Nav: Home

BFU scientists developed tungsten-based hydrogen detectors

February 11, 2019

A team of physicists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University together with their colleagues from National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (NRNU MEPhI) developed a tungsten oxide-based detector of hydrogen in gas mixes. They manufactured thin tungsten oxide films with various additives and compared their characteristics. One of the film detectors demonstrated a 100 times increase in sensitivity when compared to a control sample. The article was published in the Thin Solid Films journal.

Hydrogen is one of the most widely used gases in the world. Its molecules have the smallest possible mass and size. Due to this, hydrogen is extremely difficult to keep in any vessel, as it leaks from almost any opening. Hydrogen leakages are very dangerous for the industry, as hydrogen mixed with oxygen forms an explosive cocktail known as the detonating gas. With the development of hydrogen energy sector the prevention of leakages became a burning issue. Moreover, hydrogen is actively used in chemical industry and in controlled nuclear fusion experiments.

To prevent hydrogen leakages, its concentration in an industrial facility should be constantly monitored. Usually it is done with gas detectors of various types, the most popular of which are amperometric analyzers. They are based on the ability of gases to change the electrical conductivity of metals upon contact with them. In the course of measurements fixed voltage is applied to the ends of a metal plate, and a device measures the strength of current going through it. As the strength of current directly depends on the conductivity of a material, when the concentration of hydrogen increases, it changes as well. The sensitivity of measurements is determined by the properties of the sensor, i.e. the plate under voltage.

BFU scientists together with their colleagues from NRNU MEPhI studied new materials based on tungsten oxide (WOx). One of them was obtained by means of depositing WOx on a silicone carbide (SiC) substrate. Another material was developed in the same manner, but the tungsten oxide layer was covered with additional platinum coating. Then the scientists determined the sensitivity of the two films by applying voltage to them and putting them into an oxygen environment. After that 2% of hydrogen were added to it. The material without the platinum coating demonstrated a 15 times increase in the current strength compared to pure tungsten oxide. When the same property was measured in the second material, it showed a 100 times increase.

"We have studied nanomaterials that may be used as a basis for hydrogen leakage sensors. In the course of our work we identified the requirements for the structural properties of these materials that should secure high gas detecting efficiency," says Dr. Alexander Goikhman, a co-author of the work and the head of the Research and Educational Center "Functional Nanomaterials".
-end-


Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University

Related Hydrogen Articles:

World's fastest hydrogen sensor could pave the way for clean hydrogen energy
Hydrogen is a clean and renewable energy carrier that can power vehicles, with water as the only emission.
Chemical hydrogen storage system
Hydrogen is a highly attractive, but also highly explosive energy carrier, which requires safe, lightweight and cheap storage as well as transportation systems.
Observing hydrogen's effects in metal
Microscopy technique could help researchers design safer reactor vessels or hydrogen storage tanks.
The 'Batman' in hydrogen fuel cells
In a study published in Nature on Jan. 31, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) report advances in the development of hydrogen fuel cells that could increase its application in vehicles, especially in extreme temperatures like cold winters.
Paving the way for more efficient hydrogen cars
Hydrogen-powered vehicles emit only water vapor from their tailpipes, offering a cleaner alternative to fossil-fuel-based transportation.
More Hydrogen News and Hydrogen Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...