Skoltech scientists in collaboration with SIBUR PolyLab Research Center and other universities and organizations presented the results of a project exploring e-nose technology for quality control and plastic food production technology. The research group introduced a method to evaluate the consumer-related properties of recycled plastics, identifying their odor and its origin with the help of the e-nose.
Using the odor evaluation data provided by the expert panel, the scientists proposed a model for using the e-nose instead of a human in a factory laboratory. The study was published in Journal of Clean Production.
The e-nose includes an array of gas sensors and uses odor recognition algorithms, whose operating principle mimics the human olfactory system. Unlike the human nose, the e-nose reacts to both odor-active and odorless volatile compounds.
Plastics for food and pharmaceuticals must meet strict requirements for quality and safety. They must not have any foreign smell, related to and signal about harmful chemical substances. The smell can also indicate violations of the polymer production technology.
“We expect that our gas analysis system will not only detect the smell of plastics and its origin, but also help to understand when the production technology is violated in order to improve it. As a rule, the smell of plastics is analyzed by a panel of However, this does not always provide objective results and is difficult to automate. The e-nose addresses these challenges, and, also, the e-nose allows the classifying the type of polymer in plastic. change the production lines to adopt the new technology,” explained study co-author and Skoltech Assistant Professor Fedor Fedorov.
To evaluate the odor of virgin and recycled samples of different polymers, the research team used a gas analytical system based on aluminum-doped zinc oxide used as the sensing material. Organic vapor compounds released by the samples change the resistance of the sensors and return the fingerprint of the smell of the polymer. The released substances were also analyzed by headspace gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.
“For data analysis, we used dimensionality reduction methods-linear discriminant analysis and principal component analysis. We also proceeded with random forest, a machine learning method for classifying the compositions of polymer,” added Valeriy Zaytsev, a Skoltech Ph.D. student and co-author.
The results of the research also contribute to solving the global problem of excessive use of plastic. One of the ways to reduce it is to use recycled plastics, whose use is currently limited to food packaging. In other areas, recycled plastics are more common, but they can still contain dangerous elements. Scientists believe that the e-nose will soon learn to identify the origin of recycled plastics and their composites, which will be an important benchmark on the road to combating the heavy use of plastic.
“Our work requires expertise in materials science, sensor technology, and machine learning. Our laboratory has deep experience in all of these areas. We see a lot of academic and practical potential, including a important ecological aspect of the study. Perhaps, our results will be relevant. for quality control of products in various industries in Russia and other countries,” said Albert Nasibulin, the head of the Skoltech Laboratory of Nanomaterials and a co-author.
The results mark an important step in the collaborative project pursued by Skoltech and SIBUR PolyLab, the first research center for the development and testing of polymer products in Russia.
“We are happy to cooperate with SIBUR and find it a good example of cooperation between science and business. We not only carry out research, but also present its results at the conference and create a model -setup of e-nose and pneumatic gas supply system installed in production and test lines, supported by a joint patent application,” added Fedorov.
Valeriy Zaytsev et al, Fast and accurate method for quality assessment of recycled plastic food VOCs by electronic nose based on Al-doped zinc oxide, Journal of Clean Production (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2023.138042
Provided by the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
Citation: E-nose helps control food plastic quality, new research reveals (2023, July 19) retrieved 19 July 2023 from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-07-e- nose-food-plastic-quality-reveals .html
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