MQ2 Gas Sensor Working and Its Applications

Sensors are the electronic devices used for interaction with the outer environment. There are various types of sensors available that can detect light, noise, smoke, proximity etc… With the advent in technology, these are available as both analog and digital forms. Besides forming a communication with the outer environment, sensors are also a crucial part of safety systems. Fire sensors are used to detect the fire and take appropriate precautions on time. For smooth functioning of control systems and sensitive electronics, humidity sensors are used for maintaining humidity in the unit. One of such sensor used in safety systems to detect harmful gases is MQ2 Gas sensor.

What is an MQ2 Gas Sensor?

MQ2 gas sensor is an electronic sensor used for sensing the concentration of gases in the air such as LPG, propane, methane, hydrogen, alcohol, smoke and carbon monoxide.

MQ2 gas sensor is also known as chemiresistor. It contains a sensing material whose resistance changes when it comes in contact with the gas. This change in the value of resistance is used for the detection of gas.

MQ2 Gas Sensor
MQ2 Gas Sensor

MQ2 is a metal oxide semiconductor type gas sensor. Concentrations of gas in the gas is measured using a voltage divider network present in the sensor. This sensor works on 5V DC voltage. It can detect gases in the concentration of range 200 to 10000ppm.

Working Principle

This sensor contains a sensing element, mainly aluminium-oxide based ceramic, coated with Tin dioxide, enclosed in a stainless steel mesh. Sensing element has six connecting legs attached to it. Two leads are responsible for heating the sensing element, the other four are used for output signals.

Oxygen gets adsorbed on the surface of sensing material when it is heated in air at high temperature. Then donor electrons present in tin oxide are attracted towards this oxygen, thus preventing the current flow.

When reducing gases are present, these oxygen atoms react with the reducing gases thereby decreasing the surface density of the adsorbed oxygen. Now current can flow through the sensor, which generated analog voltage values.

These voltage values are measured to know the concentration of gas. Voltage values are higher when the concentration of gas is high.


These sensors are used to detect the presence of gases in the air such as methane, butane, LPG and smoke but they are unable to distinguish between gases. Thus, they cannot tell which gas it is.

Module version of this sensor can be used without interfacing to any microcontroller and is useful when detecting only one particular gas. This can only detect the gas. But if ppm has to be calculated then the sensor should be used without module.

This sensor is also used for Air quality monitoring, Gas leak alarm and for maintaining environmental standards in hospitals. In industries, these are used to detect the leakage of harmful gases.

Some of the alternatives of the MQ2 gas sensor are MQ-6, M-306A, AQ-3 sensors. To detect which gas have you used the MQ2 Gas sensor?

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