How Much Alcohol Is Really In My Beer?

A chilled beer or glass of wine are popular ways to relax after a long day, but what if nano-scale sensors could tell you exactly how much alcohol was in your drink? The feeling of ‘one too many’ the following morning would be nice to live without!

LCN Researchers Rosemary Paxman, Dr. Bart Hoogenboom and Dr. Rachel McKendry have demonstrated that by using cantilever sensors, it is possible to determine alcohol percentage, along with other fluid properties, in a variety of beers, wine and spirits.

Such work demonstrates a potential new ‘in-situ’ method for quality control of everyday drinks.

When submerged in liquid, a cantilever beam’s resonance is affected by the fluid’s physical properties. By following this resonance change, it is possible to accurately determine exactly how much alcohol is in popular drinks.

Compared to current methods of determining alcohol content, this new cantilever sensing approach uses a lower sample volume, offers fast results and could potentially be applied directly into the drink production process - removing of the need to extract any drink during production, accurately following the process and reducing waste.

Figure 1. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of the cantilever sensor array. Image care of Samadhan Patil.

Full details are reported in Sensors 2012, 12(5), 6497-6507

Journal link: http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/12/5/6497