Scientists of Kuzbass Polytechnic University Are Developing an Operational System for Monitoring Soil Contamination

16 May 2023

Mobile instrumentation and measuring complex can be used for operational monitoring of soil contamination at the enterprises of mining, processing of mineral resources, related industries and other territories exposed to high risk of environmental pollution. The complex is being developed by a team of scientists, engineers and programmers from T.F. Gorbachev Kuzbass State Technical University, headed by Evgeny Shabanov, candidate of technical sciences, associate professor, head of the Department of Construction Production and Real Estate Expertise.

In contrast to commonly used methods of analysis, the product of Kuzbass State Technical University scientists does not require complex laboratory research. To determine the presence of contamination and its concentration special measuring equipment is used, scanning the electrical resistance of the soil: some substances show pronounced dielectric or conductive properties, which are very different from clean soil by it's electrical resistance. During the diagnostics of the pollutant content in the soil mass, the system reads the relative values of the electrophysical parameters and compares them with the reference values, promptly giving the result.

The system calculates the level of contamination in a few seconds, for example, with similar portable analyzers, it takes at least a minute, and in the laboratory it takes 2 to 7 days to get the results. What is important, the results are quite accurate: the measurement error at low concentrations is comparable with the laboratory method, and at concentrations from 1% to 20% the error does not exceed 5%. Moreover, if compared with analogues, the cost of the equipment used is at least 10 times less than the foreign ones. Thus, the cost of a single measurement is much lower.

The project was assessed by the experts of the Foundation for Assistance to Innovations ─ the development won a grant of 4 million rubles under the program "Start-1" (for early stages of projects). Funding will help improve the hardware and software complex, the project team plans to conduct a complex system automation (work without an operator), to make possible the transfer of data to a single portal in online mode and expand analytical capabilities, for example the possibility of defining the solutions of acids and alkalis. Scientists are also going to prepare documents and calibration dependencies for the possibility of coordination and introduction of regulations for measurements by the monitoring system to the certification authorities.

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