Components of the new Penn State sonic gas analyzer. The sample chamber (bottle) is connected to the analyzer cell (resonator) by a sealed fan (pump) that circulates the gas mixture through the system.
Penn State researchers have developed a prototype sonic gas analyzer that automatically and continuously tracks the concentration of a gas in an air/gas mixture based on changes in pitch.
Miguel Horta, doctoral candidate in acoustics who is currently working on the sonic gas analyzer as part of his dissertation, says, "The system automatically cancels out the background and flow noise and can detect changes in gas concentration as low as 0.003 percent – plenty sensitive enough, for example, to let you know if you’ve got an explosive mixture."
The Penn State researchers are developing the current prototype to track continuously the concentrations of hydrogen produced by bacteria in microbial fuel cells (MFC). In MFCs, bacteria feed on the organic matter in wastewater and produce hydrogen for use as fuel while simultaneously cleaning the water.
Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
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