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To fill with drinkable water, I have lots of empty 19lt carboy bottles. Since they came from different people and companies, I have to check their healthiness to decide wheter they can be sterilise for reuse or not.

I need to detect if a 19lt carboy bottle was used previously for gas, lpg, diesel etc. or is there any other harmful chemical (such as urine) in it.

What could be the cheapest and trustable solution for it? Could I use gas sensors or infrared imaging or something else?

Thanks in advance.

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migrated from May 29 '13 at 14:02

This question came from our site for active researchers, academics and students of physics.

I agree with Jerry. But I also wish you moved that, not closed. It's interesting and very useful in real life. – Tomáš Zato May 29 '13 at 12:55
What is the material of the bottles? – permeakra Jun 10 '13 at 14:29
Actually I ain't know what the material exactly is. As far as I know, the material is carbon based. I am sure that you are familier with this kind of bottle. You can find a sample image here:… – agy Jun 11 '13 at 13:30
some information on detection of organic compounds can be found here includes detailed explanations and cost assessment. note that costs are for large batches. equipment will probably be expensive. – Daniel Jun 16 '13 at 3:50
Hi Daniel, That link explains lots of things. Thank you very much. – agy Jun 17 '13 at 8:13

Gas sensors are probably too specific. Infrared imaging is going to have to take account of the carboy material itself. However, sampling the air and performing a gc/ms analysis could work - basically its headspace analysis.

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Thank you very much Epicentre. Since I am not familiar with these techniques and devices, I can't decide it is suitable for us or not. Could you please guide me for these devices and techniques. Especially cost is the main parameter. Thanks again. – agy Jun 11 '13 at 13:35
@Pertinaks I suggest you contact a chemical analysis laboratory in your general area to find out the cost. It will probably be considerably more than the cost of the bottle itself. and may help you understand the technique. – Epicentre Jun 13 '13 at 4:08

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