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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
What are some options for copper materials to make a copper plate test kit? @warren about 1 year ago
Can you use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for prepping copper for Hydrogen Sulfide test? @Zengirl2 about 1 year ago
How to select a site for hydrogen sulfide testing? @warren about 1 year ago
How can we safely try out and evaluate a hydrogen sulfide test? @warren about 1 year ago
What's the best setup for a copper rod or copper plate test for DIY hydrogen sulfide detection? @warren about 1 year ago
Can copper sulfide and copper oxide products be precisely visually identified? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
How quickly do copper sulfide and copper oxide form under different environmental conditions? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
Can we determine hydrogen sulfide concentration, or a threshold presence/absence using the copper pipe method? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
What is the hydrogen sulfide concentration range that can be monitored using a copper tarnish method? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
What are the reaction rates of hydrogen sulfide with oxygen versus copper or silver? @gretchengehrke over 1 year ago
What are the relative rates of hydrogen sulfide oxidation in ambient air? @gretchengehrke over 1 year ago
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Ask a question  or help answer future questions

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:

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Qualitative Time Lapse of Copper Corrosion - - @ErikHanley11 - - 0 replications: Try it »
Copper Strip Test Preparation Using Solvents - - @ErikHanley11 - - 0 replications: Try it »
Copper Sheet Hydrogen Sulfide Detection Activity test-limits draft @gretchengehrke 1h easy 2 replications: Try it »
Copper rod test for H2S - - @Sharon Wilson - - 0 replications: Try it »
Two Rounds of Copper Rod Test Making - - @ErikHanley11 - - 0 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

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:

Title Author Updated Likes
Copper Rod to Copper Sheet Discussion @ErikHanley11 8 months ago
Article on monitoring hydrogen sulfide with a copper pipe @warren over 1 year ago
Materials for Copper Pipe work @Sara over 6 years ago
Summary of Lionel Milberger’s Copper Test @megan over 6 years ago

All notes related to hydrogen sulfide sensing:

Title Author Updated Likes
Copper Strip Test Preparation Using Solvents @ErikHanley11 8 months ago
Two Rounds of Copper Rod Test Making @ErikHanley11 8 months ago
Response to Alternative Copper Sheet Preparation Method on Public Lab @ErikHanley11 8 months ago
Qualitative Time Lapse of Copper Corrosion @ErikHanley11 8 months ago
Copper Rod to Copper Sheet Discussion @ErikHanley11 8 months ago
Can Bio-char products absorb CAFO gases like Hydrogen Sulfide or Ammonia? @Zengirl2 9 months ago
Is there more information on the "Corrosion Coupon" hydrogen sulfide test kit? @warren 11 months ago
What lab tests are available for hydrogen sulfide, and how much do they cost? @warren 11 months ago
How to Help Citizens Affected by Factory Farming? #waterquality #airquality #CAFO #factoryfarms @Zengirl2 12 months ago
What are some options for copper materials to make a copper plate test kit? @warren about 1 year ago
Help collect environmental sensors + probes on a shared list @warren about 1 year ago
What are different commercially available hydrogen sulfide detection methods? @warren about 1 year ago
Can you use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for prepping copper for Hydrogen Sulfide test? @Zengirl2 about 1 year ago
How to select a site for hydrogen sulfide testing? @warren about 1 year ago
How can we safely try out and evaluate a hydrogen sulfide test? @warren about 1 year ago
Training in odor identification? @Sara about 1 year ago
What's the best setup for a copper rod or copper plate test for DIY hydrogen sulfide detection? @warren about 1 year ago
Can copper sulfide and copper oxide products be precisely visually identified? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
How quickly do copper sulfide and copper oxide form under different environmental conditions? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
What is the hydrogen sulfide concentration range that can be monitored using a copper tarnish method? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
Copper Sheet Hydrogen Sulfide Detection Activity @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
Effective low-cost water filters to remove hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
What methods are available for doing air grab samples for hydrogen sulfide? @stevie about 1 year ago
Hydrogen sulfide badges by Morphix Technologies @gretchengehrke about 1 year ago
What are the reaction rates of hydrogen sulfide with oxygen versus copper or silver? @gretchengehrke over 1 year ago
What are the relative rates of hydrogen sulfide oxidation in ambient air? @gretchengehrke over 1 year ago
Methods for or experience measuring workplace hydrogen sulfide gas? @gretchengehrke over 1 year ago
Article on monitoring hydrogen sulfide with a copper pipe @warren over 1 year ago
Preparation for Pilot H2S Testing @ErikHanley11 over 3 years ago
Toward calibrating H2S sensors. @JSummers about 4 years ago
Sensing Hydrogen Sulfide from CAFO Emissions in Poweshiek County, Iowa @sophie over 4 years ago
H2S Photopaper Processing notes @ewilder over 4 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide Photopaper Sensing Tool - Development Notes @ewilder over 4 years ago
Quantifying Airborne Hydrogen Sulfide @JSummers almost 5 years ago
NU Darkroom Setup @Clarke_Brian almost 6 years ago
Alternate Design for H2S Cannister @deepwinter almost 6 years ago
Interest in Hidrogen Sulfide Sensing @fernandolunav about 6 years ago
Putting together H2S Test Kit @megan over 6 years ago
First Experiment Analyzed @megan over 6 years ago
Easy ways to make precise maps @megan over 6 years ago
Identifying Wells in Field and Experiment Design @megan over 6 years ago
Choosing Test Sites in Aztec, NM @megan over 6 years ago
Gas, some Hydrogen Sulfide escaping from collapsing salt dome @eustatic over 6 years ago
monitoring industrial H2S sources in new orleans area @eustatic over 6 years ago
Field test #2: H2S strip placement in Bayou Sauvage NWR, Orleans Parish, LA @Shannon over 6 years ago
H2S strips batch 2: New Mexico @Sara over 6 years ago
Safety Precautions for H2S Research @Sara over 6 years ago
Bayou Sauvage Results 1: problems in labeling test strips @Sara over 6 years ago
Bayou Savage Results 2: degree of canister openness @Sara over 6 years ago
Bayou Sauvage Results 2: reflections on fixing process @Sara over 6 years ago
H2S strip batch 1 for testing made 4/26 @Sara over 6 years ago
Sample Images from Fieldtest of Photostrip H2S Dection Method @MSGonzales over 6 years ago
Excellent Geoscience Fieldtest of Photostrip H2S Detection @Sara over 6 years ago
Map of EPA National Priorities List sites with H2S issues @Sara over 6 years ago
Map of New Mexico Natural Gas Wells in New Mexico and levels of Hydrogen Sulfide @Sara over 6 years ago
Planning for Public Lab H2S screen Experiments-Equipment @Sara over 6 years ago
Materials for Copper Pipe work @Sara over 6 years ago
Summary of Lionel Milberger’s Copper Test @megan over 6 years ago
FOOLING OR REDUCING THE QUANTITY OF H2S (hydrogen sulfide) IN WELL TESTS. @Sara over 6 years ago
Possible sensor for field calibration of photo test strips @megan over 6 years ago
H2S Experimental Set: Draft 1 @Sara over 6 years ago
Planning for Public Lab H2S screen Experiments @Sara over 6 years ago
Procedure for Fixing H2S photographic paper strips @Sara over 6 years ago
Making Glycerol Solution for H2S film Assay @Sara over 6 years ago
Copper rod test for H2S @Sharon Wilson over 6 years ago
Bibliography for Hydrogen Sulfide Research @Sara almost 7 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide Testing-glove bag @Sara almost 7 years ago
H2S film strip test #2 @Shannon almost 7 years ago
Prototype for Filmbased Hydrogen Sulfide Testing strips @Sara almost 7 years ago
EPA Reinstates Toxics Release Inventory Reporting Requirements For Hydrogen Sulfide @Sara almost 7 years ago
Controlled Testing with B&W Film Hydrogen Sulfide Detectors @jschaffr about 7 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide Dosimeter @Sara about 7 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide Testing With Black and White Film @jschaffr about 7 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide tarnishing Silver @Sara about 7 years ago
Conversion from µg/m3 to ppm hydrogen sulfide @Sara about 7 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide Information on the Gas @Sara about 7 years ago
Prototype H2S sensor @warren about 7 years ago
"...when the hydrogen sulfide concentration reaches approximately 15 ppm, the human nose becomes desensitized" @warren about 7 years ago
Notes on Global Community Monitor Report on Bucket samples from Gas Patch @Sara over 7 years ago
Hydrogen Sulfide Monitoring In Gas Patch Background @Sara over 7 years ago
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