Alcohol has several effects on people once this is ingested. It is possible to test the degree of intoxication of the person by determining the percentage of alcohol found in the body. This is called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). There are two ways for BAC to be measured: invasively by getting a blood sample and non-invasively by getting urine, saliva, and breath samples. The invasive type can be done in any health care facility while the non-invasive type is primarily performed by law enforcement officials since it is quick and easy to do. More often this requires the use of a device called a breathalyser.
What is it?
This device is used to measure the amount of ethanol found in the body. Drivers use this for self-control purposes. Breathalyzers may also be used on pilots before their flights. Traffic police officers also use this device to identify those who violate traffic rules. The result of a breathalyzer test can be used as an evidence in court.
What are different classes?
There are different classes of breathalyzers. Each class affects the price, device accuracy, permissible frequency of usage, and other features and functions. The three classes of breathalyzers are personal, semi-professional, and professional.
Personal breathalyzers are inaccurate, slow to work, and quite short-lived, yet it is also compact and affordable. The semi-professional class is fast, reliable, and more accurate than the personal type. It is as compact as the personal breathalyzer but more expensive than the personal class. This class cannot confuse ethanol with other substances like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide vapor. The professional breathalyzer class is high-precision, super fast, and highly reliable. This can be used hundreds of times daily and it won’t confuse ethanol with other similar substances. It also can print out test results.
Breathalyzers can be classified further into the following: semiconductor, photometric, and electrochemical. Another classification is by type of sampling. A breathalyser can be used with a mouthpiece or pieceless. One other classification is by test result indication: by digital, switch, or LED light.
Let’s take a look at the types of sensors used. The semiconductor type measures the changes in the semiconductor resistance. On the other hand, the electrochemical type carries out the measurement by using a special reagent that can interact solely with alcohol. The photometric sensor technology uses an infrared absorption coefficient of the alcohol vapor. This stands out from the rest due to its quick availability. You can get your results in just 2 to 5 seconds. It is also high-accuracy because of sensor sensitivity.
When choosing a breathalyzer, don’t forget to mention the testing methods and the features of each one. Is the device contact or non-contact? Contactless testing is more popular for home-use devices, but it is less accurate compared to the contact method type.