New fiber material detects odorless pipeline leaks

A team of engineers from the University of Utah have created a new fiber material that can detect odorless alkane vapor. The innovation can become a valuable technological advancement that can act as early warning signals for alkane leaks in an oil pipeline, valve or aircraft. This new fiber material can be secured on a handheld scanner to look for traces of alkane fuel leaks.

The traditional way of detecting alkane fuel vapor is through a massive, oven-like lab instrument. The new fiber material involved two nanofibers that can transfer electrons to each other.
The team created a spin-off company named Vaporsens and designed a handheld detector prototype containing 16 sensor materials capable of identifying several chemicals. The new fiber material will be included in the collection of sensors created by Vaporsens, which could be introduced into the market in less than two years.

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