Colorimetric test strips for oil/fuel/ethanol mixtures

There is a need for customers to use a simple test method to determine if the fuel blends they are using are of the proper composition for fuel efficiency, environment- friendliness and engine cylinder compatibility. But it is difficult to determine the composition of oil/fuel/ethanol mixtures without detailed and expensive chemical analysis. It is because the different hydrocarbons in oils or in fuels are hard to differentiate by physical change or by simple chemical reactions such as pH change. In order to perform a simple test such as a colorimetric analysis, it may be necessary to find out the additives present in the oils and fuels for detection. There are many colorimetric tests available in the literature for the detection of these additives. However, these tests are all tedious that are not amendable to the simple test format such as the test strip. On the other hand, nanomaterials have been synthesized to test for viscosity and wettability of organic liquids. However, these nanomaterials have not been used to test oil/fuel/ethanol mixtures. Therefore, in this proposal, a series of nanomaterials called inverse opal films will be prepared. They will be treated and coated with different organosilanes to change the surface properties for liquid wetting. These treated nanomaterials will be used to determine the oil/fuel mixture ratios based on the color change when the different liquids wet the nanopores created in the inverse opal films. This method can easily be adapted in the test strip format, which is a userfriendly method with low cost and low power consumption.

Abootaleb Sedighi
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Paul C H Li
British Columbia