NOx - A nitrogen oxide sensor or NOx sensor is typically a high-temperature device built to detect nitrogen oxides in combustion environments such as engines.
NOx sensors have been developed and commercialized by NGK and its cooperation partner Continental which is making the final sensor module including sensor and electronics.
To make engines more environmentally friendly, manufacturers are focusing on direct injection that can be operated within the lean range when run at partial load. That entails 12 to 20 percent less consumption - however it also requires a special NOx storage catalytic converter and an NOx sensor.
NOx sensors are distinguished by the highest level of precision and reliability in the regeneration of the NOx storage catalytic converter.
Diesel NOx sensors
Diesel NOx sensors are dual-purpose, in that they are used to measure both the oxygen level in the exhaust as well as NOx (NO and NO2) content. The measurements take place in two separate chambers in the sensor, and the exhaust gases flow sequentially through one and then into the other. Gases flow from the exhaust stream through a diffusion barrier to reach the first chamber, which “pumps” the free oxygen out using a Nernst cell (simple oxygen sensor).
With the free oxygen removed, the NOx is then left to migrate through another diffusion barrier and into the second measurement chamber. At this point, the NOx molecules encounter a catalytic element, which breaks them into nitrogen and oxygen gases. A second Nernst cell is then used to pump the newly-generated oxygen out of the chamber, and this electric current is used to calculate the NOx levels in the exhaust. The residual nitrogen gases then flow out an exit port in the second measurement chamber.
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