Science

Smart stir bar transmits live reports to chemists

Smart stir bar transmits live ...
The Smart Stirrer prototype
The Smart Stirrer prototype
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The Smart Stirrer prototype
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The Smart Stirrer prototype
A conventional magnetic stir bar in use
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A conventional magnetic stir bar in use

It goes without saying that as a chemist stirs a solution in their lab, they need to check how its characteristics change. A new "Smart Stirrer" has been designed with that in mind, as it automatically detects and reports transformations.

Developed by scientists at Britain's University of Warwick, the device is an advanced type of magnetic stir bar.

In its traditional form, a magnetic stir bar consists of a capsule-shaped magnet, enclosed in a plastic shell. That magnet is placed in a beaker of liquid, which is in turn set on a platform that generates a rotating magnetic field. As a result, the magnet continuously spins, stirring the liquid.

A conventional magnetic stir bar in use
A conventional magnetic stir bar in use

What sets the Smart Stirrer apart is the fact that by utilizing inexpensive, commercially available sensors, it's able to monitor the color, clarity, electrical conductivity, viscosity and temperature of a solution. Should any of those parameters change, the device wirelessly notifies its user. And because of the Stirrer's modular design, its creators claim that adding additional sensors should be relatively easy.

That said, they do note that the current prototype only works in narrow temperature range.

A paper on the research, which is being led by Nikolay Cherkasov and Dmitry Isakov, was recently published in the journal ACS Sensors.

Source: American Chemical Society

2 comments
Nobody
Will it read pH?
Mike Sztupovszky
This would be perfect if it evolved into something to check drinks in bars and pubs with