July 16, 2020

What Common Household Device Was Originally Created for NASA’s Skylab Space Station?

An example of an Allied Signal/Honeywell light-scattering smoke detector used in the ISS.

Response: Smoke Detectors

In thousands and thousands of homes around the planet, there are straightforward and reasonably priced smoke detectors that use a radioactive isotope of Americium-241 to detect smoke’s incredibly fine particulate in the air and audio a everyday living-preserving alarm.

This affordable and conveniently offered smoke detector style was invented in the 1970s by the Honeywell Company at the behest of none other than NASA. The space company desired smaller and lengthy-lived equipment that would detect smoke and poisonous gases aboard the Skylab room station, a area where by early detection of smoke, fireplace, or over-all deterioration of air excellent was completely important.

By the conclude of the 1970s, the job yielded an additional innovation in smoke detection, the photoelectric smoke detector (which detects smoke particulate with a gentle sensor). Later on, corporations would incorporate the two detection varieties to produce a a lot more economical smoke detector because the two approaches had been identified to be much more sensitive to various varieties of smoke and fire.

According to the Nationwide Hearth Safety Association, mix smoke detectors are the most powerful due to the fact photoelectric sensors excel at detecting fires that begin with slow smoldering flames and ionization sensors excel at detecting fires where there isn’t a large amount of smoke promptly seen (as the ionization sensor detects other chemical by-products of the combustion course of action).

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