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Hydrogen Sulfide Copper Pipe Testing

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This method, developed by Lionel Milberger, is a low-cost, accessible way to detect if hydrogen sulfide is present in the air. The elemental copper will react with hydrogen sulfide to produce a purple-black-ish copper sulfide product, visible on the surface of the copper rod. This method has not been quantified or validated yet. Consider collaborating on this project to help assess it!

Public Lab's Kits Initiative is releasing this as a Prototyping Kit -- now available for sale in our Public Lab Store!

copper_pipe_test.jpg

Design goals

As Lionel Milberger has written in an article in TEST Magazine, the goals of this method are to:

  1. Be able to detect copper at health-relevant, non-fatal concentrations, from several parts per billion (ppb) up to 100 parts per million (ppm).

  2. Be able to discern between copper oxides and copper sulfides forming on the surface of the copper rod.

  3. Be able to measure hydrogen sulfide even under rainy or humid conditions where a significant fraction of hydrogen sulfide will dissolve in the water.

  4. Be deployable, such that it does not require a person to be present for the duration of the test (like would be necessary with a hand-held probe).

  5. Be low-cost and accessible to anyone.

Questions

This method has not yet been quantified or validated. Mr. Milberger has observed black deposits (likely copper sulfide) forming under conditions where it is likely that hydrogen sulfide is present (near an oil field by his Texas home), and a reddish deposit (likely copper oxide) under other conditions. The lower concentration limit of this method, below which no visible copper sulfide would form, are not yet known. The rates of reaction between the copper rod and atmospheric hydrogen sulfide also are not known, nor are the influence of humidity or rain, or the relative rate of copper oxide formation. Thus, there are many questions yet to answer! More questions include:

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What are some options for copper materials to make a copper plate test kit? @warren over 2 years ago 3
Can you use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for prepping copper for Hydrogen Sulfide test? @zengirl2 over 2 years ago 16
How to select a site for hydrogen sulfide testing? @warren over 2 years ago 3
How can we safely try out and evaluate a hydrogen sulfide test? @warren over 2 years ago 4
What's the best setup for a copper rod or copper plate test for DIY hydrogen sulfide detection? @warren over 2 years ago 6
Can copper sulfide and copper oxide products be precisely visually identified? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 5
How quickly do copper sulfide and copper oxide form under different environmental conditions? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 0
Can we determine hydrogen sulfide concentration, or a threshold presence/absence using the copper pipe method? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 0
What is the hydrogen sulfide concentration range that can be monitored using a copper tarnish method? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 1
What are the reaction rates of hydrogen sulfide with oxygen versus copper or silver? @gretchengehrke almost 3 years ago 0
What are the relative rates of hydrogen sulfide oxidation in ambient air? @gretchengehrke almost 3 years ago 1
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Activities

Designing a field-based environmental study that uses this method would follow the general principles described in: https://publiclab.org/wiki/general-environmental-monitoring-study-strategies. However, since the copper sheets will be exposed for several days in the field, the temporal resolution would, of course, only be as fine as several days, during which industrial activities and environmental conditions could change. The general principles still do apply.

Activities people have designed using this method include:

Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Background

See background research related to this method here:

All notes related to hydrogen sulfide sensing:

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
Copper Strip Test Preparation Using Solvents @ErikHanley11 about 2 years ago 1
Two Rounds of Copper Rod Test Making @ErikHanley11 about 2 years ago 3
Response to Alternative Copper Sheet Preparation Method on Public Lab @ErikHanley11 over 2 years ago 0
Qualitative Time Lapse of Copper Corrosion @ErikHanley11 over 2 years ago 4
Copper Rod to Copper Sheet Discussion @ErikHanley11 over 2 years ago 0
Can Bio-char products absorb CAFO gases like Hydrogen Sulfide or Ammonia? @zengirl2 over 2 years ago 3
Is there more information on the "Corrosion Coupon" hydrogen sulfide test kit? @warren over 2 years ago 1
What lab tests are available for hydrogen sulfide, and how much do they cost? @warren over 2 years ago 4
How to Help Citizens Affected by Factory Farming? #waterquality #airquality #CAFO #factoryfarms @zengirl2 over 2 years ago 1
What are some options for copper materials to make a copper plate test kit? @warren over 2 years ago 3
Help collect environmental sensors + probes on a shared list @warren over 2 years ago 0
What are different commercially available hydrogen sulfide detection methods? @warren over 2 years ago 3
Can you use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for prepping copper for Hydrogen Sulfide test? @zengirl2 over 2 years ago 16
How to select a site for hydrogen sulfide testing? @warren over 2 years ago 3
How can we safely try out and evaluate a hydrogen sulfide test? @warren over 2 years ago 4
Training in odor identification? @sara over 2 years ago 1
What's the best setup for a copper rod or copper plate test for DIY hydrogen sulfide detection? @warren over 2 years ago 6
Can copper sulfide and copper oxide products be precisely visually identified? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 5
How quickly do copper sulfide and copper oxide form under different environmental conditions? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 0
What is the hydrogen sulfide concentration range that can be monitored using a copper tarnish method? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 1
Copper Sheet Hydrogen Sulfide Detection Activity @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 15
Effective low-cost water filters to remove hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke over 2 years ago 2
What methods are available for doing air grab samples for hydrogen sulfide? @stevie almost 3 years ago 2
Hydrogen sulfide badges by Morphix Technologies @gretchengehrke almost 3 years ago 3
What are the reaction rates of hydrogen sulfide with oxygen versus copper or silver? @gretchengehrke almost 3 years ago 0
What are the relative rates of hydrogen sulfide oxidation in ambient air? @gretchengehrke almost 3 years ago 1
Methods for or experience measuring workplace hydrogen sulfide gas? @gretchengehrke almost 3 years ago 2
Article on monitoring hydrogen sulfide with a copper pipe @warren about 3 years ago 0
Preparation for Pilot H2S Testing @ErikHanley11 about 5 years ago 0
Toward calibrating H2S sensors. @JSummers over 5 years ago 1
Sensing Hydrogen Sulfide from CAFO Emissions in Poweshiek County, Iowa @sophie almost 6 years ago 6
H2S Photopaper Processing notes @ewilder about 6 years ago 2
Hydrogen Sulfide Photopaper Sensing Tool - Development Notes @ewilder about 6 years ago 2
Quantifying Airborne Hydrogen Sulfide @JSummers over 6 years ago 5
NU Darkroom Setup @Clarke_Brian over 7 years ago 0
Alternate Design for H2S Cannister @deepwinter over 7 years ago 3
Interest in Hidrogen Sulfide Sensing @fernandolunav almost 8 years ago 3
Putting together H2S Test Kit @megan almost 8 years ago 2
First Experiment Analyzed @megan almost 8 years ago 2
Easy ways to make precise maps @megan almost 8 years ago 0
Identifying Wells in Field and Experiment Design @megan almost 8 years ago 0
Choosing Test Sites in Aztec, NM @megan almost 8 years ago 0
Gas, some Hydrogen Sulfide escaping from collapsing salt dome @eustatic almost 8 years ago 0
monitoring industrial H2S sources in new orleans area @eustatic almost 8 years ago 1
Field test #2: H2S strip placement in Bayou Sauvage NWR, Orleans Parish, LA @Shannon almost 8 years ago 1
H2S strips batch 2: New Mexico @sara almost 8 years ago 0
Safety Precautions for H2S Research @sara almost 8 years ago 4
Bayou Sauvage Results 1: problems in labeling test strips @sara almost 8 years ago 4
Bayou Savage Results 2: degree of canister openness @sara almost 8 years ago 1
Bayou Sauvage Results 2: reflections on fixing process @sara almost 8 years ago 2
H2S strip batch 1 for testing made 4/26 @sara about 8 years ago 3
Sample Images from Fieldtest of Photostrip H2S Dection Method @MSGonzales about 8 years ago 5
Excellent Geoscience Fieldtest of Photostrip H2S Detection @sara about 8 years ago 0
Map of EPA National Priorities List sites with H2S issues @sara about 8 years ago 0
Map of New Mexico Natural Gas Wells in New Mexico and levels of Hydrogen Sulfide @sara about 8 years ago 0
Planning for Public Lab H2S screen Experiments-Equipment @sara about 8 years ago 0
Materials for Copper Pipe work @sara about 8 years ago 2
Summary of Lionel Milberger’s Copper Test @megan about 8 years ago 0
FOOLING OR REDUCING THE QUANTITY OF H2S (hydrogen sulfide) IN WELL TESTS. @sara over 8 years ago 0
Possible sensor for field calibration of photo test strips @megan over 8 years ago 0
H2S Experimental Set: Draft 1 @sara over 8 years ago 0
Planning for Public Lab H2S screen Experiments @sara over 8 years ago 0
Procedure for Fixing H2S photographic paper strips @sara over 8 years ago 0
Making Glycerol Solution for H2S film Assay @sara over 8 years ago 0
Copper rod test for H2S @Sharon Wilson over 8 years ago 2
Bibliography for Hydrogen Sulfide Research @sara over 8 years ago 1
Hydrogen Sulfide Testing-glove bag @sara over 8 years ago 4
H2S film strip test #2 @Shannon over 8 years ago 2
Prototype for Filmbased Hydrogen Sulfide Testing strips @sara over 8 years ago 3
EPA Reinstates Toxics Release Inventory Reporting Requirements For Hydrogen Sulfide @sara over 8 years ago 0
Controlled Testing with B&W Film Hydrogen Sulfide Detectors @jschaffr over 8 years ago 2
Hydrogen Sulfide Dosimeter @sara over 8 years ago 1
Hydrogen Sulfide Testing With Black and White Film @jschaffr over 8 years ago 3
Hydrogen Sulfide tarnishing Silver @sara over 8 years ago 1
Conversion from µg/m3 to ppm hydrogen sulfide @sara over 8 years ago 2
Hydrogen Sulfide Information on the Gas @sara over 8 years ago 0
Prototype H2S sensor @warren over 8 years ago 0
"...when the hydrogen sulfide concentration reaches approximately 15 ppm, the human nose becomes desensitized" @warren almost 9 years ago 1
Notes on Global Community Monitor Report on Bucket samples from Gas Patch @sara almost 9 years ago 0
Hydrogen Sulfide Monitoring In Gas Patch Background @sara almost 9 years ago 0
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