Conductivity Meter - Observing the World
How conductivity meters help us observe the world
The advancement of science is strongly dependent on our ability to observe the world. Werner von Siemens developed the idea of electrical conductivity of solutions based on Michael Faraday’s work. Siemens also invented telegraph, the first electric railway, and the first electrical elevator, so he was quite good at taking an understanding of science and creating useful things.
Overall conductivity of a solution is a relatively simple measurement to make, but it can provide important insight into what is present in a solution. It has other advantages, particularly that it can be performed rapidly, so conductivity is an appropriate measure for routine testing of solutions and for observations that need to be made, peridically, over long time spans.
Conductivity measurements inform scientists about a number of natural and human engineered systems. These include:
- Natural waters: Conductivity measurement allows us to estimate the salt concentration in natural waters. This value can differ for many reasons, such as the season (high concentration due to evaporation in summer, diluted with snow or rain). The ability to test the salinity level for natural waters helps assure safe habitats for aquatic life.
- Drinking water: Conductivity measurement can be used to determine whether water is too saline to be safe to drink. Monitoring the change in conductivity over time can be used to indicate contamination of drinking water, and lead to further, more specific experiments to find out the source of contamination.
- Irrigation: Conductivity measurement can be used to determine if a water source can be used for irrigation. Because the salinity of water affects the soil quality and ultimately the plant growth it is vital that users of irrigation can monitor salinity. They can also monitor concentrations of nutrients in liquid fertilizers to ensure adequate fertilizer application (and prevent over-fertilization).
- Indusrial pollution monitoring: Conductivity measurement is often a first level measurement to monitor water pollution from industrial areas such as mineral deposits or from corrosion. Changes in conductivity measures are indicators that further analysis may be needed in such cases.
The conductivity meter changed the way we can investigate nature by making it possible to have accuate, quantitative measures of concentrations of ionic substances in aqueous solution. This value is important in understanding many key aspects of such soliutions. Living on a water planet, this ability is very important.$theme->drawFooter() ?>