A novel impedance sensor for monitoring the thickness of undesired micrometric deposits on the surfaces of water pipes and tanks is presented. Coplanar 10 μm-spaced gold microelectrodes were fouled in controlled laboratory conditions and the influence of slime on impedance response was measured. Two different sets of experiments were conducted to form slime on the electrodes surface, addressing biofilm growth and calcium carbonate precipitation, respectively. Following the formation, the thickness of the slime was characterized by Atomic Force Microscopy. Experimental tests highlighted that the impedance response is linear with to the thickness of the slime in both cases, in a 2 μm to 10 μm range. Interestingly, the slope of the response (i.e. of the ionic resistance change vs. thickness) is opposite: a decrease in the case of biofilm (-0.6 Ω/μm where the conductivity of the extracellular matrix becomes dominant) and an increase (+1.4 Ω/μm) in the case of inorganic deposits. In conclusion, this simple and robust sensor provides an accurate and selective determination of slime, while fouling and cleaning up cycles have demonstrated the possibility of regeneration. The final goal for the microsensor, once coupled to an electronic system for data processing and transmission, is the installation along the inner surface of pipes and tanks for real-time remote monitoring of long-term formation of slime with sub-micrometric thickness resolution.

Development of a Miniaturized and Selective Impedance Sensor for Real-Time Slime Monitoring in Pipes and Tanks

Turolla, Andrea;Di Mauro, Michele;Mezzera, Lorenzo;Antonelli, Manuela;Carminati, Marco
2019

Abstract

A novel impedance sensor for monitoring the thickness of undesired micrometric deposits on the surfaces of water pipes and tanks is presented. Coplanar 10 μm-spaced gold microelectrodes were fouled in controlled laboratory conditions and the influence of slime on impedance response was measured. Two different sets of experiments were conducted to form slime on the electrodes surface, addressing biofilm growth and calcium carbonate precipitation, respectively. Following the formation, the thickness of the slime was characterized by Atomic Force Microscopy. Experimental tests highlighted that the impedance response is linear with to the thickness of the slime in both cases, in a 2 μm to 10 μm range. Interestingly, the slope of the response (i.e. of the ionic resistance change vs. thickness) is opposite: a decrease in the case of biofilm (-0.6 Ω/μm where the conductivity of the extracellular matrix becomes dominant) and an increase (+1.4 Ω/μm) in the case of inorganic deposits. In conclusion, this simple and robust sensor provides an accurate and selective determination of slime, while fouling and cleaning up cycles have demonstrated the possibility of regeneration. The final goal for the microsensor, once coupled to an electronic system for data processing and transmission, is the installation along the inner surface of pipes and tanks for real-time remote monitoring of long-term formation of slime with sub-micrometric thickness resolution.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1077915
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