November 1, 2021

The Breathalyzer is a laboratory instrument that is responsible for determining the percentage of alcohol that a sample can have with liquid or gaseous components. Likewise, it is often used to find out how much alcohol a person’s blood can have.

The discovery of various devices and equipment, including the breathalyzer, made a great contribution to the evolution of science and research. Thanks to its measurement functions, today many procedures can be carried out with ease, and they are available to everyone.

What is a breathalyzer?

It is a laboratory instrument that is responsible for measuring and calculating the level of alcohol that may be present in a liquid or gas. It is used to measure the degree of alcohol in a liquor or the level of alcohol in a person’s blood.

It usually comes in a small and light size, which is very easy to transport. It has a nozzle, which is where the air passes that will later be analyzed inside the device. Then the result will be issued on a screen that has built-in.

The breathalyzer was invented by Gay-Lussac, a French chemist and physicist, he did it to know and establish the degrees of alcohol that a liquid substance can possess.

What is a breathalyzer for?

It is a device that is used to know and determine the level of alcohol that can be present in a liquid or gas.

It is widely used by traffic police to check the alcohol levels that a driver may have that exceeds the permitted speed limit. It also serves to know the degree of alcohol that a liquor under study may have.

How does a breathalyzer work?

Breathalyzers have the ability to analyze what alcohol levels the blood may have through a correlation of the air exhaled by a person. That air can contain vaporized ethanol, which passes into the lungs during the metabolism process.

The methods used to measure alcohol levels through exhaled air are:

  • Through an infrared sensor

It is when you take the components that the gases have by absorbing part of the electromagnetic radiation.

The technique used is the use of an infrared emitter, it must be connected through filters, which discard waves that do not meet certain parameters, thus avoiding false negatives.

  • Through an electrochemical cell

It is a technique that obtains electrical energy through the use of chemical reactions. Even if you drink coffee or chew gum, there is no way around this method, since it takes a long time to metabolize alcohol in the blood.

Knowing the different modalities and ways to carry out measurements with the breathalyzer can be of great help when you need to use it on your own, in this way, you will be guaranteeing a good measurement and exact results.

Uses of the Breathalyzer

The breathalyzer is used to measure the percentage of alcohol that a drink may have, in addition, to know the amount that exists in the blood . The breathalyzers used by police officers are special and therefore have very little margin for error.

It is an instrument used by traffic safety police to detect the presence of alcohol in a driver.

They use the handheld digital breathalyzer, which is very easy to use, since blowing through the mouthpiece will automatically determine the amount of alcohol per milligram that a body may have.

Types of Breathalyzer

Knowing the different types of breathalyzers can be of great help to have a good use of it, then I show you the ones you should know:

  • Modern Digital Breathalyzer

A digital breathalyzer is based on a gas sensor that indicates by blowing on it, what is the percentage of alcohol in the blood and serves to know if a person is in good condition to drive.

  • Portable breathalyzer with printer

They are used by authorities, companies or organizations. They are very easy to use and come with a printer to help you know the results automatically . The result is printed in black and white, and you can check your results through another print after about 10 minutes.

  • Breathalyzer Integrated in the vehicle

This type of breathalyzer is incorporated in modern vehicles and which have a powerful precision and quality. This type of breathalyzer forces the driver to take a test before starting the car. If the value is higher than the allowed limit, the vehicle’s engine will not start.

  • Disposable breathalyzer

This type of breathalyzer does not have the same precision as the other types, but it does help to know and visibly demonstrate the level of alcohol that a person has.

These breathalyzers have completely independent ways of operating, therefore, I recommend that you practice beforehand, so that you can make the best measurements at the time of use and obtain excellent results.

Characteristics of a Breathalyzer

Among the characteristics of a breathalyzer, the following are pointed out, an important aspect to consider when using a measuring instrument:

  • Sensor

When the test is carried out, it is possible to observe how the sensors behave. The sensors tend to relate the ambient temperature and the relative humidity. It is important that you know that those without these sensors have a much lower precision.

  • Precision

Accuracy in a breathalyzer is very important, since, if when performing the test the accuracy and precision is not correct, the person who is being tested may be subject to a penalty as they may incur a crime .

  • Sensitivity

It is a fundamental point to know the device that is being used, since, the higher the sensitivity, the greater its precision, you should know that, having greater sensitivity, the times for the calibration will be longer.

If you are thinking about having a personal use breathalyzer, you should take this factor into account, because if the sensitivity is relatively high, the cost of the equipment will be higher and you will not have to recalibrate it all the time to work properly.

  • Autonomy

The autonomy of the device or energy consumption is also important, since most of these devices work with batteries.

  • Response time

This is the time it takes for the breathalyzer to display its results after the test is performed. Each type of breathalyzer works differently, and each has its own time interval.

  • Valve types

Breathalyzers come with different types of valves, such as the non-return valve, check valves, single-flow valves or check valves. The purpose of the valve is to close the passage of the fluid that is circulating in the same direction, and to leave the other passage free, thus allowing the entry of air and saliva, but not their exit.

  • Screen

Almost all breathalyzers have a digital display that shows the results numerically, simply and clearly. There are screens that have night vision and are widely used in the professional field.

However, there are some models of breathalyzers that do not show their results on the screen, but only have light indicators or alarms.

  • Results

The results is what you are looking for through a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer should display results based on the requirements of the country where it is to be used. That is, you must know what is the degree of alcohol that a person must have in order to drive.

Knowing how to identify the parts and characteristics of a measuring instrument can be of vital help to have a good use of it, therefore, before using it, carry out a basic study of its parts and how to identify them.

Importance of a Breathalyzer

By knowing the degree of alcohol that exists in a sample or in a person’s blood, different projects and scientific studies can be developed, and at the same time prevent a car accident in people.

If this device did not exist, it would not be possible to have a perfect and elaborate liquor, or it would not be possible to know if a person passed the alcohol limits that are allowed to drive.

Finally, the precision and accuracy in this type of measurement is important, since it increases reliability and guarantees the integrity and life of people.

The breathalyzer represents today a very important device, which can be used by authorities as well as ordinary people, in order to check the approximate level of alcohol that may be in the blood and that a driver should know before driving.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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