Flame Detection Technology

How to determine the right products for your flammable hazard monitoring needs.


Principles of Flame Detection

Today’s flame detectors utilize optical technologies to detect flames. Flames are known to emit electromagnetic radiation in the infrared (IR), visible light, and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths depending on the fuel source. Because of this, optical flame-sensing technologies have been developed utilizing UV, UV/IR and multi-spectrum infrared. These products rely on line-of-site detection of the radiation emitted in the spectral bands to determine if a flame is real.

Performance Criteria

Fuel Types

Consider whether the potential flame you are looking to detect will be hydrocarbon based or non-organic. With Hydrocarbon flames, a combination of methane and oxygen produce carbon dioxide and water. This type of fire creates a UV signal reading at 0.2 microns and IR signal reading at 2.7 microns and 4.5 microns. Hydrogen flames only produce water molecules and therefore we do not see the same CO2 peak that a hydrocarbon flame is known to produce.


False Alarm Rejection

Environmental conditions such as sunlight, lightning, hot objects and other non-flame sources can cause false alarms. It is critical that the flame detector is able to distinguish between an actual fire and a false radiation source.


Detection Range

Flame detection technologies effectively recognize a flame at different distances. It is important to utilize a detector that can operate within your required detection range.


Field of View

Optical flame detectors come with a “field of view” range, similar to the lens on a camera. Taking the field of view range into account will help determine how many detectors are needed to cover an installation or a specific area within the installation.

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