Tracer gas systems for the measurement of ventilation characteristics

Project No. BIA 3066


completed 12/2001


Ventilation systems are employed to reduce the concentrations of hazardous substances at workplaces. Such systems encompass ventilation and the capture of hazardous substances. The technical measures must be classified with regard to their function, and their effectiveness can be assessed by means of measurable characteristic quantities. Tracer gas measurement technology can be used to evaluate the performance of the measures.


A mobile tracer gas measurement system for in-plant study of ventilation systems was developed by the BG institute for occupational safety (BIA) in conjunction with a manufacturer. The equipment comprises a central unit (metering station for the tracer gas, radio signal receiver, and computer system) and six measurement units. Each measurement unit comprises an infrared analyser for sulphur hexafluoride, a data logger to which additional sensors (for example for the measurement of temperature and relative atmospheric humidity) can be connected, and a station for transmission of the data to the central unit. The metering station for the tracer gas, the radio signal receiver and the computer system are housed in the central unit. Sulphur hexafluoride is employed as the tracer gas. Alternatively, the gas can also be introduced into the airflows and metered over a wide concentration range through four mass-flow controllers.


The measurement system was used for initial studies both in the BG institute for occupational safety (BIA), and in a number of plants. The objective of the studies was to establish the suitability of the system for the determination of the local air exchange rates in different areas. The system was used to study flow paths of hazardous substances in buildings and the degree of capture of exhaust facilities, and to evaluate the ventilation of production areas.

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Gefahrstoffe


Klima, Messverfahren

Description, key words:

ventilation, tracer gas measurement systems, ventilation efficiency, air exchange rates, age of the air, air routing