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.
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.