Cement is the core component of concrete used throughout many processes and industries, especially in construction. With the increased demand for more construction worldwide, there is a higher need for concrete as it is a universally used building component.
During cement and concrete production, gases are produced that could harm humans and the environment, and gas detection solutions must be utilized for safety and monitoring purposes. Studies indicate that 4-8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from cement production. There are several methods within concrete production that can increase the risk of exposure to harmful gases. For example, to produce one of the critical components in cement, lime (CaO), fossil fuels are burnt to heat a rotary kiln and the process of converting limestone (CaCO3) to lime occurs. The limestone conversion process and burning of fossil fuels emit large amounts of CO2.
The various processes in cement plants result in toxic emissions being released into the environment and producing a high amount of CO2 and other gases. CO2 is a common toxic gas found in a variety of industries and their processes. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, non-flammable gas that can be hard to detect without proper equipment. Exposure to CO2 can produce a variety of health effects, such as headaches, dizziness, restlessness, tingling or pins and needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, coma, asphyxia, and convulsions. Risks for industrial applications depend on the length of exposure and the concentration of the gas. The different effects at various concentrations are listed below:
- 400 ppm: average outdoor air level.
- 400–1,000 ppm: typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange.
- 1,000–2,000 ppm: level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air quality.
- 2,000–5,000 ppm: level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air. Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.
- 5,000 ppm: this indicates unusual air conditions where high levels of other gases could also be present. Toxicity or oxygen deprivation could occur. This is the permissible exposure limit for daily workplace exposures.
- 40,000 ppm: this level is immediately harmful due to oxygen deprivation.
Gas detection systems can identify and monitor leaks at both low and high levels, allowing plant managers to monitor emissions for the safety of the employees and the company. Although gas detectors are a crucial piece of equipment, to further reduce the likelihood of gas leaks, equipment and piping should be regularly maintained and upgraded as soon as necessary to avoid risks.
Safety is our top priority, which is why Otis Instruments offer a variety of Wired and WireFree easy-to-use, robust and configurable gas detectors. Made in the USA, our high-quality products are capable of detecting both toxic and non-toxic gases for diverse applications. If you would like more information about gas detection solutions for concrete production or would like assistance regarding gas detection for your application, contact our team today.