ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

Biomedical applications

Optically monitoring fumes from steel welding

The Center for Photonics Technology (CPT) is developing fiber-optic-based technology to monitor welding fumes in real time.

Welding fumes are one of the major health hazards for construction workers, according to the National Occupational Research Agenda. Prolonged exposure to welding fumes may lead to respiratory illness and increase the risk of lung cancer. With current technology, detecting dangerous levels of these fumes is time-consuming, and requires first collecting a sample and then analyzing it.

Yong Xu and Anbo Wang are working with Zhiwen Liu of Penn State to develop a system to continuously monitor sites for harmful levels of fumes. Using a novel combination of fiber technology, optical spectroscopy, and signal processing, the team plans to capture the optical signatures of welding fumes, allowing them to develop cost-effective systems for monitoring these fumes on-site.

The project is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.