[abstract] ON-LINE AIR QUALITY MONITORS FOR DIVING COMPRESSORS

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[abstract] ON-LINE AIR QUALITY MONITORS FOR DIVING COMPRESSORS

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Title: [abstract] ON-LINE AIR QUALITY MONITORS FOR DIVING COMPRESSORS
Author: Lillo, RS; Caldwell, JM
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The U.S. Navy currently requires semiannual air purity testing of compressors used to supply divers air in the fleet. A shore-based laboratory analyzes gas samples collected in the field before reporting pass/fail results back to the field. This approach is cumbersome and potentially unreliable, and it does not guarantee acceptable air during the six months between air testing. Therefore, we proceeded to identify commercially available instruments capable of continuous on-line monitoring of compressor air for possible use by the U.S. Navy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: To determine likely patterns of compressor contamination, we reviewed past data from Navy air compressors and analyzed recent air samples with reported elevated total hydrocarbons (HCs) with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). A market search for monitors was performed and candidate monitors acquired. These monitors were tested in the laboratory for their ability to measure O2, CO2, CO, and volatile organic compounds. RESULTS: Review of results from approx 2800 samples from Navy air compressors revealed an approx 6 percent failure rate for meeting the U.S. Navy standard for diving air. The most common failures were CO (2.5percent of samples) and CO2 (2.1percent). GC/MS results from 36 elevated-HC samples showed (1) nearly all HC elevations were related to intake air quality and (2) the current practice of expressing total HCs in methane-equivalent values was of limited use. No commercially available air monitors meeting the Navy requirements were found. Consequently, we interested a few manufacturers in developing prototype monitors for our evaluation. Two candidate monitors have now completed several cycles of testing followed by manufacturer modifications to correct some performance problems. CONCLUSIONS: Final laboratory testing of the two candidate on-line air monitors is underway. Results will allow a decision about advancing one or both of these instruments to field testing.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/1636
Date: 2005

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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