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Improved breath alcohol analysis with use of carbon dioxide as the tracer gas
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (ISS)
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

State-of-the-art breath analysers require a prolonged expiration into a mouthpiece to obtain the accuracy required for evidential testing and screening of the alcohol concentration. This requirement is unsuitable for breath analysers used as alcolock owing to their frequent use and the fact that the majority of users are sober drivers; as well as for breath testing in uncooperative persons.

This thesis presents a method by which breath alcohol analysis can be improved, using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the tracer gas, offering quality control of the breath sample, enabling the mouthpiece to be eliminated, and bringing about a significant reduction in the time and effort required for a breath alcohol screening test. With simultaneous measurement of the ethanol and the CO2 concentrations in the expired breath, the end-expiratory breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) can be estimated from an early measurement, without risk of underestimation.

Comparison of CO2 and water (H2O) as possible tracer gases has shown that the larger intra- and inter-individual variations in the (end-expiratory) concentration is a drawback for CO2 whereas the advantages are a low risk of underestimation of the BrAC, and the limited influence from ambient conditions on the measured CO2 concentration. The latter is considered to be of importance because the applications likely imply that the breath tests will be conducted in an uncontrolled environment, e.g., in a vehicle or ambulance. In emergency care, the measurement of the expired CO2 concentration also provides the physicians with information about the patient's respiratory function.

My hope and belief, is that with a more simple, reliable and, user-friendly test procedure, enabled with the simultaneous measurement of the CO2 in the breath sample, the screening for breath alcohol will increase. An increased number of breath alcohol analysers installed as alcolocks and more breath alcohol tests conducted in emergency care, is likely to save lives and diminish the number and severity of injuries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2010.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 83
Research subject
Electronics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9743ISBN: 978-91-86135-77-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-9743DiVA: diva2:323366
Public defence
2010-09-10, Milos, Mälardalens Högskola, Västerås, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-06-10 Created: 2010-06-10 Last updated: 2010-07-07Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Methodology investigation of expirograms for enabling contact free breath alcohol analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Methodology investigation of expirograms for enabling contact free breath alcohol analysis
2009 (English)In: Journal of Breath Research, ISSN 1752-7155, Vol. 3, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present techniques for breath alcohol determination have usability limitations concerning practical use and the time and effort required for the test person. The rationale of the physiological assumptions in a recently demonstrated technique for breath analysis without a mouthpiece is investigated in this paper. Expirograms quantifying ethanol, carbon dioxide (CO(2)) and water (H(2)O) from 30 test subjects were analysed, with respect to the influence of individual variations in end-expiratory CO(2) and H(2)O concentrations, and possible benefits from simultaneous measurement of CO(2) or H(2)O. Both healthy subjects and patients suffering from pulmonary diseases performed breath tests with small and maximum volume expiration. The breath tests were recorded basically with a standard evidential instrument using infrared absorption spectroscopy, and equipped with a mouthpiece. Average concentrations were significantly higher for the maximum than for the small expirations. For the maximum expirations, the healthy subjects had a significantly higher end-expired PCO(2) of 4.4 +/- 0.5 kPa (mean +/- standard deviation) than the patients (3.9 +/- 0.7 kPa). The corresponding values for H(2)O were 39 +/- 1 and 38 +/- 1 mg l(-1). The results indicate that the CO(2) variability is consistent with the requirements of accuracy for alcohol ignition interlocks. In addition, CO(2) as tracer gas is preferable to H(2)O due to its low concentration in ambient air. In instruments for evidential purposes H(2)O may be required as tracer gas for increased accuracy. Furthermore, the study provides support for early determination of breath alcohol concentration, indicating that determination after 2 s will introduce an additional random error of 0.02 mg l(-1) or less. 

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9327 (URN)10.1088/1752-7155/3/3/036002 (DOI)000283125800004 ()2-s2.0-68149147227 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2010-03-03 Created: 2010-03-03 Last updated: 2013-07-05Bibliographically approved
2. Influence from breathing pattern on alcohol and tracer gas expirograms - implications for alcolock use
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Influence from breathing pattern on alcohol and tracer gas expirograms - implications for alcolock use
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9706 (URN)
Available from: 2010-06-08 Created: 2010-06-08 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved
3. Breath Analyzer for Alcolocks and Screening Devices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Breath Analyzer for Alcolocks and Screening Devices
Show others...
2010 (English)In: IEEE Sensors Journal, ISSN 1530-437X, E-ISSN 1558-1748, Vol. 10, no 1, 10-15 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Alcolocks and alcohol screening devices are becoming commonplace, and their use is expected to grow rapidly with cost reduction and improved usability. A new breath analyzer prototype is demonstrated, with the prospects of eliminating the mouthpiece, reducing expiration time and volume, improving long-term stability, and reducing life cycle cost. Simultaneous CO measurements compensate for the sample dilution and unsaturated expiration. Infrared transmission spectroscopy is used for both the alcohol and CO measurement, yet the entire system is contained within a small handheld unit. Experimental results are reported on the device sensitivity, linearity, resolution, and influence from varying measuring distance. The correlation between early and full-time sampling was established in 60 subjects. Basic concept verification was obtained, whereas resolution and selectivity still needs to be improved. Further improvements are expected by system optimization and integration.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9701 (URN)10.1109/JSEN.2009.2035204 (DOI)000272608200003 ()2-s2.0-72349091736 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2010-06-08 Created: 2010-06-08 Last updated: 2012-07-03Bibliographically approved
4. Improved breath alcohol analysis in patients with depressed consciousness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Improved breath alcohol analysis in patients with depressed consciousness
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9705 (URN)
Available from: 2010-06-08 Created: 2010-06-08 Last updated: 2016-02-11Bibliographically approved

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