SF6 leak detection is vital for SF6 gas concentration monitoring during production, handling and use. As an incredibly potent greenhouse gas, it is important that SF6 leaks are found early to prevent excess gas escaping into the atmosphere.

What is SF6?

SF6, or sulfur hexafluoride, is a colourless, odorless synthetic gas first synthesised in France in 1900 by Henri Moissan. SF6 was found to be particularly interesting due to its chemical inertness, meaning it did not react with anything.

SF6 structure | SF6 leak detection

SF6 Gas Properties and Uses

SF6 has excellent dielectric properties, is non-flammable and is temperature resistant up to 500 °C. These favourable properties led to its use in a number of industries such as electrical transmission, electronics manufacturing, magnesium production, sound proofing between windows and more. Sportswear brand Nike even used SF6 to fill the soles of trainers to give them their bounce.

However in 1997, SF6 was named as the most potent greenhouse gas, prompting many industries began to phase out its use and international agreements were introduced to reduce SF6 emissions across the globe.

The main remaining use of SF6 is to insulate medium- and high-power voltage electrical switchgears because of its inherent stability. Other applications still in use include the switchgears in wind turbines for renewable energy and in semiconductor manufacturing.

SF6 Monitoring and the Environment

Installing SF6 leak detectors is necessary both for the safety of staff and the environment.

Whilst SF6 is non-toxic, if large quantities are released in poorly ventilated areas, there is a risk of asphyxiation.

Due to its significant global warming potential, there are strict regulations for SF6 emissions. SF6 traps heat in the atmosphere much more efficiently than CO2, so even small volumes can be hugely detrimental to the environment. The stability that benefits so many industrial applications also means that it has a very long atmospheric lifetime of over 800 years.

SF6 Gas Detector from Edinburgh Sensors

For the industries that have not yet found an alternative to SF6, one way to reduce SF6 emissions is to minimise the risk of leaks. Installing an SF6 leak detector enables the rapid identification and repair of SF6 leaks in the manufacturing, handling and applications can help to reduce SF6 released into the atmosphere.

Edinburgh Sensors offers complete solutions for SF6 monitoring. The Guardian NG Gas Monitor can be used for SF6 leak detection, using NDIR technology to detect levels of SF6 and alert users to any increases in SF6 levels with continuous monitoring and gas concentration display.

Guardian NG Gas Monitor for SF6 Leak Detection

If you would like to find out more about how the Guardian NG can be used for SF6 monitoring in your industry, get in touch with our sales team today who will be happy to help you.