Amphenol-Villanova partnership for innovation in the calibration of CO2 sensors to increase throughput: a computational and experimental approach

Principal investigator: Calvin Li and Alfonso Ortega

University: Villanova University

Industry partner: Amphenol Advanced Sensors

The Villanova team will partner with Amphenol to investigate potential methods for improving/replacing the existing CO2 sensor batch calibration process at Amphenol by a faster and more economical process. Typical calibration of current method is performed at a steady state for each individual set point of temperature and concentration, which requires 24 hours and a large quantity of CO2 gas for each calibration batch. The proposed research will utilize a combined computational and experimental approach to investigate possible innovations in the calibration process that would decrease the calibration time in current process by reducing the time needed for reaching steady state and the quantity of CO2 consumption. Moreover, a transient calibration process will be studied to replace the current batch process for an even shorter calibration time. We will first investigate the nature of CO2 uptake into the sensor by a detailed exploration of the sensor geometry for CO2 species transport using the multi-physics code COMSOLTM. Then we will perform conjugate fluid-solid thermal analysis identify scenarios for reducing calibration time. Based on the findings of simulations, we will construct a prototype benchtop system that will be used to deliver thermally controlled CO2 gas mixtures to a single sensor in the optimum flow configurations. In addition to shortening the current calibration process, we will investigate a transient calibration method for CO2 NDIR sensors. First, we will investigate methods for extracting a sensor calibration from the dynamic response. Then, we will explore the development of an approximate physics-based model of the response that can be used to fit the experimental data, and we will compare the transient calibrations to steady state calibrations for significantly reduction of time duration in calibration process.