Public Lab Research note

Connor, Matt, and Jess' conductivity research summary

by mattmullen | February 23, 2015 05:38 23 Feb 05:38 | #11617 | #11617

Connor, Matt, and Jess

Class wiki

Our data

  • Bogastow Brook, Ashland: 4328HZ Visual: dirty

  • Washington Street, Boston (Chinatown): 25000HZ Visual: extremely dirty

  • 39 Long Ave, Allston: 600HZ Visual: pretty clear

  • 180 Crescent Street, Waltham 350HZ Visual: pretty clear

  • Back Bay, Boston 15000HZ Visual: extremely dirty


As our experiments showed, the amount of noise the web app picked up was very different based on the contents of the snowmelt. The water that contains the most contaminants produces a much higher frequency. The water that we measured from Allston and Waltham was much cleaner than the other samples. Because it was so much cleaner, the speaker only produced a very faint noise compared to the other three samples that produced a very loud, high-pitched screech when our probe was completely submerged.

Salt water conducts electricity more efficiently than fresh water. Without verification from the lab, we can’t know for sure if it salt content, or the presence of other materials, in the snow that led to our results. But, based on our research and the assumption that a massive amount of salt has been put onto the roads, the samples that were brought in from snow drifts located near roadways could very well be contaminated by a massive amount of salt.

Our data showed sites in downtown Boston--with more roads with higher traffic--yielded snowmelt samples with higher conductivity. This further supports our hypothesis that road salts are contributing to the salinity, and therefore conductivity, of the water.


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