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Title: Small, Inexpensive Combined NOx Sensor and O2 Sensor

Abstract

It has been successfully demonstrated in this program that a zirconia multilayer structure with rhodium-based porous electrodes performs well as an amperometric NOx sensor. The sensitivity of the sensor bodies operating at 650 to 700 C is large, with demonstrated current outputs of 14 mA at 500 ppm NOx from sensors with 30 layers. The sensor bodies are small (4.5 x 4.2 x 3.1 mm), rugged, and inexpensive. It is projected the sensor bodies will cost $5 - $10 in production. This program has built on another successful development program for an oxygen sensor based on the same principles and sponsored by DOE. This oxygen sensor is not sensitive to NOx. A significant technical hurdle has been identified and solved. It was found that the 100% Rh electrodes oxidize rapidly at the preferred operating temperatures of 650 - 700 C, and this oxidation is accompanied by a volume change which delaminates the sensors. The problem was solved by using alloys of Rh and Pt. It was found that a 10%/90% Rh/Pt alloy dropped the oxidation rate of the electrodes by orders of magnitude without degrading the NOx sensitivity of the sensors, allowing long-term stable operation at the preferred operating temperatures.more » Degradation in the sensor output caused by temperature cycling was identified as a change in resistance at the junction between the sensor body and the external leads attached to the sensor body. The degradation was eliminated by providing strong mechanical anchors for the wire and processing the junctions to obtain good electrical bonds. The NOx sensors also detect oxygen and therefore the fully-packaged sensor needs to be enclosed with an oxygen sensor in a small, heated zirconia chamber exposed to test gas through a diffusion plug which limits the flow of gas from the outside. Oxygen is pumped from the interior of the chamber to lower the oxygen content and the combination of measurements from the NOx and oxygen sensors yields the NOx content of the gas. Two types of electronic control units were designed and built. One control unit provides independent constant voltages to the NOx and oxygen sensors and reads the current from them (that is, detects the amount of test gas present). The second controller holds the fully-assembled sensor at the desired operating temperature and controllably pumps excess oxygen from the test chamber. While the development of the sensor body was a complete success, the development of the packaging was only partially successful. All of the basic principles were demonstrated, but the packaging was too complex to optimize the operation within the resources of the program. Thus, no fully-assembled sensors were sent to outside labs for testing of cross-sensitivities, response times, etc. Near the end of the program, Sensata Technologies of Attleboro, MA tested the sensor bodies and confirmed the CeramPhysics measurements as indicated in the following attached letter. Sensata was in the process of designing their own packaging for the sensor and performing cross-sensitivity tests when they stopped all sensor development work due to the automotive industry downturn. Recently Ceramatec Inc. of Salt Lake City has expressed an interest in testing the sensor, and other licensing opportunities are being pursued.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
CeramPhysics, Inc., 921 Eastwind Drive, Suite 110, Westerville, OH 43081
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
936782
Report Number(s):
DOE/AL/67632-1
TRN: US201006%%471
DOE Contract Number:  
FC04-02AL67632
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; ALLOYS; AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY; DIFFUSION; ELECTRODES; LICENSING; OXIDATION; OXYGEN; PACKAGING; PROCESSING; PRODUCTION; SENSITIVITY; TESTING; NOx Sensor, Amperometric Sensor, Zirconia, Rhodium Electrodes

Citation Formats

Lawless, W N, and Clark, Jr, C F. Small, Inexpensive Combined NOx Sensor and O2 Sensor. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.2172/936782.
Lawless, W N, & Clark, Jr, C F. Small, Inexpensive Combined NOx Sensor and O2 Sensor. United States. doi:10.2172/936782.
Lawless, W N, and Clark, Jr, C F. Mon . "Small, Inexpensive Combined NOx Sensor and O2 Sensor". United States. doi:10.2172/936782. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/936782.
@article{osti_936782,
title = {Small, Inexpensive Combined NOx Sensor and O2 Sensor},
author = {Lawless, W N and Clark, Jr, C F},
abstractNote = {It has been successfully demonstrated in this program that a zirconia multilayer structure with rhodium-based porous electrodes performs well as an amperometric NOx sensor. The sensitivity of the sensor bodies operating at 650 to 700 C is large, with demonstrated current outputs of 14 mA at 500 ppm NOx from sensors with 30 layers. The sensor bodies are small (4.5 x 4.2 x 3.1 mm), rugged, and inexpensive. It is projected the sensor bodies will cost $5 - $10 in production. This program has built on another successful development program for an oxygen sensor based on the same principles and sponsored by DOE. This oxygen sensor is not sensitive to NOx. A significant technical hurdle has been identified and solved. It was found that the 100% Rh electrodes oxidize rapidly at the preferred operating temperatures of 650 - 700 C, and this oxidation is accompanied by a volume change which delaminates the sensors. The problem was solved by using alloys of Rh and Pt. It was found that a 10%/90% Rh/Pt alloy dropped the oxidation rate of the electrodes by orders of magnitude without degrading the NOx sensitivity of the sensors, allowing long-term stable operation at the preferred operating temperatures. Degradation in the sensor output caused by temperature cycling was identified as a change in resistance at the junction between the sensor body and the external leads attached to the sensor body. The degradation was eliminated by providing strong mechanical anchors for the wire and processing the junctions to obtain good electrical bonds. The NOx sensors also detect oxygen and therefore the fully-packaged sensor needs to be enclosed with an oxygen sensor in a small, heated zirconia chamber exposed to test gas through a diffusion plug which limits the flow of gas from the outside. Oxygen is pumped from the interior of the chamber to lower the oxygen content and the combination of measurements from the NOx and oxygen sensors yields the NOx content of the gas. Two types of electronic control units were designed and built. One control unit provides independent constant voltages to the NOx and oxygen sensors and reads the current from them (that is, detects the amount of test gas present). The second controller holds the fully-assembled sensor at the desired operating temperature and controllably pumps excess oxygen from the test chamber. While the development of the sensor body was a complete success, the development of the packaging was only partially successful. All of the basic principles were demonstrated, but the packaging was too complex to optimize the operation within the resources of the program. Thus, no fully-assembled sensors were sent to outside labs for testing of cross-sensitivities, response times, etc. Near the end of the program, Sensata Technologies of Attleboro, MA tested the sensor bodies and confirmed the CeramPhysics measurements as indicated in the following attached letter. Sensata was in the process of designing their own packaging for the sensor and performing cross-sensitivity tests when they stopped all sensor development work due to the automotive industry downturn. Recently Ceramatec Inc. of Salt Lake City has expressed an interest in testing the sensor, and other licensing opportunities are being pursued.},
doi = {10.2172/936782},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {9}
}