alternative refrigerants, detector, fire safety, flammability, MOS
Owing to concerns about climate change, many jurisdictions are phasing out high global warming potential refrigerants in HVAC&R systems. Their near-term replacements are class A2L (mildly-flammable) refrigerants. Area monitoring detectors will be required for most future residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC systems that use these refrigerants. UL Standard 60335-2-40 requires these detectors to have a set-point of 25% of the lower flammability limit (LFL) and to detect the set-point within 10 s when exposed to a gas mixture at the LFL. Inexpensive detectors that meet these requirements do not exist, which has delayed the adoption of A2L refrigerants. A technology with good potential is based on metal-oxide semiconductors (MOS). MOS detectors are tested here, considering their response to leaks of R-32 and R-454B. They are characterized here for their sensitivity, response time, false alarms from contaminants, and poisoning. The sensors have good sensitivity with a steady-state output that is linear with respect to the logarithm of concentration. The sensors fail narrowly to meet the 10 s response time requirement for both R-32 and R-454B. The sensors do not alarm when exposed to the contaminants in the standard. However, several of the contaminants do poison the sensors, at least temporarily.