Newly Developed Device to Detect Lead in Contaminated Water

Newly developed device to detect lead in contaminated water

Lead detecting device, created by a young scientist, has future potential of detecting contamination in water, according to ABC News in November 2017.

The flint crisis and the appalling number of people being affected by lead contamination in water, triggered a spark in the mind of an 11-year-old girl, inspiring her to create a lead-detecting device. This device has the potential of saving many lives by detecting contaminated water.

The conventional procedure of detecting contaminated water is slow and ineffective. Whereas, the newly created device is portable and inexpensive.

It was created to detect lead compounds in water, consuming less amount of time as compared to the conventional procedure.

The young inventor of the device revealed that her device consists of three parts. It has a disposable cartridge, an Arduino-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment, and a smartphone app to display the results.

The cartridge contains a carbon nanotube, which is sensitive to the fluctuations in the flow of the electrons. The tubes are lined with atoms that have a close affinity with lead, which in turns, adds a measurable resistance to the electron flow.

When this cartridge is dipped into clean water, the electron flow does not change, reflecting safe-to-drink water in the smartphone application. However, when the same cartridge is dipped in contaminated water, the lead in the water reacts to the atoms on the tubes of the cartridge, causing resistance in the electron flow. The level of resistance is measured by the Arduino processor, in turn reflecting in the mobile application that the water is not safe to drink.

“The tool allows easy testing at home or by agencies for quick detection and remedial actions. It can be expanded in the future to test for other chemical contaminants in potable water. I hope this helps in a small way to detect and prevent long-term health effects of lead contamination for many of us.” Said Gitanjali Rao, the inventor of this device.

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