CleanAir Blog

Using High-Definition Infrared Optical Gas Imaging for N2O Leak Detection

Written by Lonnie Rouse | Sep 5, 2018

Infrared cameras are typically perceived as tools for hydrocarbon detection. However, with the proper equipment, they can be used for a variety of chemical detection projects. CleanAir helped a whipped cream manufacturer who experienced significant releases of nitrous oxide (N2O) in their production process. The leaks created a hazardous work environment and frequent production shutdowns. They employed a manually intensive leak detection method using a soapy mixture to identify the source of the leak.

Benefits Of FLIR Cameras

CleanAir supplied an Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) solution using a FLIR camera with interchangeable band-pass filters. As opposed to the manual soap approach. Unlike the well-known FLIR GasFind cameras that have fixed filters for specific compounds. The FLIR SC8313 camera can be fitted with filters for a wide range of compounds – both hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon. This camera provides rapid frame-rate and high definition images. Thus, enabling low detection limits for small leak detection.

Drawbacks Of FLIR Cameras

Flexibility and high resolution come at a price, though. One of the disadvantages of the camera is that it is fairly large and not as portable as the GasFind cameras. It is designed to be used in a fixed position in a laboratory or other workspace. For this application, CleanAir designed a custom mobility solution allowing the camera to move from a stationary position in a lab out onto the production floor and be deployed as a mobile leak detector.

This custom OGI system allowed the identification and repair of many N2O leaks across the production line. Short-term fixes were then put in place to either decrease or eliminate the leaks. Periodic inspections are still being conducted until longer-term solutions are implemented.