4981, MEMS Components and Applications for Industry, Automobiles, Aerospace, and Communication II, (16 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.476318
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew Moorman, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Ronald P. Manginell, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Christopher W. Colburn, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Deborah L. Mowery-Evans, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Paul G. Clem, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Nelson S. Bell, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Lawrence F. Anderson, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4981:
MEMS Components and Applications for Industry, Automobiles, Aerospace, and Communication II
Siegfried W. Janson, Editor(s)

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