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Ignition Tests With A Fiber-Optic Powered Instrument
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    New types of industrial instruments use fiber-coupled law energy to power remote serum. Fiber-optic based instruments are useful in classified (hazardous) locations found in many industrial plants because the fiber provides a natural barrier against accidental electrical discharge into potentially explosive atmospheres. However, current safety standards do not cover the use of laser-powered fiber-optic instruments in potentially explosive environments such as found in coal mines. The U. S. Bureau of Mines began an investigation of laser-powered fiber-optic instruments in explosive atmospheres in support of the standards-making process. A commercial fiber-optic interface system, modified to sin relate several worst-case operating conditions, ignited explosive hydrogen-air mixtures. Worst-am simulations consisted of disabling a safety shutoff feature, operating the laser at significantly higher powers than intended for normal operations, and cleaving fiber-optic connections to direct laser energy onto selected absorptive materials. At the highest power level available, the fiber-optic interface system did not ignite selected methane-air mixtures. The obtained data should prove useful in establishing appropriate safety standards.

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